Business, Politics & Society

Make It

Sara Blakely

Lesson time 17:37 min

As an inventor, Sara continues to test the boundaries with manufacturers. She encourages you to think outside the box and teaches you tips for choosing a manufacturer, negotiating minimums, and diversifying for leverage.

Sara Blakely
Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship
Spanx founder Sara Blakely teaches you bootstrapping tactics and her approach to inventing, selling, and marketing products that consumers love.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - Do you need a business plan once you have the idea, you have your prototype, or you have your business service idea and how you're going to differentiate yourself out in the world? No. I've seen it done with people who have very buttoned-up business plans, and then I did it without a business plan at all. I can tell you the things that I focused on very early on. I focused on three things. Make it, sell it, build awareness. Make it, sell it, build awareness. That's where all of my energy and attention went to in the beginning stages of the business. Those were the aspects of the business that if I focused on would bring in the money that would help me continue to build the business. It's very easy to focus on all these other little details that distract you from what you need the most coming in, which is the funds to keep going. So it's just like life. A lot of times, you'll have a list of things to do. And we gravitate towards the five to 10 things that we're either most comfortable with or take the least amount of effort, and we keep avoiding kind of the bigger picture. When you're an entrepreneur, take a step back and go, what do I need to do? What do I need to focus on to bring in the income to sustain this at this time? [MUSIC PLAYING] After the idea came to me and I cut the feet out of pantyhose one night so I could wear these white pants to a party, I thought, this is a solution to a problem, and that's a great start. This is an idea. But then over the next two years of me trying to get it made, there was so many obstacles. There was the obstacle of trying to get people to help me make it. There was the obstacle of, how am I going to fund this? There was the obstacle of, what does a package look like? How do I put this in a package even if I do get it made? Where am I going to sell it? I mean, all of these thoughts are flooding me. And at the same time for the two years that I'm working at night and on the weekends to make this product, because I didn't quit my day job selling fax machines until I'd already landed Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, the entire time, everyone told me no and said, this is not a great idea. Well, let me tell you one thing. That means you've come up with something brand new, because if it's out there, everyone's going to be more accepting of it. It's the people that are willing to hear the word no, or hear, this is the craziest idea and do it anyway that break real ground. So if you hear no and if you hear this is a crazy idea, take it as a compliment. I mean, you've got three things going for you. Your enthusiasm, you, and your persistence, okay? Because showing up at a manufacturing plant, I mean, when I showed up, I had a lucky red backpack. I was 29 years old. I went in person and said, hi, I'm Sara Blakely, and I've invented something, and I'd love for you guys to help me make it. I mean, I always heard the same three questions, which were, oh really, and you are? An...

Find your big idea

With little more than an idea and a drive to find her way, Sara Blakely went from selling fax machines door-to-door to becoming the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2012. Now the inventor, entrepreneur, and founder of Spanx teaches you to open doors and close deals. Learn Sara’s customer-first approach and her tactics for prototyping, branding and building awareness, and bootstrapping your way to success.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Sara is amazing!! So grateful to have had a chance to participate in her class. Wonderfully dynamic, honest and generous.

Loved the discussion on culture, hiring, and building a brand. My business is quite different, having no product to manufacture, yet I found many great lessons in Sara's masterclass. You will too!

I cant express how much I enjoyed this class, exactly what I needed at this time. I love Sara and her approach to business and sales. Thank you for having a great instructor like her.

She's a smart lady - sound, accessible advice for a budding entrepeneur.


Michael N.

Great role model and presentation ! I'm a guy. I bet the manufacturers that said no to Sarah at the beginning are kicking themselves now.


Btw so funny 🤣 hearing the journey and how you just figured it all out just by showing up


So so so valuable. Love the confidence tip!!!!!!!!!! So important. I need to watch this again because I need to write down so many super valuable tips!

Nika V.

Somebody needs to teach her how to pronounce the words "especially" and "eTcetera". It's NOT "expecially" and "exetera". All in all, GREAT lesson! Really appreciate her openness and depth.

Sue S.

I’m so happy you followed your dream. My ass is so great full. Ha ha. It wasn’t a crazy idea. I use to cut the feet out of my pantyhose all the time. Thanks for sharing your story. I crave inspiration!!