Business, Politics & Society


Sara Blakely

Lesson time 14:33 min

Sara teaches you her time-tested prototyping tactics, including how to gather consumer feedback and capitalize on your weaknesses. She also discusses the development of some of her inventions.

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] - I'm going to tell you something. I pretty much can tell you that every person in their life has had a million dollar idea. No doubt, no doubt. It's just, you going to take action? That's the big difference. Do you want to do something about it? The ideas are there. It's just then you got to take your next step. [MUSIC PLAYING] So the goal of the first prototype is to bring your idea into the world. You want to see that it can be made, you want to see that it can be done, and then you want to educate yourself on the strengths and the weaknesses of your prototype. And you do that by comparing it to what else is available in the marketplace and why it's better. Then add a design element, but don't compromise the fit. WOMAN: Mhm. [MUSIC PLAYING] - The first prototype of Spanx was actually a product that already existed, and I just took a new angle on it. I mean, I literally took a product that existed and made a modification to it. I cut the feet out of pantyhose. It's important to remember that when you're creating your first prototype, it can often be a combination of aspects of things you really like. For example, Steve Jobs, he didn't invent the camera. He didn't invent the phone. He didn't invent email. He looked at it and said, I'm going to put all this together in one device. So when I was prototyping, I literally went and found elements of other people's products that I liked. I like this waistband, and here's the reason why. I like this fabric, and here's the reason why. I like this, and then I thought, OK, how do I make the leg band on the bottom? I didn't know how to do that. I actually went to fabric stores and arts and crafts stores and got elastic, tried to staple it at the bottom. I tried to paperclip it to the bottom. I mean, I was doing such crude, homemade examples, but that's where it all starts. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you're testing your first couple of prototypes or you're beginning business, I say, don't underestimate your own, would I buy this? Is this my first choice? When I started Spanx, I had the product wear-tested on myself, two friends, and my mom. When I give people prototypes, I always want them to tell me what's wrong with it. I'm so focused on, what don't you like about it, and how can it be improved? For example, I said to them, I want you to go home. I don't want you to just put it on your body. I want you to wear it for a few days, not just instantly. Tell me how it's performing over the course of several days. Does it start to get hot? Do you want to get out of it? What's happening? Give me that feedback. I mean, negative feedback's super important, and you just need to know what to do with it. It's either a gift and you make a change in something you didn't think about, or it's something that you don't agree with and you move on and continue on your path. You're not going to please everybody, and a lot of people are going to not understand what you're d...

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.

it was inspiring and helped me to see the brighter side of things!

Sara was very inspirational! I am not an entrepreneur but I am a person who likes to take risks. Maybe one day I will have a million dollar idea. Thank you for all you do and for making this Masterclass! -Sandy

Wow wow wow! So inspirational I ended up going through Sara’s entire class today! Loved every lesson and plan on implementing many lessons learned. Many thanks for being so vulnerable and real!

I am a new entrepreneur and about to publish my first book. I’ve been really struggling with fears and self-limiting beliefs lately. Going through this masterclass today literally gave new the newfound belief that I can do this. Sara Blakely, I love everything you stand for. Thank you for making the world a better place.


A fellow student

SARA is amazing, although I didn't know about her before, I was totally obsessed in her first lesson. Her energy is infectious.

Eric Y.

I also think that getting back feedback can help you or me a lot when you are making a prototype.👸🏼

Roberta Artemisia C.

Hello! hi, I'm thinking of manufacturing fabric, so how do I define and obsess about my client? my clients will be designers, home deco designers, or other industries that use fabric, I know I'm not re-inventing the wheel! I'm just bringing back production where it has been outsourced, and not only, I'll use locally sourced /grown vegetable fibers. How do I go about this? so my clients are people - like Mrs Blakely - who use fabric (although I doubt she uses hemp and nettle...) some interior designers already told me their clients often ask for locally produced fabric, but then I have to set up a whole manufacturing plant before I get anywhere near a prototype...

Ebony B.

Incredibly insightful!!! Sara’s approach to teaching is refreshing! Thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this.

Electra A.

Fascinating to hear that it took 2 years from her idea to prototype...and her explanation of how she pivoted from the "spanx for arms" shapewear into the Arm Tights which were just fashion, but not so much function. Also interesting to observe a pattern: she lopped the feet off support hose & created Spanx, & in essence lopped the feet off colorful tights & rerouted to cover up arms. What will she lop off next? What can WE lop off and repurpose somewhere else? :) SO SUPER INSPIRING! Love hearing her connect the dots!


Love this class! I love Sara gave me examples of how to pivot and abandon ideas.

Zebulon T.

I love her attention to detail and not allowing what others put out there to change her solid designs and ideas. So many brands put out ideas so fast without thinking things through or testing it. So we now have a market filled with products and services that lack quality and value big time.

A fellow student

Sara, I understand that it took you 2 year to take it to the market. At what point , in this period, did you apply for the patent?


I just finished my 4th prototype and the day I asked for a mentor to help me bring this to the world SARA ANNOUNCED THIS MASTER CLASS!!!! ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!!!! THIS IS HELPING ME SO SO SO MUCHHHHH. SARA THANK YOU. ❤️🙏

A fellow student

The aim high segment was so powerful to! My daughters name is Victoria and I’ve also had a crazy obsession with Zimbabwe for a couple years now. The whole thing simple spoke to my soul and I feel so grateful to have heard it. On top of that this was my first MasterClass I’ve listened to. 💕 super excited for this journey!