Business, Design & Style

Spanx Case Studies

Sara Blakely

Lesson time 6:37 min

Sara details the development of a few of her most successful products, providing more insight into various stages of the product-development process, including naming, innovation, iteration, and differentiation.

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

Topics include: Product Innovation: Bra-llelujah! · Naming: Power Panties · Differentiation: Booty Boost Active Leggings · Iteration: The Perfect Black Pant


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So I thought it would be a great idea to take actual specific innovation from Spanx, products that we have out in the marketplace, and what our thought process was behind them, how we A, identified white space; B, wanted to solve the problem; and what the why was behind each one of them. These are big successes by Spanx. And you'll be able to see a pattern in our thinking and how we went about it. Yep. We named it Bra-llelujah because it was so comfortable that women actually sang when they put it on in wear testing. And they would be like hallelujah. We're like, that's perfect. So the way that I thought about this is I like to look at a product or something and say how's everybody looking at it and is there a different angle. So I knew that bras, for however long bras have been around, everyone in the industry was obsessing the front of the bra, the cups, the support. It was all about the front. So I thought, well, nobody's thinking about the back of a bra. What if I really obsessed is there a better way to make up the back of the bra. And that's how this process started. I also really don't like bras. They were uncomfortable. I didn't think they fit right. And I was always messing with them. But the one thing I noticed is that forever the industry had been putting two pieces of elastic, one here at the bottom across the back and one at the top that pinched your skin and left an unsightly look under blouses and tops. So I went and said, what if we just totally threw the entire industry on its head and created a whole new back to a bra? We ended up coming up with a bra that the front is regular molded cups. You get the support that you want but the straps and the back is literally made out of hosiery. What did we end up doing? We created the world's most comfortable bra. And it was completely invisible under t-shirts. And it was supportive. And the industry woke up and said, whoa, wait a minute maybe we don't need to be constructing bras the way that it's always been done. So another invention was the Power Panty, which I mentioned how important naming something is. Once we named this the Power Panty, it took on a total life of its own. It made everybody laugh. It was memorable. And so we did name it halfway through development the Power Panty. And literally even the factory started getting more excited about making iterations once they all started calling it the Power Panty. And what was this invention? Well, shaper shorts existed. OK. But they were flawed. And what happened was they all had a leg band on them. So you wear them under your beautiful cream pants, your white pants, and you would see this line or bulge go across your thigh where it ended. So I thought, what if we could create a shaper short with zero leg band and keep it down on the leg? Well, this one was at least two years of iteration. And it was super complicated and super exciting to break through on this one. What we ended up d...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Sara Blakely

Spanx founder Sara Blakely teaches you bootstrapping tactics and her approach to inventing, selling, and marketing products that consumers love.

Explore the Class
Sign Up