How Spanx Founder Sara Blakely Went From Broke to Billionaire

By Samantha Bergeson Nov 15, 2021 8:57 PMTags
Watch: How Spanx Founder Sara Blakely Overcame Rejection to Launch Brand

Putting her big girl panties on—literally. 

Spanx founder Sara Blakely hit more than a few speed bumps on her way to becoming a shapewear mogul, and an exclusive sneak peek at E!'s True Hollywood Story special, Billionaires: Fierce, Fearless And Filthy Rich, premiering tonight, Nov. 15, gives fresh insight into Sara's tenacity to succeed. 

"After being rejected by every hosiery manufacturer in North Carolina, Sara went home to re-group," the voiceover says in the clip. "But her father's early lesson of embracing failure as a learning tool made her determined not to give up on her idea." 

Stephanie Wetzel, author of The Spanx Story, explains that Sara received an unexpected call from another manufacturer after she was turned down. "He said, 'I have two daughters and I told them about this product' and they said, 'That's amazing, you have to help her,'" Stephanie notes. "He said, 'I still think it's crazy, but I'm going to help you.'"

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First thing was first: Sara's budding brand needed a name and a packaging strategy. Sara landed on Spanx.

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"She liked the kind of naughtiness of it, the innuendo of it," Stephanie adds. 

And thus, a 27-year-old Sara officially incorporated Spanx in 1998, giving way to a revolutionary new product. 

Check out the preview ahead of tonight's new episode.