Sara Blakely speaks with NBC Channel 8 at the Tampa International Plaza Spanx store about how she started Spanx.
There's now a new SPANX store in TAMPA'S INTERNATIONAL PLAZA. Channel 8's GAYLE GUYARDO sat down one on one with SPANX's creator, SARA BLAKELY, who is the world's youngest self made female billionaire and a Clearwater native. Forget the ribbon, the snipping of the SPANX makes it official. Clearwater native and founder of SPANX SARA BLACKELY's storefront at TAMPA'S INTERNATIONAL PLAZA is open for business. "I love coming home here. I love it". As the crowd gathered just moments before the grand opening of SPANX, SARA BLAKELY, who is on the cover of magazines and headlining network news as the world's youngest self made billionaire carved out time to talk about where she started. "SPANX is 14 years old, almost, this October and we've never formally advertised." You know, I was going to ask you that. I've never seen it but people know the name like it's KLEENEX or COCA COLA. "Yeah. That's all because of women sharing a good secret and the power of our customers and especially the Tampa Bay area in the beginning I remember, you know, everyone emailing each other just saying please forward this email about my invention and then the local news here put me on and all the radio stations." Then OPRAH called after discovering the slimming intimates and the body-shaping hosiery hit new heights. Now 14 years later SPANX has shaping AND staying power. The SPANX line has expanded putting the slim in swim, the ah! in bras and BLAKELY hopes a change in the way designers look at women. "They cared about the way we look but not how we feel. And so I learned, even being a girl from Clearwater Beach with no business background, if you care and you have the right purpose and intention in what you're doing, it's amazing what you can do." But the charming and self deprecating BLAKELY points to failures like bombing the LSAT twice, being too short for a job as GOOFY at DISNEY or even the struggles of selling fax machines in Clearwater as stepping stones to success. "That's where I learned very quickly you've got 30 seconds to get your foot in the door and you've gotta figure it out by either, usually I like to make people laugh or smile then you've got another 30 seconds" GAYLE GUYARDO, News Channel 8