Apple. Netflix. Google. They all started with an idea and a single step.
The underwear brand, Spanx, founded by Sara Blakely, was born the same way. Today, it’s a billion-dollar company and Blakely is worth $610 million, according to Forbes. How? Blakely just shared her secrets in a motivational Instagram post.
She didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer
When Blakely started Spanx, it was 1998 and she had just $5,000 in her pocket thanks to a gig selling fax machines door-to-door (oh, how times have changed!), according to Forbes.
She had no experience in design, business or manufacturing, and when she tried to pitch her product she had the door slammed in her face.
She finally landed her first major retail buyer, Neiman Marcus. But during the pitch meeting, she was getting the impression that this would be another ‘no.’ So she decided to change course.
“In the middle of my meeting with [the Neiman Marcus rep], I could tell I was losing her,” Blakely recounted to Guy Raz during an episode of the podcast “How I Built This” in 2016.
So she interrupted the meeting and asked the rep to join her in the restroom.
“And I just knew it was my one shot. So I said, ‘Will you come with me to the bathroom?’ And she just paused. She goes, ‘Excuse me?’ I go, ‘I know, I know, it’s little weird. Will you just please come with me to the bathroom? I want to show you my own product before and after.’”
Blakely went into the stall, put Spanx on underneath her clothes and came out. The rep looked at her and said:
“Wow, I get it. It’s brilliant.”
Neiman Marcus rep told Blakely in a bathroom during Spanx pitch meeting
The buyer accepted the pitch and Spanx is now a billion-dollar brand.
How to achieve your dreams
Nowadays, Blakely is an inspirational example of how a simple idea – a revolutionary take on women’s underwear – can balloon into something great. And she continues to take time out of her busy schedule to share what she’s learned.
In an Instagram post, she revealed her ultimate recipe for success.
“The difference between people who achieve their dreams and those who don’t is simple… It’s about action.”
“Two decades ago, I was just a girl with a crappy day job and a crazy idea,” she continued. “I didn’t have a ton of money, experience or knowledge of the industry. But I decided to go for it.”
Blakely could have sat and waited and wished that, eventually, someone would listen to her idea. But life doesn’t work like that.
“But instead, I started doing and one day became day one, 20 years ago. And that’s what made all the difference.”
It starts with that first step
Golden tickets might pop up in the world of Willy Wonka, but aside from winning the lottery or being born into wealth, fame and fortune don’t just fall on you in real life. If you want to make your dream a reality you have to, as Blakely says, take action.
But when do you take action? When you feel ready? When you’re older? When [insert opportunity] happens? No, it happens as soon as you stop letting your fears get in the way and go for it. When that is exactly is totally up to you.
“So what’s it gonna be? Day one…or one day?”
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