Most Powerful Mom: Underwear Entrepreneur
Child: Lazer, 2
Sara Blakely started Spanx at the age of 27 in 1998 with an investment of $5,000 (money she earned selling fax machines door to door). The company was based on a simple idea: no more panty lines. Fourteen years later, the undergarment phenomenon is valued at around $1 billion, remains debt free and is still completely owned by Blakely. Which is why Forbes named Blakely the youngest self-made billionaire on its annual list this year.
It’s has been a meteoric rise for Blakely, who thought she wanted to be a lawyer but has admitted to bombing the LSATs. Spanx has been profitable since its first month in business. Blakely landed on The Oprah Show in 2000 after sending the talk show host a basketful of her products, a moment that sent the Spanx machine into overdrive. There are now more than 200 Spanx offerings, which are sold in more than 40 countries.
Blakely said last year: “The advice that I tell people who are just starting out or have an idea is to differentiate yourself. You've got to trust your gut, you have to believe in yourself… Don’t share your idea for validation, share it with people who will help the idea move forward, like manufacturers.” The advancement of women entrepreneurs is important to Blakely. In 2006, she launched the Sara Blakely Foundation to help women via education and entrepreneurial training. She also funds scholarships for young women in South Africa.