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Spanx Founder Sara Blakely Has 99 Pages of Business Ideas

She's CEO of a billion-dollar brand, but she's always looking to invent the next big thing.

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This story appears in the December 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Ladies’ underwear has long been revolutionary territory -- bras burned, girdles sacked. But when Sara Blakely, a 27-year-old fax machine saleswoman, discovered she was making less than her male colleague at the same job, she was inspired to take scissors to tights to invent what would give power to the pantie (and anyone who wore it), and launch her own business. Twelve years later, she landed in Forbes as the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. You know the story: Blakely’s company, Spanx, started with $5,000, is now to shapewear what Kleenex is to tissue, baptized by Oprah as a “favorite thing” and worn unapologetically by the famous, from JLo to Reese Witherspoon. It’s even made its way into MoMA. Blakely, who was inducted into Babson College’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs last month, is still on a roll -- and finding new ways to share her wisdom.

Ben Rollins

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