What It's Like Inside Spanx Headquarters

Failure is supported -- and even encouraged -- at the billion-dollar shapewear brand.
What It's Like Inside Spanx Headquarters
Image credit: Adam Friedberg
Magazine Contributor
Associate Editor
4 min read

This story appears in the December 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Spanx founder Sara Blakely was young, her father would ask her at the dinner table, “What did you fail at this week?” After sharing her missteps, she’d receive encouragement to keep trying. It’s a lesson she infused in her billion-dollar shapewear brand -- to be bold and take risks, because removing the fear of failure can lead to great things. That’s why employees at Spanx are encouraged to work on projects outside their department, and team activities are designed to inspire courageousness. Meanwhile, the company doesn’t take itself too seriously: Puns abound at its Atlanta headquarters, which is home to meeting spaces with names like Booby Trap and Brallywood. The room overlooking a popular burger joint? It’s called Shape Shack. 

Related: Spanx Founder Sara Blakely Has 99 Pages of Business Ideas

Emily Steger Director of talent acquisition

“I always tell candidates that they should know within the first five minutes of walking into a company if they want to work there. Go with your gut. And as soon as I walked in the front doors of Spanx, I knew it was right, that it was a company that really aligned with my values and expectations.” 

Courtney Perkins / Sales associate 

“Spanx was my first job after spending 12 years as a stay-at-home mom. It was so foreign to think about being in a corporate environment again. But every time I got on the elevator with people I didn’t recognize, someone reached out to me and said, ‘I don’t recognize you. Are you new? Welcome to Spanx!’ ”  

Chloe Wieser / Foundations designer

“As a designer, working here is rewarding because we’re truly innovating. At previous jobs, design was more on the surface, responding to fashion trends. Here, we’re really inventing new products to elevate day-to-day life for our customers.” 

Related: 9 Inspiring Quotes From Self-Made Billionaire and Spanx Founder Sara Blakely

Hosong Na / Senior photo editor

“We’re encouraged to experiment with new ways of doing things. On the photography team, we’re always trying new lighting techniques, new ways of cropping, and new ways to simplify the workflow. It’s great because Spanx encourages us to fail. You learn from your failures, and I fail all the time!”

Alie Ferst / Director of international accounts

“You’re encouraged to raise your hand and say, ‘I want to be a part of that.’ Before we opened our London office, I was on the sales team, but I asked for a bigger role and to become more involved in the opening of the new London office -- looking at spaces, hiring the new team, exploring aspects of what it means to have an international office. And now my role covers all international markets.”

Gabrielle Baker / E-commerce associate

“As part of our year-round Be Bold program, every quarter the staff is trained on new skills. We’ve had debate tournaments and negotiation training, but my favorite was last year’s comedy boot camp. We went to Atlanta’s Punchline Comedy Club, and everyone got up onstage to perform. It was a great way to stretch and grow.” 

Dija Brown / Senior technical designer

“As a technical designer, I spend a lot of time in the fit room. Many apparel companies fit their products on mannequins, but we don’t. We check product fit on live models because it’s really important that Spanx magic is felt and seen by women of all shapes and sizes. We conduct three-hour fit sessions twice a week.” 

Related: Spanx Founder Sara Blakely Has 99 Pages of Business Ideas

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Image Credit: Adam Friedberg

 

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