In 1998, Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realised she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under her white trousers.
Armed with scissors, she cut the feet off her control top tights and the Spanx revolution had begun.
She kept her day job for two years while working to get Spanx into stores on the side, and only quit once Oprah named Spanx as one of her “favourite things” in 2000.
Twelve years later, at the age of 41, Sara was named the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes magazine and one of TIME’s 100 Most influential people.
With a focus on solving wardrobe woes, the Spanx brand, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has become synonymous with shapewear and has grown to offer smoothing bras, underwear, leggings, activewear and more.
By 2012, Spanx was making hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and demand for the brand’s products showed no sign of slowing down.
In 2015, Spanx opened a custom-designed, expanded company headquarters and a flagship store in Buckhead Atlanta. The headquarters occupy three floors, a rooftop garden terrace and additional balconies.
A year later, the arrival of Bridget Jones’ Baby in the UK triggered a huge rise in shapewear sales at John Lewis.
As the third film in the franchise premiered in September, sales of Spanx underwear rocketed 71%, the department store revealed in its fourth annual Retail Report.
Waist and thigh slimming pants were first made famous by Renée Zellweger when she played Bridget Jones in the original film, Bridget Jones’ Diary, in 2001.
In 2017, the business launched a new website and expanded its product portfolio with the addition of arm tights.
Made using hosiery yarns, arm tights are a long sleeved crop garment designed to smooth the upper arms.
The collection, available in 11 colours, was launched in the US for AW17 with huge success and entered UK stores House of Fraser and Brown Thomas in November.
Other UK stores will stock the new innovation for SS18.
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Address: 3035 Peachtree Rd NE #200, Atlanta, GA 30305
Focus: Shapewear manufacturing