Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, showed appreciation for her 500+ employees by surprising each of them with free trips around the world plus travel money to boot.
Blakely’s announcement came after equity firm Blackstone bought a majority stake that valued the undergarment company at $1.2 billion or P60.8 billion.
Recently, Blakely hosted a party for her employees (some of them joined via Zoom) at the company’s Atlanta, Georgia headquarters, where she broke the news that stunned employees.
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In a behind-the-scenes video she shared of the party on Instagram, Blakely is seen speaking in front of employees about the sale and partnership with Blackstone.
“When I first started Spanx, I wrote one goal down that this company will one day be worth $20 million,” she shared. “Everybody laughed at me.”
She added, “So I stand here today and think about what we’ve been able to create, and what we’ve been able to do while being authentic, and kind, and delivering amazing products to women.”
Blakely then talked about the company’s journey and toasted the women who came before her, especially her mother, Ellen, and her grandmothers.
Then cut to the portion where a globe is seen sitting on a table nearby. “Why am I spinning a globe?” the 50-year-old CEO, with daughter Tepper beside her, asks the quiet crowd.
What followed was Blakely’s excited announcement. “To celebrate this moment, I have bought each one of you two First Class tickets anywhere in the world.”
The room erupted with cheers, some staffers crying tears of joy while hugging fellow employees.
“And you know if you go on a trip, you might want to go out to a really nice dinner or you might want to go out to a really nice hotel,” she continued.
“So, with everybody’s two first-class tickets to anywhere in the world, you are each getting $10,000 (P506,000) to spend on your trip.” With this, staffers got excited even more, some of them flabbergasted.
Toward the end of the video, some employees shared where they would go for their trip of a lifetime.
Some of them are already planning to travel to Japan, Croatia, and Antarctica, go on a South African safari, honeymoon in Bora Bora, and another employee plans to fly to Sweden and elope with his girlfriend.
“I really want every employee to celebrate this moment in their own way and create a memory that will last them a lifetime,” Blakely captioned her post.
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Blakely launched Spanx in 2000. From a brand known mainly for its shapewear (which got Oprah Winfrey's seal of approval) and it has since grown into a multi-million dollar company that now offers undergarments, leggings, swimsuits, and more.
Prior to being the youngest self-made female billionaire, Blakely, who graduated from the Florida State University where she studied communications, dabbled in different careers. From being a stand-up comedian, working at Walt Disney World, to being a door-to-door salesperson of fax machines.
She invented Spanx in the ‘90s out of frustration with the limitations of pantyhose and undergarments that are being offered at the time. Blakely spent two years and $5,000 of her savings to develop her idea.
She was able to grow Spanx to the brand that it is today, whose products are available in major department store chains in the US and in different countries across the globe.