Apr 30, 2014
03:16 PMStyle & Shopping
Beyoncé, Heidi Klum Love Spanx; Connecticut Store Opening at Westfarms
All the beautiful but “real” women out there may not know her by name, but Sara Blakely—the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire—is the equivalent of their best friend for life, with good reason.
It’s not because of her success story, but because of a different type of empowerment for women (including celebrities like Beyoncé, Heidi Klum, Katy Perry, Adele, Jennifer Garner and even Kim Kardashian).
Blakely’s stroke of genius (cutting the feet off of pantyhose to solve a pre-event fashion emergency) led to a fashion company with global reach that, more than any other, has reshaped society’s misshapen notions about female beauty.
The result has made women everywhere look and feel good in the process—and in their own real, and beautiful, bodies.
We’re talking about the global shapewear phenomenon Spanx, which is holding a grand opening May 1 for its fifth and newest retail store—in Westfarms Mall in Connecticut—that will feature Blakely (right) cutting the (ceremonial hosiery) ribbon at 10 a.m., as part of a day that will feature lots of “shopper-friendly events.”
There will be product giveaways, a chance to win a $100 “shaping spree” each hour, and the first 100 shoppers can choose a complimentary problem-solving product from the “Tower of Power,” which showcases packaged SPANX products—from shapers to pantyhose—ranging in retail price from $26 to $38.
Meanwhile, Spanx Transformation Team members will also be on hand to help customers find the perfect fit for their undergarment and fashion apparel needs.
“Spanx, the brand that revolutionized shapewear more than a decade ago, is bringing its latest wardrobe offerings to local residents of all shapes and sizes,” the press material says. “Women and men can find their best looks with the smoothing, supportive undergarments and fashion wear favored by Hollywood stars and suburban shoppers alike. With its grand opening celebration, the new store invites local men and women to try a new, more confident look this season."
Spanx calls the Westfarms opening a “jiggle-free jubilee,” and Blakely says in press material, “Our retail stores are approachable and fun, a place where customers can find the entire breadth of Spanx products and everyone knows your bra size. We lend support—from top to bottom and get ‘thanks, Spanx’ booty shakes in return.”
Blakely elaborated on everything Spanx in a phone interview about the opening of the first Spanx retail store in New England, saying that “women don’t hold back” in showing their appreciation and enthusiasm about what Spanx has done to their self-image and how they look and feel.
“They flash me and give me a thumbs-up,” Blakely says of that response, joking that her husband enjoys a perk most men would get in trouble for indulging in—gazing at and appreciating shapely rear ends of women other than his wife.
As much as Blakely and her Spanx team describe the company and its mission with catchy words and phrases, the business has succeeded phenomenally because of Blakely’s passion, a rock-solid commitment to fulfilling the mission of making “women feel great about themselves and their potential” with great integrity, and the fact that Spanx products are different and better than those of any imitators.
“We’ve been the innovator,” Blakely says. “There’s a ‘secret sauce’ to what we do” in the way we knit and construct documents. It’s part of what makes Spanx the go-to resource for women.
“Every category we go into we go into it with a real purpose; what are we delivering to the woman that’s better [or that hasn’t existed before]," Blakely elaborates on the business model, remarking that she remains driven to pursue the “opportunity in fashion to make the woman feel better and look better”—for the sake of those women.
In terms of what’s coming next, think jeans, a holy grail challenge of the women’s fashion industry; the Spanx denim leggings, which are “fitting women wonderfully,” will be in the Westfarms store for the launch.
And Spanx isn’t just for women. “We felt the men’s undershirt has been ignored” since being invented, Blakely says. Spanx made undershirts better by adding Lycra to prevent stretching, and more broadly has made men’s underwear “better and more comfortable,” Blakely says.
It all started in 1998:
Spanx founder Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn't have the right undergarment to provide a blemish-free look under white pants. Armed with scissors and sheer genius, she cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the Spanx revolution began!
The journey of creating the Spanx brand, Blakely says, took two years: “It was launched in 2000.” From that point it was one milestone after another in making women’s lives better; Spanx, for example, was the first company to dream of a no-back-fat bra.
The rest is legendary at this point. When I connected with Blakely on the phone, I passed along a message: “My colleagues want me to tell you that you change their lives.”
“I do hear that a lot, but it doesn’t get any better than that,” Blakely says.
In terms of the Westfarms store, Spanx says, “Following the Spanx new store footprint, the Westfarms location is designed with comfort, function, fashion and fun in mind. Inspired by the brand’s supportive products and vibrant personality, bold splashes of red, Lucite finishes and high-gloss lacquer can be found throughout the store, creating a feeling of high energy and even higher style. Plus, feminine furnishings and intimate fitting rooms with oh-so flattering lighting help to create a chic, cozy setting.”