Spanx founder Sara Blakely is giving back to her employees as the youngest self-made female billionaire celebrates global investment firm Blackstone buying a majority stake in the womenswear company. Spanx, has come a long way under Blakely's leadership, growing into a company now valued at an estimated $1.2 billion after the businesswoman began selling fax machines door to door for a paycheck and benefits.
Celebrating the company's success in a video posted to Instagram last week, Blakely spun a nearby globe before asking, "Why am I spinning a globe?" She then told her employees the big news: she had purchased two first-class tickets to anywhere in the world for each employee.
"You know, if you have a trip, you might want to go out to a really nice dinner, you might want to go out to a really nice hotel," Blakely continued. "So with everybody's two first-class tickets to anywhere in the world, you are each getting $10,000." It was a major moment for the employees, who began to cheer and cry as a dance party broke out. One employee said they would go to Bora Bora on their honeymoon, while another wanted to elope in Sweden.
Blakely reflected in the video about the hard work she had put in to start Spanx, cold-calling manufacturing plants and working nights and weekends to make her dream come true. "I said this company will one day be worth $20 million, and everybody laughed at me," Blakely said through tears. She toasted to all the women who paved the way for her success as well as all the women worldwide who "have not had this opportunity," pointing out that while half of all entrepreneurs are women, they receive only 2.3% of venture capital. "In a moment like this, I think of my mom and my grandmothers and their lack of options and all the women that came before them," she continued. "This would have only been a very remote dream."
The move was praised by people and companies in the comments: "Leading with intuition and kindness and humanness, humor and strength," one person wrote, as another chimed in, "So inspired by you and what you created and the women you've impacted along the way Sara."