Creator and CEO of Spanx Sara Blakely has an amazing story. She created Spanx while selling fax machines door-to-door in Florida after she was unable to find any pantyhose that didn't have seamed toes. Sara loved how they felt and figured that all women would like something like that. And like that a billion dollar business was created.
She moved to Atlanta a short time after, investing her life savings of $5,000 to further develop the product. After doing some research she discovered the industry as a whole had been stagnant using the same one or two cookie cutter design + waistband. There was clearly an opportunity to be had.
In the year 2000, she launched her product by calling Neiman Marcus and convinced their rep at the meeting to put in an order after having the rep change into a pair of spanx in the restroom. An initial order was placed and to GUARANTEE it's success, Sara called anyone and everyone she knew in the local area to go and purchase the product. She said afterwards that she would reimburse them. Neiman Marcus called Sara and raved over how quickly Spanx were selling out and wanted to place another order! You don't say...haha.
Not long after she was featured by Oprah on her show, and like they say, the rest is history.
The big lesson I took away from her interview on Lewis Howe's School of Greatness was that Sara was going to do whatever it took to ensure her success. Right down to taking on debt to ensure her product moved in stores to facilitate another large order. There have been so many entrepreneurs I've spoken to who say "I don't have the money", and it pains me to tell them, you've already lost if that's the only thing holding you back. If you believe in what you're doing, you need to be all in.
She goes into further detail on becoming the first self made female billionaire, a truly inspiring story, listen on Lewis Howe's School of Greatness available at his website and wherever you find podcasts on your mobile devices.