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- Sara Blakely on how she sold SPANX out of department stores herself for two years
Sara Blakely on how she sold SPANX out of department stores herself for two years
In his essay Do Things That Don’t Scale, Paul Graham writes: “startups take off because the founders make them take off.”
Sara, founder of SPANX (valued at over $1 billion), is the epitome of this. She did whatever it took, regardless of how scaleable it was, to make the company take off:
“When I got Neiman Marcus, I think a lot of people think that’s when you’ve arrived. That’s when I double timed.”
For the next two years, she was on the ground floor every department store in the country that sold SPANX:
“I would go before the store opened and do an all-store rally and tell them what my product was, explain it to them, do a demo, give out free product, and then stand there in the department for eight hours a day and tell customers what it was because I didn’t have any money to advertise.”
Interestingly, this resulted in two invaluable byproducts:
“What I didn’t realize I was doing was building a salesforce not on my payroll because all these people started to become ambassadors, and they were rooting for me and they loved the product.”
“I learned what my next products were going to be because I was standing right there with customers and they told me what they wanted.”
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