Spanx founder surprises 500+ employees with 1st-class plane tickets and $10K each, see the moment here

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, surprised her employees with two amazing gifts: first-class plane tickets and $10,000 cash.

Blackstone, an investment management company, had bought a majority stake in the company. It was valued at $1.2 billion. Blackstone announced the deal in a press release, noting that Blakely will maintain a “significant equity stake in the business.”

The investment firm didn’t reveal just how much it paid, but CNN reports that it’s eight figures, which means Blakely received a massive sum from the deal.

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The majority of CEOs would keep the payouts for themselves. However, the 50 year-old entrepreneur decided that she would use some of it to reward her employees who have helped her company grow.

Blakely announced the news to her 500+ employees at a party. She shocked everyone by announcing that she would be giving them two first-class Delta flight tickets to any destination in the world and $10,000 in cash.

“‘When I started the company in Virginia Highlands on a white board in my room, I wrote a goal down. And I said this company will one day be worth $10 million,” she told them. “And everybody laughed at me.”

Sara Blakely
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Blakely was able to see a globe perched on a desk, having already exceeded that goal.

“Why am I spinning the globe?” she asked. “I was spinning the globe because to celebrate this moment, I have bought each one of you two first-class tickets to anywhere in the world.”

After hearing those words, the crowd burst into cheers and applause as well as happy tears. In a video shared on Instagram, champagne-holding employees are seen cheering and clapping, and sometimes even crying.

They didn’t know Blakely would surprise them.

“You know, if you go on a trip you might want to go out to a really nice dinner, you might want to go out to a really nice hotel, and so with everybody’s two first-class tickets to anywhere in the world, you are each getting $10,000,” the CEO said.

As the cheers and screams intensified more women began to cry. Others stood in shock, widening their mouths.

Sara Blakely
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Later, employees were asked to tell them where they would like to travel. Many countries, such as South Africa and Japan, were mentioned, including Antarctica, Japan, South Africa and Croatia.

“I really want every employee to celebrate this moment in their own way and create a memory that will last them a lifetime!’ Blakely wrote on Instagram. “Cheers to 21 years of magic and many more to come.”

The extremely successful businesswoman started out in several other fields before launching Spanx with only $5,000 in savings.

Blakely’s first career choice was to become a lawyer. However, she failed twice the LSAT. When she realized law school wasn’t for her, she tried to be Goofy at Disney World. That didn’t work, too, because people had to be 5’8 to play Goofy, and she was only 5’6.

Instead, she was cast as one of the chipmunks.

“I worked at Disney for three months and put people on rides at Epcot. I was never actually the chipmunk; I left Disney before I got the chance,” she told Glamour.

A surprised Spanx employee
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Blakely’s next job was selling Danka fax machines door-to-door in Clearwater, Florida. She also did stand up comedy at night.

Although Blakely knew she was good in sales, she didn’t exactly love it. She started to really think about her life and wrote down in her journal, “I want to invent a product that I can sell to millions of people that will make them feel good.”‘

The idea of Spanx came to her when she couldn’t find undergarments that worked with her cream-colored slacks. She cut off the feet from a pair control-top pantyhose to use them under her slacks.

Blakely was happy to wear her DIY underwear, but her pantyhose rolled up her legs throughout the night. She created her own design to offer all the benefits and minimize irritation.

Blakely asked several hosiery factories to make Spanx. She received many rejections.

Sara Blakely's family
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“The cold-calling to sell fax machines was an amazing training ground for hearing “no.” I just learned that there’s a formula, you have to go through a certain number of “no’s” to get to a “yes,” so don’t let it discourage you,” she told New York Magazine.

Blakely finally found the manufacturer who told Blakely that his three daughters love the concept.

She got Neiman Marcus to stock Spanx in seven stores by wearing a pair of white pants for a buyer in the bathroom—with and without Spanx.

Blakely’s humble business quickly grew from there, and Spanx is now one of the most successful companies around.

Blakely understands that employees are the lifeblood for a company and is able to express her gratitude for their hard work!

Here’s a video of the happy moment.

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