Spanx chief gives all employees first-class plane tickets and $10,000

The chief executive and founder of the shapewear company Spanx has surprised employees with two first-class plane tickets and $10,000 each.

Speaking at a party last Thursday to mark the company’s new $1.2bn valuation, after the investment giant Blackstone purchased a majority stake, Sara Blakely expressed her gratitude for 21 years of success.

In remarks posted to social media, Blakely said: “To stand here today, and [to] think about what we’ve been able to create and what we’ve been able to do by being authentic and kind and delivering amazing products to women to use their very feminine principles in a very masculine space which is business, leading with intuition, vulnerability … this marks a moment for female entrepreneurs.”

When Blakely started Spanx in 2000 with just $5,000 in savings, she pledged that her company would one day be worth $20m. People laughed, she said.

Blakely gave a globe a spin, then revealed that she had bought each of her employees two first-class plane tickets to anywhere in the world.

“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 … you are each getting $10,000,” Blakely added.

Even though 50% of entrepreneurs are women, she said, only 2.3% of venture capital funding went to women in 2020.

“This is a very big moment for each and every one of you,” Blakely said, “and I want to toast the women that came before me and all of the women in the world who have not had this opportunity.”

She also urged more support for female-led business.

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