Spanx founder is Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire

Once Oprah listed it as one of her "favorite things" in 2000, it was game on for Spanx.

Since then, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Emily Blunt rarely make an appearance on the red carpet without it. Department stores stock up on Spanx products. Even my own mother admittedly professes her love for the shapewear.

And it shows because at 41, Sara Blakely, founder of the brand, covers Forbes' Billionaires issue as the list's youngest self-made billionaire, "by reinventing the girdle."

For someone whose initial investment was $5,000, without any outside investment or advertising support since 2000, Blakely has certainly done well for herself. She owns 100% of the private company valued at around $1 billion, has absolutely no debt, leads a team of 125 employees, showcases over 200 products in 11,500 stores across 40 countries worldwide.

QVC, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom all carry her products in their respective hoisery sections. Furthermore, the Spanx ethos continues to spread like rapid fire among circles of women- young and seasoned.

Her own husband Jesse Itzler confirmed this bit with an amusing observation on how random fans on the streets of cities pledge their allegiance to Blakely and the brand. “Women flash her,” he told Forbes. “Imagine that. She’s just really good. She’s the best, man.”

In addition to women, now physique-conscious men are slowly joining the Spanx movement, acknowledging the power of the body-shaping, tummy-tucking undergarments. After all, what better way to temporarily hide a beer gut than to suck it in with Spanx?

Read the full story here. It's inspiring.