Spanx in Tampa: Q&A with Sara, Top Products + Giveaway

Ladies of Tampa, this post is for you! Our favorite brand of undergarments now has its own retail store (the fourth one, ever) at International Plaza and now we have access to shop the entire Spanx collection in person! If you’re not familiar with Spanx, let me give you a quick breakdown.

Spanx was founded by Sara Blakely (a Tampa area native) and is the go-to for slimming apparel (e.g. bras, swimsuits, activewear, body shapers). Although Spanx started out as a single product line, it has expanded over the years and now features over 200! With the opening of the Tampa store, Spanx kindly sent over Sara’s top 3 favorite products (Bra-llelujah!, Skinny Britches & Compression Knee Pant) for me to check out and share with you!

In addition, we’ve partnered up to give one lucky winner a $100 “shaping spree” (gift card) to use at the brand new Tampa location (enter at the bottom of the post to win)!

I don’t have any problems with my current bras, other than the clasps wearing down over time, straps not always sitting comfortably, and well, you know, the occasional lump of skin poking over (aka the inevitable back fat). Bra-llelujah! ($68) solves all of those problems, as there’s no clasp (just a stretchy band), thick straps and zero back fat issues. This also happens to be the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn.

Skinny Britches
The biggest problem area of all (at least for me) comes in the stomach and thigh area, especially when experiencing bloating during that time of the month. Skinny Britches ($48) offers a solution for this problem, helping to firm up and smooth out under your dresses. The lightweight material makes the undergarment comfortable and they’re the perfect length, sitting around the same area bike shorts would. Love these!

Compression Knee Pant
Oh, workout pants. Always a tricky thing to find for when you’re moving around a lot and finding your body in unflattering positions. The Compression Knee Pant ($78) are super comfortable and the perfect solution for shaping the biggest problem areas (i.e. tummy, thighs and rear)! I can absolutely see why these are one of the top-selling products at Spanx!

I sent over a few questions for Blakely to get more insight into the youngest, self-made female billionaire and one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Read her answers below!

Sara Blakely
Photo credit: Spanx

1. How did the name Spanx come about?

When I came up with the name SPANX, Kodak and Coca-Cola were the two most recognized names in the world, and they both have a predominant “K” sound in them. From doing stand-up comedy, it is a known secret that the “K” sound makes people laugh. I wanted my product’s name to have the “K” sound in it, and SPANKS hit me like a lightning bolt. At the last minute I changed the “KS” to an “X” after doing research that made-up words do better for products than real words and are easier to trademark.

2. What’s are the best-selling product(s) in the Spanx line? Which is your favorite?

One of my all-time SPANX favorites is Bra-llelujah! – a front-closure, back-fat busting miracle! It’s so comfortable that I literally wear it every day. It doesn’t matter what size you are, back fat can attack, so it’s important to wear an elastic-free bra. I also love our Skinny Britches line—it’s lightweight shaping that’s powerful enough to tame the tummy, hips and thighs but cool enough to wear all year round.

3. How has your life changed since the launch of Spanx?

Between launching Spanx, getting married and becoming a mom, my biggest challenge is learning to balance everything! I went from having one full-time job to having two and I’ve had to learn how to be successful at both. I consider myself a work in progress. I’ve found that I’m more effective when I compartmentalize my day, so when I’m with my family I’m focused on my family and when I’m at work, I’m focused on work. My motto is think, prioritize, delegate and let go. And when mapping out your schedule and always include alone time for yourself!

4. What’s the story behind your good luck red backpack?

I carried an old-fashioned Eastpack from the early 1990s to my first Spanx sales meeting at Neiman Marcus. My friends begged me to swap the lucky red backpack for a Prada bag, but I had no shame. It is on display in a glass case in the Spanx Headquarters.

5. Why have you chosen Tampa as the location for your newest retail store? What location(s) are next?

We are so excited to announce the opening of our fourth Spanx retail store. It is especially meaningful to me because I grew up shopping at International Plaza, and now I can share Spanx with my hometown and the community that supported me from the beginning. Our next store openings will be at Westfarms Mall in Hartford, Connecticut and NorthPark Mall in Dallas both later this spring. 

6. What are the best Spanx products for everyday use? Travel essentials?

We make SPANX products for all body types. If you have an athletic build, look for high-waisted shapers that create an hourglass silhouette. For a round tummy, try SPANX shapers with tummy targeting panels like Higher Power. If you are looking for extra thigh slimming, choose a mid-thigh shaper as opposed to a boy short style for more coverage and compression. To eliminate the dreaded cottage cheese effect (aka cellulite), opt for a shaper that gives you the most coverage of your thighs, hips and rear. My own cellulite was part of the inspiration for my first product, SPANX Footless Pantyhose.

7. Last year you became the first female to sign The Giving Pledge. How did that come about? What are some of the charities you support?

I feel very blessed to have had my “ah-ha” moment in America, where women are free to start their own business. I want women around the world with their own “ah-ha” moments to have the same opportunity to follow their dreams! I launched the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation in 2006 and thanks to the success of Spanx have been able to donate $20 million to support charities that empower women here and around the world.

8. Advice for entrepreneurs trying to launch products?

Your inner voice is your most powerful tool, so trust your gut. A lot of people ask me how I’m able to rely on that feeling so strongly, and I think it comes from confidence and practice. It’s a muscle that everyone has to flex to get stronger.

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  • I have a Spanx bodysuit that I love, but I really want to try the Bra-llelujah!