People in the News

Published on April 23rd, 2018 |


Spanx’s Sara Blakely to be 2018 FL Inventors’ Hall of Fame inductee

Clearwater, Florida native Sara Blakely, who created Spanx and now both lives and has her company headquarters in Buckhead, will be joining Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame as one of seven 2018 inductees.

Spanx inventor Sara Blakely

The Hall of Fame recognizes Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality life for the state and the nation. The Hall of Fame is housed in the University of South Florida Research Park in Tampa. Blakely is the first inductee to work in the fashion industry.

Blakely, a graduate of Florida State University, invested $5,000 to start what became Spanx, the Buckhead-based shapewear company now worth more than $1 billion, according to Inc.  She is 16th on Forbes’ list of richest self-made women and number 2,124 on the publication’s list of the world’s billionaires.

Her patents got her spot in the Hall of Fame, which considers nominees who have at least one U.S. patent and a connection to Florida. She personally holds three patents, granted in 2001, 2004 and 2006, for body-smoothing undergarments.

Blakely is the only woman among the 2018 inductees and she will be just the fourth woman in the Hall of Fame, which started in 2014 and has inducted 28 inventors since then.

Thomas Edison, who found a natural source for rubber while working on a project in Fort Myers, was in the inaugural class in 2014. Henry Ford, who collaborated with Edison at the Edison Botanic Research Corporation Laboratory, was inducted into the Hall of Fame a year later.

–John Schaffner

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