Gaining Strength from Hard Times

September 9, 2020

With the unofficial end of Summer, Labor Day weekend 2020 came and went.  Hopefully you all were able to enjoy some down time with family and friends and the fabulous weather we had in the Northeast.  This past Labor Day was one that we would have never imagined.  As we are continuing our new norm with social distancing and wearing masks, and frequently washing our hands it looked very different than our celebrations in the past.  I try to always keep things positive during this difficult time.  I keep reminding myself that things will change for the better.  “Be strong because things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it never rains forever.”  When I talk to my clients, I always try to remind them that things will change soon.  I am always looking to find good stories out there to share with my clients and friends about survival.  I came across a great article in Entrepreneur Magazine about Sara Blakely, businesswomen, entrepreneur, and philanthropist and the founder of Spanx, an American intimate apparel company with pants and leggings.  She has been through many highs and lows in the twenty years in business with both personal and global tragedies but has learned a lot on how to get through them.

Blakely needed to do what we all did back in March, pivot.  Despite her having to close her stores and watched her sales fall and losing a line of new product when a cargo ship caught fire.  She learned that blessings come in times of despair.  This is what she believes has set her up for a successful career. She has been through many downfalls in her career.  Spanx began being offered in stores like Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom but she noticed that it wasn’t enough.  She needed to educate women on how this product can change their life, so she began traveling to the stores and doing promotions even using herself as the model for before and after look.  She made a huge decision to invest in an advertising insert that would be sent out by Saks. The promotion would arrive in everyone’s mailboxes five days after the September 11th attacks.  Talk about bad timing.  But she kept with it and kept showing up at the stores to do her promos.  She realized that she needed help from the sales associates on promoting her products since she noticed that no one walked through the hosiery department in which Spanx were placed, so she had a contest and offered the sales associate with the most sales that day with $100. She got everyone excited about her products and the word got out!

With the entire country facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Blakely feels eager to inspire entrepreneurs to gain strength from hard times.  She feels that it is very important to develop a strong personal mindset.  “As an entrepreneur, that’s your greatest asset, and you should work on it daily.” She recently partnered with 3DE, a national education nonprofit, on a module for high school students that teaches them to think for themselves and see opportunities.  It is now being offered in 13 public schools and growing.  Blakely has done what many of us business owners have done since March, cut costs, scaled back inventory orders, coming up with new products.  She also donated $5 million to help other female founders.  She is in survival mode and with her past experiences she is prepared for what is in her future.

I hope that you are inspired to move forward.  Here is the complete article,  Please continue to stay safe and practice social distancing.  Would love to hear from you!

Margherita C. Amplo
President, MCA Consultants
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