Today Sara Blakely is married to former musician and businessman Jesse Itzler
In March of 2012 Forbes Magazine reported that Sara Blakely 41, had become the youngest self-made billionaire woman in the world. She did it by inventing SPANX and then building the company to $1 Billion without the help of a husband or an inheritance. Ms Blakely should be an inspiration to any entrepreneur but particularly young female entrepreneurs. For this reason I have devoted a series of 5 short articles to her success.
Sara Blakely on Being Rich
Today Sara Blakely is married to former musician and businessman Jesse Itzler. Together they have one one young son, Lazer, and live full time in Atlanta where SPANX is headquartered. She and her husband Jesse Itzler also own an apartment in Central Park West in Manhattan and a home in La Jolla California. More recently Sara has purchased land on the beach in Clearwater Florida, her home town.
Sara met Jesse a number of years ago at a poker tournament in Las Vegas and the two just hit it off. Jesse Itzler is quite the entrepreneur in his own right. A former musician who wrote the theme songs for over 50 different pro teams including the Wizards, the Mavericks, and the Lakers, he is also the musician who sang and performed the hit single “Shake It Like a White Girl” which reached 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991. In the New York area however he may be just as well known for writing the theme song for the New York Knicks, “Go NY Go,” and the NBA theme song “I Love This Game.”
Jesse Itzler began a move to the entrepreneurial side of the music business when he co-founded Alphabet City Sports Records with a friend. The company was later sold to FSX Entertainment.
Jesse’s entrepreneurial drive took him from to the music industry to the luxury transportation industry when he co-founded Marquis Jets in 2001 with the same friend, Kenny Ditchter. Marquis Jets sells luxury jet travel in 25 hour increments and count about 400 professional athletes and celebrities as clients. Jesse has an estimated net worth of $100 million.
Sara Blakely on Rebel Billionaire
In 2004 Sara Blakely appeared on the reality show Rebel Billionaire hosted by the founder of Virgin Atlantic Richard Branson. With her company SPANX continuing to grow and with new CEO Laurie Ann Goldman at the helm, Sara shunned the advice of people close to her and began recording. Sara saw it as a way to build brand awareness for her company as well as an opportunity to learn from Branson, one of the world’s most recognizable billionaires.
After three months of competition and daredevil stunts such as climbing up the side of a hot air balloon at altitude, Sara finished the competition in second place. But Sara got what she came for. She not only garnered more attention for her brand, but she left the experience with a $750,000 check from Branson to start the Sara Blakely foundation for women. Lastly she now counts Richard Branson as both a mentor and a friend.
Sara Blakely Foundation
“The Sara Blakely Foundation is dedicated to helping women globally and locally through education and entrepreneurship. By finding the future female entrepreneurs and leaders of the world and giving them the “leg-up” they need to succeed, the whole world will benefit.”- From the SPANX website.
Since its inception the Sara Blakely Foundation has donated more than $20 million to women’s charities around the world focusing on charities that empower underserved women and girls. In 2013 Sara Blakely became the first female billionaire to sign the Melinda and Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half her wealth to charity.
Sara Blakely’s Philosophy about Being Rich
It is not uncommon to hear someone disparage the want or desire to create wealth and make a lot of money. The counter argument is that money is neither good nor bad, it is neutral. When asked by a reporter for her philosophy about being rich and making a lot of money, Sara had this to say;
"I feel like money makes you more of who you already are. If you're an asshole, you become a bigger asshole. If you're nice, you become nicer. Money is fun to make, fun to spend and fun to give away."
Additional articles in my series on Sara Blakely