It looks like the Queen of Shapewear, Sara Blakely may have her sights set on the African continent. In an interview with Forbes Woman Africa at the Forbes Women’s Summit in June 2015, Blakely revealed her potential plans to expand growth on the continent and her opinions on Africa as a potential market.
On plans to sell Spanx in Africa: We don’t sell in Africa – it is not because we haven’t identified a need there. We have actually had many people who email and call us from Africa. It’s because we have to prioritize our resources in the company. We still have a lot of opportunity to figure out distribution in America, and we branched out to other countries, but Africa is on the list.
On the timing of expansion in Africa: You never know! Spanx should be around the world. It is such a wonderful base layer clothing and it makes such a difference for women regardless of where they are in the world. I have found that there are definitely African women I meet here in the United States who say they stock up (our products) and I have several people I know who are sales associates at Harrods, who email and tell stories of women coming from Africa and buy out Spanx products.
The continent’s beauty and personal care industry is one of the fastest growing, particularly in Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. The high growth in spending power makes a strong case for entry into the African market, producing highly tailored products that build on knowledge of African consumers.