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Spanx, the shape-wear undergarment that gives the illusion of a more toned body, has become one of the most talked about and in demand fashion accessories, especially when it comes to celebrities. In fact, Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer recently revealed that she wore three pairs of Spanx to achieve a slimmer shape at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and reality star Kim Kardashian often openly raves about the product.

The overwhelming popularity of this revolutionary product has caused the woman behind the undergarments, Sara Blakely, to be inducted into the Forbes billionaires list. Spanx is a $1 billion company.

So how did she do it?

Previously spotlighted on Oprah’s daytime talk show, Blakely reportedly made a number of smart moves in the early stages of her company’s growth that helped her on the path to success. Blakely claims to have saved $3,000 in legal costs by learning how to write her own patent from a Barnes and Nobles book, never spent money on advertising and owns 100 percent of the company.

At 41 years old, Blakely is currently the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.

When asked about past events that may have shaped her driven nature, Blakely explained that as a teenager she witnessed her best friend get run over by a car.

“I think that when you witness death at age 16, there’s a sense of urgency about life,” Blakely says. “The thought of my mortality — I think about it a lot. I find it motivating. It can be any time that your number’s up.”