Sara Blakely, creator of the footless hosiery company Spanx, is proof positive that successful business ideas can be found everywhere, even in personal vanities.
Sara stumbled upon the idea for her insanely successful footless panty hose when she was frustrated with visible panty lines that shows under light colored pants and stockings that precluded her from wearing open-toed sandal. She wanted body shaping pantyhose that she could wear with pants and sandals. As she says in her website:
I never dreamed visible panty lines and uncomfortable thongs would inspire me to become an inventor.
Frustrated that no such product exist in the market, she cut her control-top pantyhose to remove the feet. The result was a primitive version of Spanx, but she saw that her idea provided a slimming effect on her hips and thighs, and allowed her to wear open-toe shoes.
Sara realized she had stumbled across a product that women like her are waiting for. She was then selling fax machines and office copier for office-supply company Danka Business Systems in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though she had no experience in the hosiery industry, she decided to go into business plowing $5,000 of her own money into getting a prototype made.