Billionaire Spanx founder says when timing's right, she 'might entertain' going public

  • Spanx founder Sara Blakely isn't ruling out taking the retail company public one day — if the timing is right.
  • Blakely, who started the shapewear company with just $5,000, still owns 100 percent of Spanx.
Sara Blakely
Earl Kibby | CNBC
Sara Blakely

Spanx founder Sara Blakely isn't ruling out taking the shapewear company public one day — if the timing is right.

Blakely, who began Spanx with just $5,000, still owns 100 percent of the company.

"When I started Spanx, I'd never taken a business class in my life. I'd never worked in fashion or retail," Blakely said in an interview Tuesday with CNBC's Sara Eisen on "Closing Bell."

"For the first several years, everyone would ask me what my exit strategy was, and I literally didn't know what they were talking about."

A lot has changed since then. Spanx has taken off and has an estimated $400 million in annual sales. In 2012, Forbes named Blakely the world's youngest self-made female billionaire. This year, she sits in the 21st spot on the magazine's "America's Richest Self-Made Women" list, with an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion.

She even had a cameo in Showtime's "Billions" and told the main character, a hedge fund manager, that she had no plans to take Spanx public.

When asked if she would eventually want to do so in real life, Blakely responded: "If it feels like that's the right time and my gut tells me that it's something to do, then I might entertain it. But I don't have any plans for it right now."

Other changes the company has faced is the shift toward outsourcing some of its production. For the first seven years, 100 percent of its garments were made in North Carolina. However, these days about half of Spanx's products are made in the U.S.

"I literally had to go outside of America because I couldn't get the quality that I wanted and needed in a lot of the apparel and the other categories that we were developing," Blakely said.

However, so far, the company has not been affected by the escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China, she added.

Correction: Spanx has an estimated $400 million in annual sales. An earlier version misstated the figure.