Sara Blakely is returning to Spanx, Inc.

Blakely, Spanx’s owner and founder, announced at a staff meeting last Friday that she will be playing a more active role within the company. Jan Singer, Spanx’s chief executive officer who was hired in 2014, is vacating the Atlanta-based shapewear company.

During Singer’s tenure, Blakely was involved in the business but she wasn’t there on a day-to-day basis. Now Blakely will be more entrenched in product development and she intends to provide options and everyday choices for women.

“I’m excited and energized to be closer to product innovation,” Blakely said. “I am an inventor at heart. We have some game-changing ideas for our customers.”

Singer, who previously served as Nike’s corporate vice president of global apparel, was tasked with moving the brand’s image from “occasional wear” to “everyday wear.” She attempted to do this by honing in on comfort and function and repackaging Spanx’s original product to be more body-positive.

Upon Singer’s arrival, she overhauled management and brought on a slew of new hires including Lisa Hawkins, who was formerly senior vice president of marketing, media, events and education at Christian Dior, as the chief marketing officer, Beverly House, who previously held senior design roles at Aéropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria’s Secret, as executive vice president of product, and Mala Brindisi as executive vice president of sourcing and manufacturing. Brindisi formerly served as Abercrombie’s group vice president of sourcing.

Singer previously told WWD she made these changes because, “the eye on the consumer was really missing.”

Blakely, who started the company in 2000, recently made an appearance on “CBS This Morning” to promote Spanx’s new ath-leisure line. When Blakely was asked about customers’ criticism of the brand’s messaging, which some say is closely aligned with body shaming, she responded, “You know what I say? Then don’t buy them. It’s fine. As a woman I’m just so happy that I had the option for Spanx because it opened up my wardrobe.”

According to the NPD Group, a consumer tracking service, in 2015 shapewear accounted for $746 million in sales, but a spokesperson from the service said its growth has declined over the past few years. Many brands are attempting to revive the category with less constricting and more visually appealing options.

Spanx currently operates 10 stand-alone stores and four airport units. Spanx is also sold in Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, Harrods, Galeries Lafayette, La Rinascente and Selfridges, along with other retailers spread across 50 countries. Its less expensive line, Assets by Sara Blakely, is sold at Target.


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