Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today's History : Victoria's Secret

*Disclaimer: None of the photos in this Blog Post belong to They are all courtesy of Victoria's Secret*

Let's say you're walking through the mall one day and before you know it you're gazing at this big, bright pink sign and through doors that look as if they lead into a woman's closet. For many women and shoppers, in general, this scenario is all too familiar. Even without the title and the picture, many would have already guessed, just based on the description, that I was talking about Victoria's Secret.

Victoria's Secret has become a very successful American lingerie retailer. There are over 1000 Victoria's Secret stores across the U.S. and over 100 independent Victoria's Secret Beauty Stores. However, with so much success, you'd better believe that there is a history to be learned.

Victoria's Secret was started by a Stanford Graduate School of Business student by the name of Roy Raymond. After an uncomfortable visit to a department store to buy a negligee for his wife, Raymond was inspired to open a store where customers, mainly men, would not have to feel uncomfortable purchasing lingerie.

The first store was opened in 1977 in the Stanford Shopping Center.
The decor was Victorian with wood panel walls and Raymond made sure to have a friendly staff. The store was quite detailed and made sure to be inviting when men came to purchase lingerie.

Within five years Victoria's Secret had five stores, a popular catalogue and a gross income of $6M per year.

In 1982, Raymond sold VS to Leslie H.Wexner. Unfortunately, Raymond's next business venture led him into bankruptcy, and the company's founder died in 1993, after jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Even after Raymond's death, Victoria's Secret never lost its image and began to sell a larger array of merchandise including shoes, perfumes and evening wear with its mail-catalogue that was sent out eight times annually. By the 1990's Victoria's Secret had became the largest American lingerie retailer making over a billion dollars. Today, VS sells beauty products, lingerie, sleepwear, shoes, bathing suits, bras and panties, and over four hundred million catalogs are sent out every year.

Victoria's Secret has also become known for its highly reviewed Fashion Shows. The first Fashion Show was held in 1995. The world press stated that the fashion show was,  " the lingerie event of the century." VS made headline news and broadcast history when it aired a live lingerie fashion show on the Internet at Times Square, drawing in 1.5 million viewers. The Fashion Shows became known for having top runway models such as Tyra Banks (pictured below left ) and Naomi Campbell (pictured below right) and for the famous "wings" which the models sported down the runway. (See a Video of a Fashion Show Below)               
                       Tyra Banks                                        
 Naomi Campbell


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