Discovering Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret. It’s on everyone’s lips. Her products are close to women’s hearts. Clearly, Victoria’s Secret is one of the largest lingerie retailers in the world with sales as high as $5 billion per year. But what is the story behind the store that so many women love? And who is Victoria? And what’s her secret?

Victoria’s Secret: A Brief History

In 1977, Victoria’s Secret was founded by Roy Raymond, a graduate of Stanford’s business school, in San Francisco, California. Raymond was frequently embarrassed about shopping for lingerie and underwear for his wife in a public department store setting. He wanted to make a more approachable environment for men who were like him–shopping for their wives. Raymond made sure that the physical attractiveness of the store was inviting; so, most of the walls were covering with woodwork.┬áRaymond also added to the comfortability factor by hiring receptive, friendly saleswomen.

Roy Raymond, Founder and Former President

A short five years later, Raymond sold Victoria’s Secret to Limited Brands in 1982 and moved on to his new business opportunity. His second venture failed miserably and his company went bankrupt. Because of the devastation of his company and the growing success of Victoria’s Secret, Raymond took his own life in 1993 by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Despite Raymond’s departure, Victoria’s Secret continued his legacy and quickly became one of the most popular lingerie retailers in America and the largest branch of Limited Brands. In 1995, Victoria’s Secret started putting on fashion shows as a way of advertisement, but also as a way to keep the label respected. (Every year there are thousands of FCC complaints.)

Now, Victoria’s Secret hosts an annual fashion show, has over 1,000 stores, and continues to expand everyday.

The Victoria’s Secret Angels

Originally, the Angels started out as a lingerie line, which is still continued today. The supermodels that represent the brand was named after this popular collection of bras. Shockingly, the women that are chosen to be Angels are picked because of their appeal to women, not men. Since the company is run mostly by women, a board of women executives chooses the Angels. This explains the mass appeal of the models, such as Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum. The Angels are known for their stunning goddess-like beauty, but also their sensibility and down-to-earth attitudes. Victoria’s Secret has turned down many celebrity endorsement proposals to maintain the positive image of the women.

Who is Victoria? What’s Her Secret?

The origin of the store’s name remains a mystery today. However, it has been suggested that Victoria is named after the 19th century British queen Victoria because of the Victorian architecture. Unfortunately, her secret is still hidden. But if everyone knew, it wouldn’t be much of a secret.

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Watch Victoria’s Secret 2009-2010 fashion show below.