Victoria’s Secret is a company that shows up all over social media around Valentine’s day and around the time of their annual fashion show. But very few know the story behind it and amazing details from their history. Here is a quick list:
1. Victoria’s Secret was started in San Francisco by a husband and wife team Roy and Gaye Raymond. The idea came from Roy who said that he didn’t feel so good buying lingerie for his wife. He had a feeling that the salespeople are looking at him as if he was kinky. He stated in an interview “…I always had the feeling the department-store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder.”
2. Roy then studied the lingerie market for eight years. Finally in 1977
he borrowed $40,000 from him parents and $40,000 from the bank and started the company.
3. Victoria’s Secret was named after queen Victoria of England. The idea was to have a name which suggests respectability over the secret underneath. Even the first store was made to look like the typical English boudoir. Or at least how Americans imagined it. The company made $500,000 in the first year of business.
4. Their first store was in Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. That’s right. The heart of the Silicon Valley that today attracts nerdy computer millionaires was once the birthplace of Victoria’s Secret. What to say. It looks like history likes irony.
5. Raymond kept pushing his idea of selling to male customers and the idea was not so profitable. After some growth the company was in danger of bankruptcy.
6. To save the situation, Raymond sold the company in 1982 for only $1 million. The buyer was Leslie Wexner, a sportswear mogul.
7. Wexner changed the concept and made both the stores and the lingerie more appealing to women. Instead of dark woods and old style sofas he introduced more bright colors, softer lighting and floral prints.
8. This new direction turned out to be a roaring success. By 1995 Victoria’ Secret was worth $1.9 billion.
9. The first Victoria’s Secret fashion show was held in 1995, More than a decade after Wexner took over the company. Today this show is considered to be one of the main world fashion events of the year with almost 10 million viewers world wide.
10. Today Victoria’s Secret has over 1,000 stores and over $6 billion in yearly sales. Not at all bad for a company that was once heading for bankruptcy and sold for $1 million.