Who Owns Victoria’s Secret – Think of Lingeries and ‘Vitoria’s Secret’ is the first that comes to mind. The brand that turned around the world’s perspective towards lingeries. The brand value is worth 1.1 Billion Dollars. This American company is also widely famous for its worldwide marketing and supermodels. Well, the roller coaster story of the brand lately has been catching eyes for its controversies. But the history of its ownership and growth has also always been quite interesting. This article showcases the growth and timeline of the owners and this company at a glance.
Roy Larson Raymond(1977-1982) | Who Owns Victoria’s Secret
The founder of Victoria’s Secret was born on April 15, 1947, in Connecticut. Graduated from Tufts University in 1969. And completed his Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1971. Raymond started his career at the age of 13 with a wedding invitation business. Post-MBA, he worked for companies like Guild Wineries, Vicks, and Richardson-Merrell as a marketing manager. Roy founded Victoria’s Secret with his wife Gaye Raymond on June 12, 1977, in Delaware. The first store was opened in Palo Alto, California.
What Was The Idea Behind Lingerie Business?
In those days, every man used to feel embarrassed in buying lingerie for their wives or girlfriends. To make this more mainstream and comfortable among the mass, he started this business. He initially established the business with a 40,000 dollars loan from a bank and a 40,000 dollars loan from his family. The store and design were much based upon the Victorian Era theme naming it after Queen Victoria. The company earned 500,000 Dollars in business in the first year itself and expanded with 3 more stores.
Transferring the Ownership
In 1982 he sold the company to Leslie Wexner. After 5 years of business, the company was sold for 1 Million dollars to Wexner. However, Mr. Raymond stayed as the President for quite some time until establishing his new business ventures.
Les Herbert Wexner (1982-Present)
Les herbert Wexner was the person behind the expansion of this company worldwide. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, on 8th September 1937. He graduated from Ohio State University with a major in Business Administration. Later, he also served in Air National Guard and attended Mortiz College of Law.
How Wexner started his Business Career?
Wexner used to look after his father’s clothing store. There he realized and then suggested that the business strategies are needed to be changed to improve sales. His father refused to employ his strategies which led him to start his own store. He started ‘The Limited,’ which only focused on new designs of women’s clothing by borrowing 5000 Dollars from his Aunt. The idea turned out to be a tremendous revenue-generating machine. His father, after a year, joined him to support the growth of his business. In the upcoming year, he expanded the company and listed the company as LTD on New York Stock Exchange in 1969.
How Wexner expanded Victoria’s Secret?
In 1982 after taking ownership of the company, he introduced the products with European thematic strategies to make them look more authentic. The touch of glamour, sensual styling with colors, and vibrant packaging were part of the strategies. He even listed the company’s address at a fake London Address, whereas the real headquarters was in Columbus, Ohio.
It expanded up to 100 stores by 1986 from 5 stores in 1982. The New York Times described Wexner as the “Highly Visible Leader.” The sales campaign used high fashion photography for the promotion and added more products like swimwear and shoes into their stores.
How ‘Vicotria’s Secret Fashion Show’ created a brand image?
After the Miracle Bra, which was introduced in 1993, made huge profits but faced serious competition with WonderBra. In 1994 the company decided to launch a TV Campaign followed by the first ‘Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’ in 1994 in New York. With this, the company gained a huge market share of intimate apparel. By changing the company’s CEO, the strategies slightly changed over the years, but the brand image remained the same for almost 25 years.
What are the major Victoria’s Secret Products?
Getting its brand value mainly from lingerie, the company has also invested in its secondary product lines with time which are:
- Victoria’s Sports: This is an activewear clothing range that mainly includes products like track pants, sports bra, etc.
- Swimwear: It was first launched in 2002 and worked until its closure in 2016. Later, it was relaunched in 2018.
- Incredible Bra: It was launched in 2010 as a separate product line.
- Bralettes: These were Bras without underwire, which was suitable for wearing as visible launched in 2017.
- Fragrance Division: The products like perfumes are sold under this category.
- Makeup products and accessories: beauty products and accessories are sold under this category.
- Bath and Body: This has managed to create a separate brand name for itself over the years. The revenue generated for L Brands which the parent company, has a huge contribution from Bath and Body Products.
- Pink: Started as an experiment, in 2003 it became a bigger product range like Victoria’s Secret itself. This product Line focused more on younger generation customers. Creating loyal customers has successfully sustained a good market share with these products.
What are the Victoria’s Secret Subsidiaries?
Though Victoria’s Secret itself is a first-tier subsidiary of L Brands, it has further subsidiaries running a successful range of products. Following are the subsidiaries of Victoria’s Secret:
- Bath & Body Works, Inc.
- BeautyAvenues Inc.
- Brands Store Operations Inc.
- Henri Bendel
- Intimate Brands Inc.
- La Senza
- Logistics Services, Inc.
- Mast Industries N.V.
- Victoria’s Secret Beauty
- Victoria’s Secret Store LLC
- Victoria’s Secret Stores Brand Management Inc.
Who are the Victoria’s Secret Angels?
The angles position started in 1996 with Karen Muddler. These are models that are different from the runaway models. They owe special obligations towards the brand under their special contracts. They represent the brand almost in every runway show, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, magazine covers, and other campaigns. They usually have to compromise the other opportunities because of their commitments towards the brand. Despite their exclusive involvement in Victoria’s Secret campaigns throughout the year, they are among the highest-paid models in the world.
Currently, these are the 16 Victoria’s Secret Angles serving as the face for the brand.
- Alexina Graham: She is the first Red-headed model and was specially added to be the spokesmodel for the brand in 2019.
- Barbara Palvin: The Hungarian model that has been announced as the Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2019.
- Behati Prinsloo: She has been serving from 2009 as an angel to date.
- Candice Swanepoel: The 32 years old joined the brand in 2010 as an angel.
- Elsa Hosk: Serving since 2015.
- Grace Elizabeth: She had recently joined in 2019.
- Jasmine Tookes: She started her career with the brand in 2015.
- Josephine Skriver: Joined the brand in 2016.
- Lais Ribero: the 29 years old has been serving since 2015.
- Leomie Anderson: The 28 years old joined in 2019.
- Lily Abridge: She is also serving the brand for more than 10 years.
- Martha Hunt: She joined the brand in 2015.
- Romee Strijid: The 25 years old has been with the brand since 2015.
- Sara Sampaio: Joined the brand in 2015.
- Stella Maxwell: Joined the brand in 2015.
- Taylor Hill: The 27-year-old joined in 2019.
How the Victoria’s Secret Angles have influenced the marketing strategy?
During the 1970s, the mail order catalog strategy was used by the company. That included pictures of models posing for the product. During the 1980s, the catalogs of female models being accompanied by male models were also a trend. However, this trend did not last for more than a decade. FCB, one of the largest global advertising agencies, was vested with marketing responsibility for the product.
From the 1990s, the company gave more emphasis towards recruiting the highest-paid models and doing fashion shows. Post-1995, the Victoria’s Secret Show was the masterstroke for the company and has been the major reason for brands’ success.
The first-ever online streaming of the show in 1999 attracted more than 500,000 potential customers. 2000 webcast has attracted more than 2 million viewers. The viewership also exists among those who are not the customers of the product itself. The 2012 budget for the fashion show was around 12 million dollars.
How the recent transphobia allegations and racism controversies has affected the business?
While giving an interview to the Vogue magazine, the Victoria’s Secret Executive Producer Ed Razek in 2019 said that they don’t consider transgender models to be part of such an elite campaign. He said they don’t create appeal for ‘the fantasy’ that the brand has been serving. He also commented on the plus-size model, saying that they’ve considered plus-size models, but no TV campaigns have shown interest.
These statements sparked controversies, and social media campaigns started slamming him for his statements. Later he apologized for giving such a statement, but the damage was already done. They also cast the Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio as the first transgender model for the brand. After a month, Ed Razek also stepped down from the position.
The company has been facing too many racism and discrimination-related complaints against the management of the company. Former employees also came out and lodged complaints against the company. The company paid settlement amounts of around 12 Million dollars in California in 2017 and 179,300 Dollars to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Moreover, the company has also been criticized for valuing women for their bodies. And other social media campaigns against Victoria’s Secret have played a major role in the decline of its market value.