Business

Who Made Victoria’s Secret? Why The Founder Killed Himself?

Who made Victoria’s Secret, and what made him find an exquisite brand? Discover how this visionary turned a bold idea into a global lingerie empire. 

Looking at luxury brands, most of us wonder how they achieved such success and who was the visionary behind it. Similarly, you must have the curiosity to know, “Who made Victoria’s Secret?” This question leads us to a captivating story. Behind every famous brand, there’s an interesting tale, and so is Victoria’s Secret. Victoria’s Secret, the well-known lingerie company, didn’t just appear magically. It has a unique beginning and is woven into the world of fashion.

In the following story, we’ll discover the secrets behind Victoria’s Secret. We’ll learn about the people who played important roles in making this famous brand. Their story shows us how creativity and determination can shape a brand and fashion itself. So, let’s explore the mystery of “Who created Victoria’s Secret?”

Victoria’s Secret – When did Victoria Secret open, and what has the journey been till now?

It was started by Roy Raymond and his wife, Gaye Raymond. They opened their very first store in California. But why did Roy create this brand? It all started because he had an embarrassing experience while trying to buy underwear for his wife.

Back then, buying underwear was challenging. Roy felt awkward shopping for his wife in regular stores.

Roy spent eight whole years studying the underwear market. He wanted to create a different kind of underwear store where people would feel comfortable, whether they were shopping for themselves or their partners.

The birth of Victoria’s Secret

The very first Victoria’s Secret store opened in 1977 in San Francisco. The next year, they did something new and exciting – they made a special catalog. This catalog wasn’t like any other; it was more like a fashion magazine. It had beautiful pictures, interesting stories, and articles that made people fall in love with underwear. This catalog made shopping for underwear feel like an exciting adventure.

Transformation under Leslie Wexner

But here’s where the story takes a turn. In 1982, Roy Raymond decided to sell his company to a big company called The Limited, Inc. This was a big deal because it meant Victoria’s Secret would get even bigger. The Limited was led by a smart businessman named Leslie Wexner. He saw the potential in Victoria’s Secret and had the vision to turn it into a giant in the world of fashion.

Under Leslie Wexner’s leadership, Victoria’s Secret underwent a big change. It became more than just a store for underwear; it turned into a brand that sold perfume, clothes, and even sports gear. The stores became fancy and elegant, like stepping into a different world.

The 1990s: Innovation and success

In 1983, Leslie Wexner changed how Victoria’s Secret sold underwear. He focused on making underwear that women would like, with new colors, patterns, and styles. It was all about making women feel confident and beautiful. The catalog even listed a fake address from London to make it feel luxurious.

In the 1990s, Victoria’s Secret introduced something called the ‘Miracle Bra,’ and it became very popular, selling two million in the first year. They faced competition from other brands but responded with a TV campaign.

Then, in 1995, something magical happened – the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It was like a grand party with supermodels walking down the runway in beautiful underwear and angel wings. 

Expansion and fame

As the years passed, Victoria’s Secret kept getting bigger. They opened stores in different countries like Canada and the UK. The brand was famous for its beautiful models known as ‘Angels.’ These Angels were so well-liked that they were picked for the “100 Most Beautiful People in the World” list by People magazine.

But recently, Victoria’s Secret had some problems. People didn’t like that they only made underwear for certain body types. They got criticized for not being inclusive, which means they didn’t make everyone feel welcome. This made their sales go down, and they had to close some stores.

A new era and recent changes

In 2021, there was a big change. Victoria’s Secret became an independent business, no longer part of The Limited. They brought in new spokeswomen like Megan Rapinoe and Priyanka Chopra Jonas to represent the brand. With these changes, Victoria’s Secret started selling more again.

And that brings us to today. Victoria’s Secret continues to change and grow, with new partnerships and a focus on making everyone feel beautiful and confident. It’s a brand that has come a long way from its small beginnings in California, and it’s still writing its story.

Roy Raymond: The visionary behind the brand and his life events

Roy Raymond, the man who started Victoria’s Secret, was just a regular guy. He wasn’t a famous fashion designer or super-rich. He went to college in Massachusetts and later to business school in California and studied money stuff, not underwear.

Roy got the idea for Victoria’s Secret because of something that happened to him. One day, he needed to buy some fancy underwear for his wife. But he felt really awkward shopping in a regular store. He thought there should be a store where men like him could buy underwear without feeling weird. So, he decided to make a new kind of underwear store.

Roy Raymond sold Victoria’s Secret to Leslie Wexner approximately five years after he founded the company. During those five years, Raymond successfully established the brand and its unique concept of offering women a comfortable and inviting lingerie shopping experience.

But, he sold his business, Victoria’s Secret, to Leslie Wexner for a combination of reasons:

Financial Strain: Running and expanding a retail business, especially in the competitive fashion industry, can be financially demanding. Roy Raymond faced financial challenges in scaling up Victoria’s Secret to the level he envisioned.

Limited Resources: Expanding the brand required significant financial resources, and Roy Raymond may have realized that he did not have the capital or infrastructure to take Victoria’s Secret to the next level.

Expertise: Leslie Wexner, on the other hand, had a successful track record in the fashion and retail industry. He had the expertise and resources to grow the brand, which Roy Raymond might have felt he lacked.

Vision: Wexner shared a vision of expanding Victoria’s Secret into a global, iconic brand. Roy Raymond may have seen in Wexner the person who could realize this vision.

Opportunity: Selling the business provided Roy Raymond with a financial opportunity, allowing him to potentially address personal financial challenges or explore other business ventures.

Ultimately, while Roy Raymond founded Victoria’s Secret and recognized the need for a different lingerie shopping experience, he made the decision to sell the business to Leslie Wexner, who had the means and expertise to take the brand to new heights.

After Roy Raymond sold Victoria’s Secret to Wexner, he continued to work there as the president for about one year. Later, he decided to start a new business called My Child’s Destiny, which sold high-quality children’s clothes through stores and catalogs. However, things didn’t go well for this new business, and it had to ask for legal help (Chapter 11 bankruptcy) just two years later, in 1986. Around this time, Roy and his wife got divorced.

Tragically, in 1993, Roy Raymond passed away, and his death was reported as a suicide. His legacy endures as the founder of a brand that revolutionized the lingerie industry and forever altered the fashion and retail landscape. 

Roy Raymond was really smart because he realized that people shouldn’t feel embarrassed when buying underwear. But, his story is also a sad example of how someone can have a great idea but face difficulties along the way.

On the other hand, Wexner, who bought Victoria’s Secret from Roy Raymond, had a different story. He had a big vision and knew how to make it happen. He imagined a world where there was no need to be shy about buying underwear, and he found a way to turn that idea into reality.

The initial challenges and successes 

1. Early struggles in the competitive lingerie market

When Victoria’s Secret first made its debut in the late 1970s, the world of lingerie was already bustling with established brands. Imagine a race where others had already taken the lead, and you’re just starting to run. This is what Victoria’s Secret faced.

Back then, buying lingerie was quite different from what it is today. Many people believed that lingerie was a private matter, something you didn’t shop for in a regular store. So, getting people to walk into a store and buy lingerie was a bit like convincing them to do something unusual.

2. Strategies for overcoming obstacles

To conquer these challenges, Victoria’s Secret needed to be different. They couldn’t just be another lingerie store. So, they did something special. They transformed their stores into a place where shopping for lingerie was as comfortable as buying any other clothing. The stores had soft lights, beautiful decorations, and even classical music playing in the background. It was designed to make everyone, especially men who were buying for their partners, feel at ease.

They also made sure to offer a wide range of sizes and styles. Lingerie isn’t one-size-fits-all, and Victoria’s Secret understood that. They made sure that whether you were petite or curvy, there was something for you. This made more people interested in their lingerie.

Introduction of the Victoria’s Secret catalog

1. Evolution of the catalog as a marketing tool

In the early 1980s, Victoria’s Secret came up with something that would change how people saw lingerie shopping – the catalog. Think of it like a mini-magazine showing pictures of things you can buy. But this catalog was not just about showing underwear pictures; it was a whole experience.

This catalog wasn’t just a list of products. It was more like a glamorous magazine with stunning pictures, interesting stories, and articles that excited people about lingerie. It made shopping for underwear feel like a luxurious adventure.

2. Its role in expanding the brand’s reach

The catalog played a massive role in turning Victoria’s Secret into a household name. They started sending these catalogs to people’s homes throughout the United States. This meant that even if you didn’t live near a Victoria’s Secret store, you could still see what they offered and buy their products.

The catalog made Victoria’s Secret accessible to people far and wide. It wasn’t just about shopping; it was about connecting with customers. People eagerly awaited the new catalog, which became a talking point in many households.

So, Victoria’s Secret didn’t just make great lingerie; they also changed the way people thought about buying it. They turned challenges into opportunities and used the catalog to make their brand known to everyone. This was just the beginning of their remarkable journey.

Victoria’s Secret advertising campaigns and their impact on popular culture

Victoria’s Secret is famous for its ads. These ads didn’t just sell underwear; they sold a feeling of confidence and allure. Let’s talk about some of their most memorable ads and how they influenced our culture.

One famous ad campaign is the “Angels.” These ads introduced us to the brand’s most famous models, called Angels. They had angel wings and looked incredible on billboards and TV. This campaign set very high standards for how underwear is advertised and changed what people thought was beautiful. It made Victoria’s Secret famous all over.

Another important campaign is “Body by Victoria.” It promoted different bras and panties and showed models of all shapes and sizes. This campaign said that beauty comes in many forms. It challenged the usual ideas of beauty in fashion and made other brands think about being more inclusive.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Its evolution and iconic moments

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is a big deal every year. But how did it start, and what are some of the coolest moments?

The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show happened in 1995 in New York City. It wasn’t as fancy as the shows today, but it was the beginning. Over time, it got bigger and had famous musicians performing.

One of the best moments in the show’s history was when they introduced the “Fantasy Bra.” It was a super fancy bra covered in jewels. Models who wore it became super famous.

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show also made models like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks really famous. They became big names in fashion.

Recently, the show changed to include models from different backgrounds and body types. This is because the world is changing, and the show wants to be more inclusive.

So, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show isn’t just about fashion. It’s a big show that changed fashion and still entertains millions of people worldwide.

Criticisms and controversies surrounding Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret, a famous lingerie and fashion brand, has faced several criticisms and controversies over the years. These issues have raised concerns among people and led to discussions about the brand’s impact on society. Here are some of the key criticisms and controversies:

  1. Limited representation of body types
  2. Impact on body image
  3. Lack of racial and ethnic diversity
  4. #MeToo movement and workplace culture
  5. Transgender and inclusivity concerns
  6. Sustainability and environmental impact

1. Limited representation of body types: 

People noticed that Victoria’s Secret mostly shows models who are very tall and skinny. This makes others who don’t look like that feel left out or not good enough.

2. Impact on body image: 

Some folks think that Victoria’s Secret’s fancy fashion shows and ads make us think we have to look a certain way to be pretty. But we’re all different, and that’s what makes us special.

3. Lack of racial and ethnic diversity: 

 People also noticed that Victoria’s Secret doesn’t show models from different racial backgrounds often enough. This makes it seem like only some people are beautiful.

4. #MeToo movement and workplace culture: 

There were some problems at Victoria’s Secret’s workplace. Some leaders were accused of behaving badly, especially during the #MeToo movement, which was about people being treated badly at work.

5. Transgender and inclusivity concerns: 

Victoria’s Secret got into trouble when a former leader said they wouldn’t include transgender or plus-size models in their shows. This made people think about how everyone should be included, no matter their size or who they are.

6. Sustainability and environmental impact: 

Recently, people started worrying about how the fashion industry harms our planet. Some say Victoria’s Secret, like many other brands, needs to do more to be eco-friendly.

Remember, companies can learn from these things. Victoria’s Secret has started doing more to show different types of people and promote feeling good about our bodies. Brands can change and do better when they listen to what people say.

The brand’s strategies to overcome controversies

When controversies and criticisms arose around Victoria’s Secret, the brand addressed these concerns and made positive changes. Here’s a detailed look at how Victoria’s Secret responded to these issues:

  1. Promoting inclusivity
  2. Body positivity
  3. Empowerment
  4. Collaborating with influential spokeswomen
  5. Changing marketing and branding strategies
  6. Environmental responsibility

1. Promoting inclusivity: 

The brand recognized the need to promote inclusivity and diversity. In response to criticisms about limited body representation, the brand started featuring models of various shapes, sizes, and backgrounds in its marketing campaigns and fashion shows. This change aimed to show that beauty comes in all forms and everyone should feel represented.

2. Body positivity: 

Victoria’s Secret began emphasizing body positivity in its messaging. Instead of focusing solely on one body type, the brand celebrated individuality and self-confidence. This shift encouraged people to embrace their unique beauty and feel good about themselves, no matter their size or shape.

3. Empowerment: 

The brand adopted a message of empowerment. They wanted to inspire people to feel strong, confident, and capable. It aimed beyond just selling lingerie and fashion; they wanted to make people feel good about themselves, both inside and out.

4. Collaborating with influential spokeswomen: 

Victoria’s Secret collaborated with influential spokeswomen who stood for these values to reinforce their commitment to inclusivity and positive body image. These spokeswomen helped convey the brand’s message of empowerment and diversity to a broader audience.

5. Changing marketing and branding strategies: 

Victoria’s Secret changed its marketing and branding strategies. They moved away from traditional glamour-focused imagery and emphasized more relatable and diverse content. This change aimed to connect with a broader audience and align with evolving societal expectations.

6. Environmental responsibility: 

As concerns about environmental sustainability grew, Victoria’s Secret also started exploring ways to reduce its environmental impact. While these efforts were still in progress, the brand acknowledged the importance of addressing environmental concerns.

Conclusion

The individuals who paved the path to Victoria’s Secret’s success remind us that visionary minds and daring spirits are behind every achievement. Their efforts have not only revolutionized the intimate apparel industry but have also showcased the evolving trends and aspirations of society. The legacy they’ve crafted inspires aspiring entrepreneurs and fashion enthusiasts alike, highlighting the importance of originality and dedication.

So, as we contemplate the question of “Who made Victoria’s Secret,” we uncover a remarkable tale and gain a deeper appreciation for the intricate tapestry of creativity, business acumen, and dreams that shape the brands we admire. The story of Victoria’s Secret reminds us that even the most iconic journeys begin with a single idea and the determination to make it a reality.