By whom was Victoria’s secret established?

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By Meagan Drillinger

Victoria’s Secret Empire

Victoria’s Secret is a well-known American lingerie, clothing, and beauty retailer that has become synonymous with glamor and femininity. With over 1,000 stores worldwide and a net worth of $7 billion, it is one of the most successful lingerie brands in the world. Victoria’s Secret is famous for its annual fashion show, which features the brand’s models donning elaborate wings, lingerie, and other fashion accessories. However, the history of Victoria’s Secret is little-known, and many people are unaware of its origins.

The Founder of Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret was established by a man named Roy Raymond in 1977. Raymond was a Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus who had worked in various retail jobs after graduating. Raymond was always interested in lingerie, and he often shopped in department stores for it. However, he found that the experience was often uncomfortable, as he felt scrutinized by the saleswomen in the lingerie section.

Early Life of the Founder

Roy Raymond was born in 1947 in California and grew up in a middle-class family. His father was a businessman, and his mother was a homemaker. Raymond attended Menlo-Atherton High School and later went to San Diego State University to study economics. After graduating, he worked for a few different retail companies before deciding to start his own business.

Roy Raymond’s Inspiration

Raymond was inspired to start Victoria’s Secret after an embarrassing experience he had while shopping for lingerie for his wife. Raymond felt out of place in the department store, and he wanted to create a more comfortable, relaxed environment for men to shop for women’s lingerie. He believed that lingerie could be empowering for women, and he wanted to create a brand that celebrated femininity and beauty.

The First Store

In 1977, Raymond opened the first Victoria’s Secret store in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. The store was designed to be a comfortable, welcoming space for men to shop for lingerie and other intimate apparel. The store featured soft lighting, comfortable chairs, and a wide range of lingerie styles and sizes.

The Name "Victoria’s Secret"

The name "Victoria’s Secret" was chosen by Raymond because he wanted a name that sounded Victorian and evoked a sense of mystery. The "secret" part of the name was meant to suggest that lingerie was a private, intimate matter that women kept hidden from the world.

The Company’s Challenges

Despite its initial success, Victoria’s Secret faced several challenges in its early years. The company struggled to find a consistent source of high-quality, affordable lingerie, and it faced stiff competition from other lingerie brands. Additionally, the company’s marketing efforts were often criticized for being too provocative and objectifying women.

The Expansion of Victoria’s Secret

Despite these challenges, Victoria’s Secret continued to grow throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The company opened new stores across the United States and expanded its product lines to include sleepwear, swimwear, and beauty products. Victoria’s Secret also began its famous fashion show in 1995, which quickly became a cultural phenomenon.

The Acquisition by Les Wexner

In 1982, Victoria’s Secret was acquired by Les Wexner’s company, The Limited. Wexner saw the potential in Victoria’s Secret and helped the company expand rapidly. Under Wexner’s leadership, Victoria’s Secret became one of the most successful lingerie brands in the world.

Victoria’s Secret’s Cultural Impact

Victoria’s Secret’s fashion show and advertising campaigns have been criticized for promoting unrealistic beauty standards and objectifying women. Despite this, the brand has had a significant cultural impact, shaping ideas about femininity, beauty, and physical attractiveness. Victoria’s Secret has also been criticized for its lack of diversity and inclusion, with many people calling for the company to be more representative of different body types and ethnicities.

The End of an Era

In 2019, Victoria’s Secret announced that it would be canceling its annual fashion show and closing 53 stores in North America. The company has faced declining sales in recent years, and many people believe that its marketing tactics are no longer effective. Additionally, Victoria’s Secret has faced criticism for its response to the #MeToo movement and allegations of gender harassment by some of its executives.

Conclusion: The Legacy of Victoria’s Secret

Despite its controversies, Victoria’s Secret has had a significant impact on the fashion and beauty industries. The brand has helped to shape ideas about femininity, beauty, and physical attractiveness, and it has inspired many women to feel more confident and empowered. However, Victoria’s Secret’s legacy is complicated, and its future remains uncertain. As the lingerie industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Victoria’s Secret adapts and changes to stay relevant.

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Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger, an avid travel writer with a passion ignited in 2009. Having explored over 30 countries, Mexico holds a special place in her heart due to its captivating cultural tapestry, delectable cuisine, diverse landscapes, and warm-hearted people. A proud alumnus of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, when she isn’t uncovering the wonders of New York City, Meagan is eagerly planning her next exhilarating escapade.

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