Have you ever wondered how Victoria’s Secret got its name? Or why is it so popular? For a couple of decades, Victoria’s Secret was the biggest lingerie marketer in America. However, it seems that the brand is struggling with competition and controversies now. Let us take a look at what has been and what’s next for Victoria’s Secret.

Victoria’s Secret spring lingerie collection in New York Tuesday, February 6, 1996.

History

Victoria’s Secret started in 1977 when businessman Roy Raymond in one instance felt uneasy going to a store to buy his wife underwear. He thought men could also go to a comfortable place when shopping for women undergarments.

The brand takes its name from England’s Victorian era, showcasing elegance and sophistication. He opened the first store and introduced a catalog after the successful opening of some more stores.

Acquisition

The business is earning $4 million yearly by 1982. But rumors stated that the company was losing more and Lex Wexner bought it for $1 million. By the 1990s, Victoria’s Secret became the largest lingerie marketer. Now, instead of catering to men, the lingerie store directly focused on woman shoppers. And it was successful as the company opened 350 more stores and gained $1 billion in sales.

1990’s

Model Tyra Banks the Victoria’s Secret fashion show Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1999 in New York

In 1995, the first Fashion show happened, and this soon to be annual grand event was organized by Ed Razek. By 1997, the idea of “Angel” started in an advertisement featuring models wearing angel wings promoting its collection. Since then, the word “Angel” is the same as Victoria’s Secret.

Management

Came 2000, Sharen Jester Turney became the CEO of Victoria’s Secret Direct leading the catalog business, and in 2006 she assumed CEO role of the whole brand. The company’s sales grew by 70% to $7.7 billion under her leadership.

But in 2016, Turney resigned, and Wexner became CEO. Wexner removed the swimwear, apparel, and catalogs and focused on the lingerie. Victoria’s Secret has three divisions – Secret Beauty, Secret Lingerie, and Pink, which has a CEO for each. Sales began to dip down from 2015-2018 as the brand cannot cope up with the new lingerie trend. Market shares dropped and the yearly show also became old-fashioned, less grand and appealing as well as the image of the brand.

Controversies

In 2018, Razek made headlines after making statements about plus-size models and transgender people, but later went on to publicly apologize.

Followers celebrated the inclusion of Barbara Palvin as one of the Angels because the company is now being more body inclusive getting more curvier models. The company is also rethinking of discontinuing its yearly fashion show. And soon, it seems Victoria’s Secret will be launching its first transgender model. While these are good news, the brand is again in hot waters as they are associating the company, this time, with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.