Victoria’s Secret is a leading American lingerie company, was founded on June 12th, 1977 by Roy and Gaye Raymond. They sell lingerie, womenswear, and beauty products. The company has just under 1,600 physical stores worldwide. These stores are all around the world but mostly in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. The United States is the country with the most Victoria’s Secret stores, being home to approximately 1,100 of them (vault.com). The headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
According to an article from Elite Daily- “In the mid-1970s, a man named Roy Raymond walked into a department store to buy his wife some lingerie. The entire situation made him feel extremely uncomfortable. All he could find were hideous floral-print nightgowns. Not to mention, the saleswoman who came over to help treated him like a pervert”. When Raymond founded Victoria’s Secret, the idea was to create a cozy, inviting environment similar to that of a Victorian boudoir. He wanted to create a lingerie environment where men could feel comfortable shopping.
The customer’s experience is very important to Victoria’s Secret. Victoria’s Secret creates the ultimate consumer experience through its products and the ambiance of its physical stores and as e-commerce site. The sales representatives are often very helpful and really engage with the customer to help them find the bra or other undergarments that makes them feel beautiful.
The stores are designed in a way that as soon as a customer walks into Victoria’s Secret the seductive, confident, feminine, modern and sexy personality of the brand is apparent. Raymond also wanted to make a change in the design of the lingerie. Sensual lingerie was not common during this time, and Victoria’s Secret was about to change that. “It was always meant to be a tasteful shop where sexuality didn’t have to be such a secret and underwear could be fun” (EliteDaily.com) The main target markets of Victoria’s Secret include- middle-class women (typically age 18-40) and men shopping for their significant others.
Mannequins have a strong presence in the Victoria’s Secret stores. Since the mannequins are usually barely covered, the way the body appears becomes more important. The customer’s perception of the item is affected by the mannequin’s figure and stance. “Perhaps the biggest attention-getter for the store is its mannequins. In the past, Victoria’s Secret had used only bust forms. In order to bring the store to life, designers worked with Patina-V (City of Industry, Calif.) to develop realistic mannequins with sexy, provocative poses” (vmsd.com) Products are also advertised on models in sensual black and white photos that can be found lining the walls. Similar to the mannequins, the bodies of the models and poses have a significant influence on the customer’s view of products being sold.
Victoria’s Secret wants their customers to feel beautiful. The garments are meant to compliment the body and therefore elicit confidence and body positivity. The products are different from those of other undergarment brands because they don’t just promote the functionality of the undergarments, they promote the style and personality of them as well. For the most part, underwear remained functional, not fun in the 1960s and earlier. In the 1960’s undergarment stores sold plain, basic items. The founder of Victoria’s Secret- Ray Raymond, believes that sexy and elegant underwear should be able to be worn every day, not just for special occasions. Victoria’s Secret changed the undergarment industry.
featured image via Wikimedia Commons