A story is told of Boy Jones, a man who celebrity-stalked Queen Victoria in 1838. His habits got so bad that he broke into Buckingham Palace several times and stole the royal’s underwear. Over a century later, a lingerie and undergarments line known as Victoria’s Secret was started in Columbus, Ohio. Of course, the two incidents are totally unrelated, but they are worth mentioning as they involve Queen Victoria. Here are some open Victoria’s Secret facts to make your day.
1. A Super Bowl Advert Resulted in Over a Million Visits to the Victoria’s Secret’s Website
As part of its marketing campaign, Victoria’s Secret placed a 30-second advertisement in the 1999 Super Bowl show. It was later reported that the company’s official website received more than one million visits an hour after the commercial aired.
2. Victoria’s Secret Perfumes Can Repel Mosquitos
Researchers once accidentally discovered that specific perfumes from Victoria’s Secret repel mosquitoes more efficiently than most of the repellents available on the market. The scientists were testing the efficiency of mosquito repellents while using a Victoria’s Secret fragrance as a standard when they stumbled on this discovery.
3. It Was Named In Reference to Queen Victoria
Victoria’s Secret was named in reference to Queen Victoria and the larger Victorian era. As for the “Secret,” the founder named the company so because, at the time, undergarments were considered taboo and were often hidden.
4. Victoria’s Secret Listed Its Address as Being in London Even Though It’s Not
To keep up its image as described by its name, Victoria’s Secret listed its address as being in London while, in truth, it is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Its catalog addresses read “no. 10 Margaret Street, London.”
5. Roy Larson Raymond Founded Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret was founded by Roy Larson Raymond, a famous American businessman, in 1977. He started it with an initial capital of $80,000, which he raised by borrowing half from family and the rest from a bank.
6. Roy Larson Raymond Sold Victoria’s Secret for $1 Million
Even though Victoria’s Secret products grossed over $6 million annually by 1982, Raymond decided to sell it to Les Wexner of Limited Stores Inc. for $1 million. Wexner then revamped the brand, focusing on female customers more. Under Raymond’s reign, the brand targeted men who wanted to buy something for their women.
7. Victoria’s Secret’s Founder Committed Suicide after Running Bankrupt
Even though Raymond remained the president of Victoria’s Secret for a while after selling it to Wexner, he was already thinking about his next venture. He ended up investing $850,000 of the amount he got from Victoria’s Secret’s sale in an upscale store for children known as Child’s Destiny. Unfortunately, this project was not as successful as before, so he ran bankrupt. Raymond jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1993, ending his life.
8. Victoria’s Secret Was Started to Enable Men to Buy Lingerie Comfortably
Years before starting Victoria’s Secret, Roy Raymond had had an unpleasant experience when he tried to buy a lingerie for his wife. Upon entering the store, he lamented that he was given ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns and felt the saleswoman treated him like an intruder. Raymond spent about eight years studying the lingerie market before making his move.
9. Models Who Fashioned for Victoria’s Secrets Were Called Angels
The female models used in Victoria’s Secret’s fashion shows were among the most critical parts of the company’s marketing campaigns. Since the idea’s inception in 1995, models, most above 30 years, graced the occasion; they were known as “Angels.” The most notable ones included Helena Christensen and Tyra Banks. In 2021, the use of Angeles was abolished in favor of a new concept called “VS Collective.”
10. A Former Victoria’s Secret “Angel” Doesn’t Have a Belly Button
Model and actress Karolina Kurkova is a former Victoria’s Secret “Angel” with a medical complication that makes her belly button invisible. While working with the brand, she had an artificial navel photoshopped in her pictures.
11. The First Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Cost $120,000
Victoria’s Secret fashion shows were also integral in the brand’s marketing strategy. They were broadcast on primetime American Television to ensure maximum reach. Interestingly, the first edition held in 1995 cost $120,000. By 2011, the budget costs had risen to over $12 million; the runway show was canceled in 2019.
12. Victoria’s Secret Was an Instant Success
The eight years that Raymond took to study the lingerie market proved fruitful, as his venture grossed $500,000 in its first year. This was enough to repay the money he borrowed for capital and expand by opening four new store locations.
13. The First Victoria’s Secret Store Was Opened in 2010
Even though Victoria’s Secret was “killing” it in the United States, it wasn’t until 2010 that it opened its first international store in the Marina Mall in Kuwait. In the same year, the first Canadian store was opened in Edmonton, Alberta. The first Victoria’s Secret stores in the United Kingdom and China were opened in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
15. Victoria’s Secret Catalogs Massively Contributed to the Brand’s Success
Before the emergence of e-commerce, there were catalogs. People would place their orders and wait for them to be mailed to the privacy of their homes. Victoria’s Secret catalogs were essential to its marketing; billions of copies were sent from 1977 to 2016 when they were eventually discontinued. They contained images of models photographed in elegant settings, prompting consumers to view lingerie as tastefully romantic and sensual.
16. It Sells More than Just Lingerie
When Victoria’s Secret started, it focused mainly on lingerie. However, it evolved over time; today, you can find swimwear, make-up, bath products, accessories, and sportswear from the brand. It is also famous for its “Incredible” bra, launched in 2010.
17. Victoria’s Secret Sold the World’s Most Expensive Bra
In 2001, Victoria’s Secret made history when they introduced a line of bras that became the most expensive. Formally known as Heavenly Star Bras, the women’s undergarments went for $12.5 million each. They featured about 1,200 pink sapphires from Sri Lanka and a 90-carat emerald cut diamond centerpiece, worth $10.6 million at the time.
Before the Heavenly Star Bra, the Red Hot Fantasy Bra sold for $15 million. However, the former is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most valuable. Either way, they had one thing in common: they were from Victoria’s Secret.