As most people know, Victoria’s Secret is a huge production. And their Fashion Show is known for being the sexiest supermodels’ show in the world. The 20th annual show in 2016, held in Paris, marked as the most expensive fashion show in history, and many media headlined that the show was better than ever. According to Isaac-Goizé, an author of The New York Times, Victoria’s Secret invested 20 million for the 45 minutes runway show featured 51 supermodels in 82 lingerie styles in 2016. Especially, Jasmine Tookes, one of the Victoria’s Secret models, wore the $3 million wing-bra, has 459 carats of diamonds, designed by an Italian jewelry designer, Eddie Brogo. Moreover, live performances by Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and The weekend were the other biggest highlights for the show. Comparing to the last year, the viewers for the show on CBS was 0.01% higher, from 6.6 million to 6.65 million viewers.
The journey of Victoria’s Secret starts in 1977 with businessman Roy Raymond, an initial CEO who gradated MAB from Stanford University. The unique story behind that before he got an idea of Victoria’s Secret, he went to a lingerie store to buy lingerie for his wife. However, he found himself that it was such an uncomfortable feeling in the lingerie store because all lingerie was ugly and poor of design. Also he felt that he was always unwelcome intruder for the lingerie store. This opportunity let him to create a largest lingerie company in the world later, Victoria’s Secret.
The CEO Raymond borrowed $80,000 to open a first Victoria’s Secret store, designed for men who want to buy lingerie for their wives. However, because his concept was unsuccessful, the company had to head for bankruptcy and sell for only $1 million to a new owner, Leslie Wexner, a current CEO of The Limited (now L Brands) in 1982. Unlike Raymond’s concept, L Brands’ concept was all about women. The mission statement of the Victoria’s Secret is the same as the parent company, L Brands,
“Limited Brands is committed to building a family of the world’s best fashion brands offering captivating customer experiences that drive long-term loyalty and deliver sustained growth for our shareholders.”
In 1995, the first fashion show, cost the budget of only $250,000, was held in New York City. Many media headlined after the show that it was “The lingerie event of the century.” (Storey, 2016) The company was remarkably growing since then and marked that the market share became 14% in the entire industry in 1998. In 1999, the company contracted the partnership with IBM and Mark Cuban’s Broadcast to stream the fashion show at the online and hit about 2 million viewers.
In 2006, the company reached 1,000 stores across the United States, which is one third of all purchase were made among the fashion industry. In the same year, one of the most important key excessive for the company, Sharen Turney, became a CEO. Since then the Victoria’s Secret show was continuously growing and the net revenue increased from $4,5 to over $7.2 billion in 2014. In 2016, the net revenue increased to $12.57 billion (6% raised) compared to $11 billion in 2015 (L Brands, 2016).
A current leadership structure
L Brands Inc is located at Columbus, Ohio in the Unites States. The fiscal year is January 31. The numbers of employees are about 93,600. The net revenue is $12.75 billion in 2016 and one-year sales increased 3.46%.
There are 11 of board of directors including the CEO of Leslie Herbert Wexner (78), the vice president Stuart Burgdoerfer, Bruce Soll, and Douglas Williams. Leslie Wexner graduated Ohio State University, measuring with business administration and attended the Moritz College Law. As a CEO, he is a longest serving CEO of a Fortune 500 companies and marked #11 on Top 100 best CEO by Harvard Business Review in 2015 (Zillman, 2015).
In addition, although Sharen Turney was not the current the member of board anymore because she suddenly quitted the company in 2016, she is known as the one of the most important key person who leaded Victoria’s Secret to the largest retailer in the world. Therefore, the legacy of Victoria’s Secret cannot exist without her accomplishment. Sharen Turney is known as one of the remarkable person in the company because she made Victoria’s Secret profit more than 70% to 7.7 billion during her nine years of CEO.
She graduated the University of Oklahoma measuring in business education. She started her career as a buyer for Foley’s, which was renamed Macy’s in 2016. After that, she joined Neiman Marcus and became an executive vice president of merchandising. In 2000, she joined L Brands and became the CEO of Victoria’s Secret Director. In 2006, she became a President and CEO of Victoria’s Secret. In 2013, Bloomberg awarded her as four highest compensated woman exective in the United States. In 2015, she raised the total sales revenue of Victoria’s Secret from $4.5 billion to over $7 billion.
Moreover, she has may awards and recognition. For example, she received the Dr. Catherine White Achievement Award from Heart Share Human Services in New York City in 2005. She also ranked in the Top 10 of the Glassdoor’s ten most popular retail CEOs in 2011. She also was on America’s Favorite Bosses” CEO ranking list in 2014 and she was one of only two female executives to make this title.
As this research shows that Sharen Turney was ranked as a great female leader in the United States because her leadership style was influential and effective to generate a company’s profit. In 2015, she had an interview by Leaders Magazine. In her interview, she mentioned that all her team members believe in the company’s philosophy. Because they all believe in it, they always come together to add value and create a strong partnership. That is the key to build the unshakable brand of Victoria’s Secret. The interviewer asked this question, “What is the secret to the ongoing success of Victoria’s Secret?” Sharen answered that all women want to wear lingerie, not underwear that makes them fee sexy. Then her team all think what is the definition of “Sexy” because different people have a different idea of sexy, and it changes year by year. Therefore, she tries to stop and think, “What is sexy now” to constantly stay relevant. To stay relevant, the company is required newness at anytime. She said that the newness of fashion comes from customer’s point of view. This idea gave her about what is the best bra in the world.
Another question for her was “Is Victoria’s Secret more than just a lingerie brand today?” She responded that the core job of Victoria’s Secret is making bras. Thus anything that related to a bra can be their business as well. For example, they started the sport business because it is related a bra market. Another example is beauty business. Their idea behind was that because fragrance and lingerie are first things that women wear in the morning and last things to take them off. Therefore, they were able to link each other and sell them together. They always think and focus on the things that help them to sell bras more as a core product. Also more importantly, she emphasized that as in a fashion industry, the company marriages of fashion that allows them to make the world’s top bras.
From these her leadership style, her personality can be categorized as a strategic leadership because her most focus is how to sell bras. That is all. She was always forecasting on what is the best bras in the world. If the company and CEO do not have a clear vision, philosophy, and understanding of core value, it would be hard to forecast the future. Because she was very clear about these facts, she was being able to be proactive and creative such a unique products as a number one company in the lingerie industry.
In sum, L Brands Inc became one of the most successful companies in the world because its vision, value, and team members are strongly harmonizing together. Especially after Leslie Wexner became a CEO of the company, the company’s journey rapidly changed. The shows were always successful and getting bigger and bigger every year and revenues are continuously increasing. Also the new CEO Sharen Turney more accelerated the company because she increased the total sales revenue from $4.5 billion to over $7 billion. Although she had to quit the company in 2015 because she wanted to focus on her family, she was clearly the right leader of the company.
Lastly, some experts expect that the revenues of this company may shrink from 2017 because the important CEO Sharen Turney left the company in 2016. If the current CEO could find a same type of strategic leader like Sharen, then the company may be keep the same revenue because as Sharen said, any businesses are required newness created by young people who have fresh and sophisticated ideas.