Victoria’s Secret highlights some new friends.
The lingerie and beauty brand launched a new platform — called VS&Co-Lab — on its website that showcases the third-party brands and partners the retailer loves, many of which are women-founded businesses.
“We are thrilled to launch this platform where we will showcase, market and create consumer engagement with such exciting, unique and relevant businesses,” said Martin Waters, CEO of Victoria’s Secret & Co., in a statement. “In addition to the growth we are driving through our core business, we see significant growth potential through partnerships with innovative and relevant brands that can help us expand our reach in categories and consumer segments where we have always been underrepresented.”
Patti Cazzato, Head of Emerging Businesses for Victoria’s Secret & Co., added, “As one of the world’s most recognizable businesses among women and with nearly 90% of our store associates globally identifying as women, we have a responsibility to ensure that women can progress. and thrive in all aspects of their lives. VS&Co-Lab is leveling the playing field for unique brands that speak to the modern consumer. Leveraging the strength of Victoria’s Secret & Co. and our passionate customer base, we meet consumers where they are while simultaneously partnering with small businesses to drive economic empowerment for women and people of color.
Currently, 19 brands are featured on the platform. But a representative for Victoria’s Secret & Co. said more will be added over time. For now, the list includes Bfyne, a black swimwear brand founded by women; the swimwear and lifestyle brand Frankies Bikinis, in which Victoria’s Secret holds a minority stake; shapewear brand Leonisa, an/a plus size lingerie brand Mindd Bra.
“In a sea of similarity, it’s crucial that any partnership be with a company that aligns with our values,” said Buki Ade, founder and designer of Bfyne. “VS&Co-Lab’s mission to provide a platform for groundbreaking voices, like Bfyne, is critical to advancing diverse perspectives.”
Helena Kaylin, Founder of Mindd, added, “As women, we are multidimensional. Our past experiences define how we want to feel today and shape our future. Our partnership with VS&Co-Lab has reinforced our mission to drive the lingerie industry forward through our obsession with continuous innovation. We harness state-of-the-art supportive technologies to combine style and comfort for heavy-set consumers.
The company said the platform represents its continued commitment to promoting inclusion and diversity across the marketplace. Seventy-five percent of the featured brands are founded or led by female entrepreneurs.
But the platform is also Victoria’s Secret’s latest transformation effort. The company – which includes the Lingerie, Beauty and Pink brands – underwent a massive transformation to limit revenue losses, which were fueled by changing consumer preferences, the #MeToo movement and backlash over beauty standards inaccessible from Victoria’s Secret.
In 2021, the retailer formed the VS Collective to present a diverse range of models, including big sizedisabled and transgender, such as Emira D’Spain, the first black transgender woman to be used in her commercials, and Sofía Jirau, the first model with Down syndrome to represent the brand. In April, Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Camila Cabello was featured in Victoria’s Secret Beauty’s first bilingual campaign.
The Board of Directors has also been redesigned to make it predominantly female (six out of seven); stores have been updated, and changes have been made to the wider assortment. Victoria’s Secret reintroduced swimwear online in 2019 (and in stores in 2021), and now carries things like maternity bras, shapewear and an extensive activewear collection. In April, Victoria’s Secret launched Happy Nation, a brand of gender-neutral loungewear, loungewear and cosmetics for tweens.
So far, the plan appears to be having at least some success. Turnover revenue increased 4% in the most recent quarter, although the company warned of continued supply chain headwinds, forecasting a decline for the following quarter. Additionally, shares of Victoria’s Secret & Co. are up about 5% year over year.
Victoria’s Secret will release its final earnings report on May 31, after market close.