Business Day at CSU culminated with a success story from a
female in a traditionally male-dominated field on Wednesday.
Grace Nichols, CEO and president of Victoria’s Secret stores,
spoke for the College of Business’s annual Business Day on
Nichols’s presentation shared many of the company’s business
plans and aspects.
“I am here to share with you that behind the glamour that there
is a business structure to support this cultural icon,” said
Nichols, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from
the University of California at Los Angeles.
Nichols, president since 1991, joined the company in 1985.
“Since it was the 25th annual Business Day, we felt it was
important to get a strong business female,” said Jamie Robinson,
Associated Students of CSU business senator.
Victoria’s Secret, which was purchased by Limited Brands in 1982
for $1 million, has since made huge profits for the company, with
920 stores and $3.5 billions worth of sales in 2002, Nichols
She said the key to the success was redefining business goals
and focus and leveraging highly successful advertising
“We’ve redefined ourselves as an American brand,” Nichols
Originally marketed as an “English Store,” Victoria’s Secret
used to sell products like men’s boxers and tea cookies.
Nichols said narrowing the focus to “best in panties” and “best
in bras” helped redefine the store to how it is today.
Focusing the product helped with some of the success, but
Nichols said national advertising, which began in 1993, increased
demand so dramatically that the company was able to charge higher
“Ten years ago the average price of a bra was about $12. Now it
is $35,” Nichols said.
After showing several of the commercials from the past decade to
the full Lory Student Center Main Ballroom, Nichols said the new
ads will feature appearances by Bob Dylan.
With the huge growth into the multi-billion dollar company,
Nichols said many people say the company has peaked, but she
“There’s always an opportunity for more growth,” Nichols
As for her own success, Nichols credits her inability to rely on
other people’s marketing reports.
She said she always visits the stores and makes a point of
talking to the customers.
“I’ve been darn lucky,” Nichols said.
Robinson said she credits much of the success of Business Day to
“This was an exceptional turnout for a keynote speaker,” said
Robinson, a marketing and management senior.
Casee Burgason, an interior design senior, said she thought
Nichols presentation was interesting and especially enjoyed hearing
about the company’s history.
“It’s pretty impressive that she came to Fort Collins,” Burgason