Mar 032004
 
Authors: Carmen Filosa

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

Wednesday.

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

said.

She said the key to the success was redefining business goals

and focus and leveraging highly successful advertising

campaigns.

“We’ve redefined ourselves as an American brand,” Nichols

said.

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

prices.

“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

disagrees.

“There’s always an opportunity for more growth,” Nichols

said.

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

Nichols’s presentation.

“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

said.

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