Born: c. 1946
Location of death: San Francisco, CA
Cause of death: Suicide
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Victoria's Secret
In 1977, Roy Raymond opened a small lingerie shop called Victoria's Secret in Stanford Shopping Center. He said later that his inspiration for the shop came from an uncomfortable visit to a department store to buy a negligee for his wife. Like most men, he knew nothing about ladies' undergarments, and the store's sales staff, uncertain about a man in the women's wear department, were wary about answering Raymond's awkward questions. An MBA graduate from Stanford, Raymond thought that there would be a market for a shop where customers wanting something sexy, skimpy, or silky need not feel embarrassed. He funded the business by borrowing $80,000, half from relatives and half from a bank, and within five years Victoria's Secret had five stores, a popular catalogue, and a gross income of $6M per year.
Raymond sold the business to Leslie H. Wexner in 1982, and the chain now has more than 1,000 stores. Raymond later opened a children's clothing shop which went bankrupt in less than two years, leaving him near destitute. Despondent over the failure of both the business and his marriage, he walked halfway across San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and jumped to his death on 26 August 1993. His body was pulled out of the bay a week later.
University: MBA, Stanford University
Victoria's Secret Founder & President (1977-82)
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