Victoria’s Secret is doubling down on its efforts to promote inclusivity by playing virtual host to unique brands from diverse founders. The company is using is new VS&Co-Lab as curated digital platform showcasing small and medium-sized intimates, swim and lifestyle brands. The microsite is featured on VictoriasSecret.com.
“In addition to the growth we are driving through our core business, we see important growth potential through partnerships with innovative, relevant brands that can help us extend our reach into category and consumer segments where we have historically been underrepresented,” CEO Martin Waters said.
VS&Co-Lab follows the launch of similar marketplace initiatives from Macy’s, Walmart and Target, which allow third-party vendors to sell on site. The strategy allows retailers to broaden their reach to new consumer groups, capturing sales on products beyond their core assortment. The VS&Co-Lab represents a significant step in the company’s “evolution” to build strategic business partnerships to complement its own brand, Victoria’s Secret said.
The platform will launch with 19 brands—75 percent of which are founded, owned or led by women. For Love & Lemons and Frankies Bikinis, in which Victoria’s Secret owns a minority stake, are among the plaform’s inaugural merchants. Victoria’s Secret said it also intends to make similar investments in other diverse brands that offer access to different market segments.
Another introductory VS&Co-Lab seller is BFyne, a luxury swimwear and lifestyle brand that Nigerian-American designer Buki Ade created with bright colors, artistic silhouettes and meticulous detailing. “In a sea of sameness, it is crucial for any partnership to be with a business that aligns with our values,” Ade said. “VS&Co-Lab’s mission to provide a platform for breakthrough voices, like BFyne, is vital to push forward diverse perspectives.”
Helena Kaylin’s intimates brand, MINDD, will also be among the first available to VS&Co-Lab shoppers after the startup starting working with Victoria’s Secret late last year. The brand’s wire-free bras leverage a patent-pending knit design to support women wearing D+ and larger cup sizes. “Our partnership with VS&Co-Lab has strengthened our mission to drive the intimates industry forward through our obsession with continuous innovation,” Kaylin said. “We harness cutting edge support technologies in order to blend style and comfort for the fuller figure consumer.”
Victoria’s Secret has a “responsibility to ensure women can advance and thrive in every aspect of their lives,” Patti Cazzato, the company’s head of emerging business, said. “VS&Co-Lab evens the playing field for unique brands that speak to the modern consumer.”
The company aims to leverage its customer base to help small businesses while offering shoppers a larger production selection. Cazzato believes VS&Co-Lab has the potential to “drive economic empowerment for women and people of color.”
Earlier this spring, Victoria’s Secret Pink launched a campaign with its first-ever male brand ambassador, Darren Barnet. Featuring casual apparel like hoodies, T-shirts, sweatpants and more, the inclusive collection will drop additional product year round—some curated by the actor himself. The brand also tapped plus-size influencer Remi Bader to expand its size range in all swimwear up to XXL earlier this year.