This is What It’s Really Like Behind the Scenes at Victoria’s Secret

The name Victoria’s Secret (VS) conjures up images of leggy beauties sashaying down the ramp in sultry lingerie, while reminding you that it’s perhaps time to renew your gym subscription or work overtime to be able to afford that amazing bra. But there’s a less glamorous retail side of VS, where sales and merchandising teams have the task of ensuring that the desirability of the brand converts into sales. Here’s what you need to know about working at a VS store.

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The hours can suck

As with any store, working hours at VS can be long and unsociable. Sometimes, “overnight floor sets” are needed. This means some nocturnal arranging and preparing of merchandise on the shop floor in time for the store opening the next morning. These shifts can be as long as 12 hours.

And things can get a bit crazy at an overnight

As VS employees are in store until the early hours, this is usually the time to have an on-the-floor picnic or to try out their selfie skills. This picture, for instance, was captioned, “How VS Girls do brand guides!” and was taken on a 2am shift.

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Returns can get a bit gross

Dealing with returns can be on the nasty side. Some of the items that are returned to VS stores highlight how inconsiderate customers (i.e. us) can be. Staff have plenty of horror stories to tell about items being returned with all manner of stains coating their insides – everything from deodorant and fake tan stains to menstrual blood and dirt.

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The sales can take their toll on employees

Victoria Secret’s famous semi-annual sale lasts three to four weeks at a time. With up to 70 percent off of many items, it is an opportunity for women to shop til they drop. But the frenzied pace of the sale can take a toll on employees’ patience and sanity. Indeed, the back room is a favorite place for workers to have a good cry or vent their frustrations before returning to the crowd of bargain-hunting customers.

They all hate the panty bar

And the panty bar during the semi-annual sale is the worst. One employee told Cosmopolitan.com in 2015 that “people just come in and throw bras everywhere.” She said, “We’re there until 1 or 2 in the morning because every bra has to be in the right size bin, and we have to color-coordinate them all.”

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Victorias Secret Secrets_mannequins
Image: via imgur

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The mannequin room is the stuff of nightmares

Through the back, the mannequin room can be a creepy place. The silent throng of headless, limbless, naked bodies could easily become distinctly unsettling for any employee who has to spend a lot of time there, especially at night.

There are some uplifting perks of the job

Many sales specialists tend to get a free bra and panties at least every couple of months. Other employees can claim theirs at a discounted price, which all adds up to a pretty sexy and glamorous wardrobe.

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Guys can be the best customers…

Understandably, most guys have almost no idea about how to shop for a bra. So sometimes, they will arrive at the shop with a catalog in which their partner has helpfully marked certain items and sizes for them and simply pay for it all.

…or the worst customers

Other guys aren’t there to do shopping, unfortunately. Some will come in to the store just for a bit of cheap – also known as “totally lame” – fun. This means female employees will sometimes have to endure some gross comments.

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Bra fittings don’t always go as planned

Some women are almost a little too keen, dropping their shirts on the shop floor or whipping off their underwear before employees can tell them that they can actually be sized with their bra on. And those who bring their boyfriends along with them tend to insist on not being measured around them, for reasons that can be easily fathomed.

A lot of training is needed to size customers correctly

Employees are specially trained to fit customers for bras, and always insist on a measurement before a woman purchases a garment. Though this experience and training ensures that employees are usually very good at guessing bra sizes by sight, they still need to ask customers several questions to help them choose the perfect product.

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Women of all ages buy lingerie

One VS employee told Cosmopolitan.com she has “sized an older lady topless” as well as once helping an octogenarian buy “$200 worth of lingerie.” Apparently, the lady said, “Honey, I may be old, but I ain’t dead yet!”

Sometimes you have to monitor the dressing room

It is not uncommon for husbands/partners/boyfriends to slink into dressing rooms with their spouse/girlfriends for a bit of hanky-panky. As you can imagine, the prospect of cleaning up someone else’s “nasties” is not a nice one for employees.

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Card-selling performance is tracked

There is something called the “Angels of Excellence” list whereby upper management can rank their best-selling employees. Plus, there is some pressure on employees to continually encourage customers to use their Victoria’s Secret Angels credit card for payment, which is just as annoying for them as it is for you.

Victorias Secret Secrets_black uniforms
Image: via BuzzFeed

Staff uniform can be any color as long as it’s black

The dress code at Victoria’s Secret is simply “all black.” As long as it doesn’t look unprofessional, staff can choose to wear skirts, shorts or pants. Moderate make-up and neat hairstyles are other requirements.

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It can get tiring

Alecia Li Morgan, an erstwhile store manager, said, “If you work [at Victoria’s Secret] full time, at the end of your 40-hour week you are very tired and just want a break.” This might have something to do with the enormous amount of time putting things back in order while simultaneously catering to the continuous inflow of customers.

There are some dark days…

As in many other retail jobs, some customers can be challenging and have the potential to ruin your day. But as one employee has explained, as Victoria’s Secret is “a high-class place to shop, you have to deliver a high-class experience.”

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…but the incentives make up for them

Victoria’s Secret has some awesome employee incentive programs and bonuses linked to performance. Alecia Li Morgan has said they included a gratis trip to see a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show taping and mini-vacations to Florida and New York.

…as do some nice and kind customers.

Given the intimate nature of the job, it isn’t difficult for VS employees to establish familiarity with their customers. One worker has reported being on hugging terms with some clients, while another has had a Starbucks coffee bought for her.

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