Victoria’s Secret Taps Into Tween Market With Launch of Happy Nation Brand

Victoria’s Secret & Co.’s latest offerings are for tweens.

The lingerie and beauty retailer — parent company to Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Pink — launched its newest brand, Happy Nation, an innerwear and cosmetics label for tweens, on Tuesday at happynation.com.

“We heard from tweens and their parents that there really isn’t a genuine brand for tweens out there that they can call their own,” Claudine Rankin, general manager at Happy Nation, told WWD. “So we’re stepping up to create a brand that celebrates this demographic and leads a helping hand in their personal evolution. Our guiding principles are to create a judgment-free community for tweens that is accepting, inclusive, supportive and genuine. So we will be speaking about things that are relevant to that age group.”

The “size-inclusive and gender-free” assortment, which ranges in price from $5 to roughly $40 each piece, includes loungewear, swimwear, bras, underwear and beauty products for ages eight to 13. There’s also tie-dye prints, pastels, mute hues and bright colors in sizes small through XL-plus.

“As a mom of tweens, we knew that it was important that the projection would capture happy, moody, sassy. All the emotions that tweens naturally have,” said Susan Anderson, vice president of creative at Happy Nation. “You really see that come through on the site. We felt it was important that tweens could always see themselves in this brand and that it was really inclusive. It’s all very inclusive and clean and simple and easy to navigate the site.”

There are also “body care” products that are made from things like lemon oil, coconut water and vanilla and are vegan, sulfate-free, made without dyes or animal testing and come in recycled packaging.

“And it has super cute names like ‘Happy Body Wash,’ ‘Happy Lotion,’ ‘Happy Lip Balm,’” Rankin said. “We’ll also offer period panties and period packs and first bras and bra packs and developing bras and period leggings and try to enable those moments in a tween’s life to make it a little smoother and easier for parents to talk about it. We’re creating clothes and experiences for tweens to stay comfy, just as they are.”

That includes young boys, too. (Happy Nation will expand its selection of boys underwear in July.)

Rankin said the brand’s inaugural collections will serve as a test ground, as it continues to gather insights and feedback on the tween market from the community.

Happy Nation is part of Victoria’s Secret & Co.’s latest transformation efforts. The retailer began updating its look in 2018 to curb declining revenues, which were sparked by changing consumer preferences, the #MeToo movement and backlash over Victoria’s Secret’s unattainable beauty standards.

These days, Victoria’s Secret looks like a whole different company, with a diverse lineup of models (including plus-size, transgender and disabled models), a reshuffling of the board, new additions to the assortment — such as maternity bras and swimwear — and new, modernized stores. Earlier on Tuesday, sister brand Pink, which caters to a younger, college-age demographic, revealed that Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” star Darren Barret is now Pink’s first male ambassador.

Meanwhile, as the intimate apparel market continues to grow, so does the list of options for tweens and teens. Retailers and brands, such as Target, Kohl’s, Abercrombie, Thinx, Lucky & Me and Journelle, continue to expand their innerwear assortments for younger shoppers.

In the case of Victoria’s Secret, Martin Waters, chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret & Co., told analysts during last month’s conference call that Happy Nation will “fill a void in the tween market. It builds on our core capability. In undies and [first] bras and company clothing, real expertise in young people in the Pink business, marketing expertise in that space. So it’s a natural adjacency for us.”

Rankin added, “We feel we have this responsibility to this demographic to do it in the right way. We collaborated very closely with various experts to ensure everything from creative to photography to social media communications, all to foster this safe, inclusive and supportive environment.”

And that environment will be one that Gen Alpha knows best — online. Happy Nation is a digital-only brand with no plans at present to move into brick-and-mortar retail. Advertisements in the form of billboards have started to pop up in Roblox, however. Happy Nation obstacle courses, or “obbys,” will launch in Roblox in May.

“Entry into the metaverse and entry into Roblox was definitely a natural choice for launch,” said Anderson, who added that this will be the first time Victoria’s Secret & Co. has ventured into the metaverse. “It’s a place where we know tweens are interacting, creating and communicating. We want to make sure we’re engaging in ways that feel authentic to and resonate with our Happy Crew.”

Source: WWD