On Wednesday, Sephora became the first major retail corporation to commit themselves to the 15% Pledge initiative supporting black entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses. The beauty store aims to now fill 15% of its shelf space with black-owned cosmetic companies to help represent every customer while encouraging diversity among businesses. Started by Aurora James, the 15% Pledge is a new mission founded as a result of world-wide protests and calls for justice following the murder of George Floyd by law enforcement.
Sephora remains a leader in supporting smaller businesses and start-ups, often promoting newer and unique brands in its extensive makeup mega stores. They made headlines on June 1st when they announced that loyalty members could cash-in their points for donations to charities such as Black Lives Matter. This allows an easy way for Sephora shoppers to give back and use their consumer purchases for a good cause.
They plan to use Accelerate, their internal incubation program for women entrepreneurs, to help cultivate the expansion of black female-owned brands. Sephora recognizes that they currently only sell seven black-owned brands out of more than 290 in total, a minimal percentage that doesn’t even come close to acceptable diversity or their goal with the Pledge. The company believes they can achieve this through their internal program, with hopes to even exceed their goal of 15%. They also hope to continue to elevate the popularity of already well-known brands such as Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath Labs, as well as increasing diversity and inclusion with their campaigns and promotions throughout stores.
The 15% Pledge hopes that Sephora’s support leads to more prominent companies to get on board, helping to foster more diverse representation across significant brands and encourage minority businesses to thrive, especially in the wake of the pandemic.