On June 10, Sephora promised to make a big step forward in support of Black-owned beauty business. According to the retailer's Instagram and statements from the company, Sephora has promised to reserve 15 percent of its shelf space specifically for products made by Black-owned companies. The announcement is a response to the 15 Percent Pledge, a new initiative that urges major retailers to reflect America's Black population (which is reportedly 15 percent of its total) in the amount of Black-owned products they supply.
"We're joining @15percentpledge and @aurorajames," Sephora shared in an Instagram caption. "We recognize how important it is to represent Black businesses and communities, and we must do better. So, we're starting now."
The illustrated slideshow posted by Sephora shares that the company is "committed to all three stages of the pledge," which will require it to take stock of its current shelf space, identify spaces for improvement, then create a plan and execute it. The remainder of the retailer's statement outlines a few key steps it will take to support more Black business owners. It reads as follows:
"To start, we will: Bring all of our knowledge to the table freely, so aspiring founders have success.
Provide connections to and support from funders and the venture capitalist community.
Help launch and develop Black-owned businesses with support for long-term success.
"We will also use Accelerate — our internal incubation project dedicated to cultivating female founders — to now focus on women of color. This is only the start. We know we have more work to do, and we encourage other businesses to take the Pledge and help drive change for Black businesses and communities."
Artemis Patrick, Sephora's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, issued her own statement through the retailer's press representatives that reads as follows: "We were inspired to make the 15 Percent Pledge because we believe it's the right thing to do, for our clients, our industry and for our community.
"Ultimately, this commitment is about more than the prestige products on our shelves, it starts with a long-term plan diversifying our supply chain and building a system that creates a better platform for Black-owned brands to grow, while ensuring Black voices help shape our industry. We recognize we can do better and this pledge builds on our ongoing work to use our resources to drive meaningful and long-term change for Sephora and our industry."
According to her, only seven of the retailer's current 290-plus brands are Black-owned: Fenty Beauty, Pat McGrath Labs, Briogeo, Adwoa Beauty, Golde, KNC Beauty, and Shani Darden Skin Care – five of which are carried in-store. That's a number she aims to increase significantly.
"We are committed to doing this the right way and ensuring that we successfully meet and exceed this Pledge, keeping in mind long-term sustainable progress," she says. "As we shared on social, beyond the steps we have outlined we have more work to do before we can set a date for when we aim to meet this goal. However, the work has already started."
Now, the 15 Percent Pledge is shifting its focus to other big retailers. "Today, @Sephora became the first major retailer to take the #15percentpledge," it shared to Instagram on June 10. "Now, we are looking at you: @target, @shopbop, @wholefoods. Will you join Sephora in taking the lead? Step up and #supportblackbusiness by taking the Pledge."
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Originally Appeared on Allure