As part of the ongoing efforts to offset the racial disparities that are all too prevalent in this country, there's an onus on big businesses to use their influence to enact major, sweeping change. To that end, Aurora James, founder of sustainable accessories brand Brother Vellies, launched the 15 Percent Pledge, a movement calling on mass retailers like Whole Foods, Target, Net-A-Porter, and Sephora to make long-overdue space on their shelves for Black-owned brands.
Today, Sephora proved their commitment to the cause by becoming the first brand to officially endorse James' proposed mission of devoting 15% shelf space to Black-owned companies. The global beauty conglomerate announced via Instagram that it will carry out the three stages of the 15% Pledge: taking stock, taking ownership, and taking action. "We’re joining @15percentpledge and @aurorajames," the post's caption reads. "We recognize how important it is to represent Black businesses and communities, and we must do better. So, we’re starting now."
More concretely, the company outlined initial bullet-point steps for providing the necessary mentorship and monetary support to Black-owned businesses. This includes providing aspiring founders with Sephora's stockpile of resources; providing connections to and support from funders and venture capitalists; and supporting Black-owned businesses for long-term success. In the community update, Sephora further promises to dedicate its Accelerate program — an internal incubation initiative designed specifically to support female-founded brands — to a primary focus on cultivating opportunities for women of color.
This is only the first step, Sephora acknowledges, concluding the statement with a call to action: "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." Now, who's up next?