For the past five years, Sephora has been building its Accelerate program, an incubation initiative to help seedling beauty brands grow into global retail labels. Following a competitive application process for the 2021 season, Sephora just announced the eight brands selected to participate in its six-month business training bootcamp — and this year, for the first time ever, the cohort is comprised exclusively of powerhouse female Black, brown, and Asian founders.
Sephora's decision to offer individualized mentorship and strategic growth opportunities to BIPOC founders is a key step in honoring its commitment to delicate 15% of its brand assortment to Black-owned labels. Upon completion of this year's Accelerate program, all eight participating brands will launch at Sephora, which will effectively double the retailer's current assortment of Black-owned brands by the end of 2021.
Now, for the exciting part: introducing the participating members and their labels, which are still in the early stages of branding and development. Sephora's 2021 Accelerate Program cohort features: Christina Funke Tegbe, founder of 54 Thrones; Priyanka Ganjoo, founder of Kulfi Beauty; Megan Graham, founder of ries; Olamide Olowe, CEO of Topicals; Marie Kouadio Amouzame and Alice Lin Glover, the co-founders of EADEM; Desiree Verdejo, founder of Hyper Skin; Alisia Michelle Ford, founder of Glory; and Nia Wellman, founder of Imania Beauty.
The 2021 Sephora Accelerate initiative provides a model for how big-name retailers should be approaching their commitment to diversification and inclusion: strategically. "Last year, we made a commitment to dedicate fifteen percent of Sephora shelf space to Black-owned brands, and we quickly realized the role that our Accelerate program could play in not only helping us reach that goal, but to set these brands up for long-term success and growth," explains Sephora Executive Vice President Artemis Patrick in a press release provided by the retailer. "Each of the eight participating founders in inspiring in their own right, and we believe wholeheartedly in their potential at Sephora; we are so excited to help shape their future and to ultimately introduce these brands to our clients."