The Honey Pot Co — the Black woman-owned feminine care line founded by Beatrice Dixon in 2014 — has seen a significant rise in sales since receiving a barrage of negative reviews in response to a Target ad released last month. Dixon told Buzzfeed News on Monday that the plant-based company saw a recent uptick in sales after Twitter users called out people leaving negative comments on the customer review website Trustpilot. In total, Dixon shared, sales were 40 to 50 percent higher on Monday than they are on a normal day.
In case you missed it, Target released a “Founders We Believe In” commercial featuring Dixon, who talked about the importance of large companies such as the Minnesota-based retailer supporting her business. During the ad, she talks about the challenges she faced when first starting her company and how Target opened doors for The Honey Pot Co to be supported by other retailers.
“The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well is so the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea, she could have a better opportunity,” she says. “That means a lot to me.”
In one Trustpilot review, someone wrote, “Black girls are empowered using this product... I guess whites girls aren’t. I’ll be letting Target know about this racist company.”
In other reviews, some expressed feeling “uncomfortable” with the message shared in Dixon’s commercial. “If they really think that only Black women should be empowered and white women should be left out then that's a huge step backward from the open and friendly society we tried to create over the last decades,” another reviewer wrote. “I can't support a company in good faith that is openly racist about their customers.”
Dixon clarified to Buzzfeed that she was talking about the success of her business, and that her products are not “only for Black girls.” Since being founded, Honey Pot — whose tagline reads “made by humans with vaginas, for humans with vaginas” — has become a popular plant-based feminine hygiene brand among women seeking natural alternatives to chemically-laden brands. Clinically-tested and gynecologist-approved, Honey Pot sells everything from organic pads and tampons, to toxin-free feminine wash.
As we previously reported, there are over twice as many Black women-led startups as there were in 2016. But that number is still less than the 14 percent of Black Women that make up the U.S. women’s population. And as Fast Company notes via Renae Bluitt, director of 2019 Netflix documentary She Did That — which chronicles the experiences of Black women entrepreneurs — of the $100 billion in venture funding that goes to American entrepreneurs, less than three percent goes to women. Only .02 percent goes to Black women.
“The work Target is doing to help Black women — particularly in the beauty and wellness space — to get a seat at the proverbial table is much needed,” says Bluitt. “They are providing visibility and market share-building opportunities for indie brands that may not find their way onto the shelves otherwise and that, quite honestly, a lot of retailers may overlook.”
Target, which introduced its Black History Month inventory lineup five years ago, carries multiple Black-owned brands on their store shelves. It’s one of few mainstream retailers who are consciously curating an inclusive experience for its customers. Black-owned brands carried at Target include The Lip Bar, The Doux, Mielle Organics, and many more.
Target spokesperson Shane Kitzman told R29Unbothered that, since launching its Black History Month offerings, the retailer has increased the number of Black-owned products to over 100, which are sold in over 600 stores. Melanie Gatewood, director of multicultural merchandise, added that more than one-third of the products offered in its stores this year are from Black-owned or founded businesses. And during this year’s Black History Month, Target crowdsourced favorites from its African American employee resource group to highlight a collection including books, music, and more.
“Target has a longstanding commitment to empowering and investing in diverse suppliers that create a broad variety of products for our guests,” Target said in a statement. “We’re proud to work with Bea Dixon and The Honey Pot team to highlight Bea’s journey to build her brand and bring her products to Target. We’re aware of some negative comments about the campaign, which aren’t in line with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from guests who love and have been inspired by Bea’s story.”
Dixon, who is feeling positive despite the recent events, remains optimistic.
“Sometimes things that are meant to be negative can be absolutely positive and this is one of those circumstances,” she said on The Real on Tuesday.