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The beauty giant was one of the first major retailers to take the 15 Percent Pledge last year.
Date May 17, 2021
Update: On May 17, 2021, Sephora Canada announced they were increasing their commitment to carrying BIPOC-owned beauty brands from 15 to 25 percent, a goal they intend to reach by 2026. “The ambitious five-year goal of reaching 25 percent BIPOC-owned brands by 2026 is driven by the insight that 22.3 percent of Canadians identify as visible minorities (according to 2016 Census), making the demand for visible representation within brand offering more important than ever in Canada,” reads a press release from the company. “As a result of continued brand diversification over the past year, Sephora Canada is currently sitting at 12 percent BIPOC-owned prestige beauty brands, with a goal of reaching 15 percent in 2022.” Sephora was one of the first brands to take the 15 Percent Pledge last year, a movement that calls on retailers to dedicate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to BIPOC-owned businesses.
“As we approach the one year anniversary of the racial justice protests last summer, we could not be more thrilled that Sephora Canada is taking the Pledge and partnering with us to drive equity across retail,” said Aurora James, founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, in the press release. “Being a proud Canadian, it’s exciting to see the Pledge continue to expand beyond the U.S. and have Sephora Canada be our newest partnership in my home country. Their commitment to increase their shelf space to 25 per cent BlPOC-owned brands is huge, and we are looking forward to working in lockstep with them to provide support and help them achieve this goal.”
This article was originally published in June, 2020:
Last week, Canadian designer Aurora James — founder of footwear brand Brother Vellies — launched the 15 Percent Pledge, a movement urging major retailers to dedicate 15 percent of their buying budget to Black-owned businesses.
“So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space,” James wrote in an Instagram post announcing the initiative.
Today, beauty giant Sephora announced it is accepting the pledge and that it will dedicate 15 percent of its shelf space to Black-owned beauty brands moving forward. The company is the first of the four major brands named by James to do so.
According to WWD, the company will implement all three stages of the pledge: “including taking stock of the current percentage of shelf space and contracts dedicated to Black-owned businesses, taking ownership of findings, blind spots and disparities, and identifying concrete next steps, and taking action to publish and execute a plan to grow the share of Black-owned businesses to at least 15 per cent.” Sephora will also help to connect Black-owned businesses with funding and venture capital partners, as well as focus its internal incubator for female founders solely on women of colour in 2021.
In a statement, Artemis Patrick, Sephora’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said, “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.”