On June 10, Sephora announced on Instagram it is joining the 15 Percent Pledge, making it the first major retailer to commit so far. This news comes a week and a half after Aurora James started the initiative asking corporations to carry at least 15 percent Black-owned brands on their shelves on May 29. In the post, James specifically tagged companies like Target, Walmart, and Sephora; however, up until this point, no major retailers — only smaller brands — had responded to the call to action.
Sephora revealed its pledge on Instagram with a caption that read, "We're joining @15percentpledge and @aurorajames. We recognize how important it is to represent Black businesses and communities, and we must do better. So, we're starting now."
As part of its announcement, the beauty retailer also shared three stages that it will be working toward. The first stage involves taking stock of the current percentage of shelf space dedicated to Black-owned businesses. Second, it will be taking ownership of those findings and acknowledging blind spots and disparities. Third, Sephora will take action by executing a plan for growing the share of Black beauty brands in stock.
"We were inspired to make the 15% Pledge because we believe it's the right thing to do, for our clients, our industry and for our community," Artemis Patrick, EVP and chief merchandising officer of Sephora, told POPSUGAR in an email. "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."
The brand also shared ways it plans to support Black-owned companies moving forward, like by providing connections to funders and venture capitalists, helping launch and develop Black-owned businesses, and sharing knowledge with aspiring founders.