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Sephora Is the First Major U.S. Retailer to Accept the ‘15% Pledge,’ Dedicating Shelf Space to Black-Owned Businesses

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Sephora Is the First Major U.S. Retailer to Accept the ‘15% Pledge,’ Dedicating Shelf Space to Black-Owned Businesses featured image
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Because big businesses have a large say on the cultural and financial state of America, they also have a sizable responsibility to use their powers in influencing positive change. To test the enormous powers of these businesses, Aurora James, Founder of Brother Vellies, created the 15 Percent Pledge which challenges major retailers—like Whole Foods, Saks and Sephora—to guarantee 15-percent of their shelf space to black-owned brands.

Yesterday Sephora stepped up to the plate, becoming the first brand to officially underwrite the pledge. Aside from donating shelf space, the brand is contributing by taking a deeper look into the spectrum of their business in order to find ways to support black-owned brands beyond their shelves.

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@wholefoods @target @shopmedmen @walmart @saks @sephora @netaporter @barnesandnoble @homedepot I am asking you to commit to buying 15% of your products from 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. . Whole Foods if you were to sign on to this pledge, it could immediately drive much needed support to Black farmers. Banks will be forced to take them seriously because they will be walking in with major purchase orders from Whole Foods. Investors for the very first time will start actively seeking them out. Small businesses can turn into bigger ones. Real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into our Black communities. . Dont get me wrong, I understand the complexities of this request. I am a business Woman. I have sold millions of dollars of product over the years at a business I started with $3500 at a flea market. So I am telling you we can get this figured out. This is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to get in the right side of this. . So for all of the ‘what can we do to help?’ questions out there, this is my personal answer. #15PercentPledge . I will get texts that this is crazy. I will get phone calls that this is too direct, too big of an ask, too this, too that. But I don’t think it’s too anything, in fact I think it’s just a start. You want to be an ally? This is what I’m asking for.

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Firstly, the brand is abiding by the first three stages of the pledge: taking stock, taking ownership and taking action. But they’re transforming these words into something mroe meaningful. “To start, we will bring all of our knowledge to the table freely, so aspiring founders have access,” promises the brand via Instagram. They are also helping to launch and develop black-owned businesses with support for long-term success, providing necessary connections to funders and narrowing their focus on black female founders. Although there are more specified goals coming, this is their start to influencing other large businesses to take a stand.

If you’re looking to shop some black-owned brands you can find at Sephora, some of our favorites include natural haircare brand Briogeo, Fenty Beauty By Rihanna‘s pigmented makeup, Pat McGrath Labs for luxe, celeb-approved beauty and Qhemet Biologics for curl-focused haircare.

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