Sephora will dedicate 15% of shelf space for black-owned brands

National

(CNN) — Sephora said it will dedicate 15% of its stores’ shelf space to the products of black-owned companies, becoming the first major retailer in the United States to take the “15% pledge.”

The pledge stems from a movement that began earlier this month amid demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and a national conversation about race inequality in America, including challenges that black business owners face in securing representation within big retailers. The 15% Pledge website specifically calls on Sephora, Target, Whole Foods and Shopbop to make the commitment.

“We are inspired to make the 15% Pledge because we believe it is the right thing to do,” said Artemis Patrick, Sephora’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

CNN has reached out to the other companies for comment.

In a statement to CNN, Patrick said this is a commitment with a long term plan to diversify the company’s supply chain and build a system that creates a better platform for black-owned brands to grow.

Currently, Sephora offers nine black-owned brands among the more than 290 it sells. The company said it recognizes it can do better.

The 15% Pledge was created by Aurora James, the creative director of the Brooklyn-based accessories brand Brother Vellies. “It’s really about a long-term commitment to the black community,” James said.

“The 15% pledge calls on major retailers to match the percentage of the black population and commit 15 percent of their shelf space or purchasing power to black owned businesses,” James said.

Sephora Is owned by LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company.

James said she is working with Sephora on how to reach the 15% threshold.

“We’re going to have complete transparency around that and share that information publicly in the next couple of weeks. And every single time they onboard a new black business is really going to feel like a victory moment for me.”

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