Beauty retailer Sephora, owned by European conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton plans to double the assortment of Black-owned brands to 16 by the end of the year. Black beauty is big business, and retail is one of the industries being called directly to task regarding the very top of mind subject of diversity, specifically when it comes to suppliers and vendors.
You may fashion designer Aurora James called on major outlets including Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods to buy 15% of their products from Black-owned businesses.
It was crickets from the industry for two weeks — until Sephora broke the silence.
As reported by Yahoo Life, the beauty company answered James’ Instagram post calling for change with one of their own announcing their commitment to the three-part “15% Pledge.”
“We recognize how important it is to represent Black businesses and communities, and we must do better,” the post read. “So, we’re starting now.“
This could be a big win for the beauty giant, as African Americans have cornered the ethnic hair and beauty market, accounting for almost 90% of the overall spend, according to a Nielsen NLSN report.
CultureBanx notes that the visibility of Black-owned brands has transformed the beauty community by demanding diversity and inclusion to stay relevant. African Americans have continued to dominate the ethnic hair and beauty aids category, ringing up $54 million of the $63 million that was spent in 2017. Diverse representation will only contribute to the success of Sephora, one of the main growth engines of LVMH’s selective retailing group that generated €14.7 billion ($17.9 billion), representing 28% of the group’s sales in 2019.
“We know we are in a strong position to influence positive changes in the retail industry and society at large and it’s our responsibility to step up,” said Jean-Andre Rougeot, president and CEO of Sephora Americas, in a statement.
As part of a plan to combat racial bias at its stores, the company released findings of a study it commissioned that took an in-depth look at the topic in the U.S. retail shopping experience. It found Black shoppers are more likely than white shoppers to receive unfair treatment based on their skin color. The beauty giant plans to reduce the presence of third-party security officers at its 500 U.S. stores.
Black people are known to contribute revenue at a rate greater than their proportion to their population in the beauty industry, so a lack of action could prove detrimental. It seems as if Sephora, a perceived industry leader has lent real consideration to these facts, and is taking steps to prove that their position of solidarity with the Black community rings true. Let’s not forget that back in June 2019 The beauty products juggernaut shut down more than 400 stores to tackle diversity during a 1-hour session.
The beauty industry in general is a gold mine and expected to reach a market value of $805.61 billion by 2023. Companies like LVMH are constantly mining new ways to get a larger share of the market, with the industry expanding at 3% a year.
The most important realization right now is the simple fact that impactful returns in sentiment, brand connection, and referral will be enjoyed in the long-term. Sephora had started partnering with more minority-owned makeup brands in recent years, such as Pat McGrath Labs, Fenty Beauty and Huda Beauty. Going forward the beauty giant plans to also prominently feature and advertise Black-owned brands through a dedicated tab on the Sephora website.