Sephora has announced a grant in partnership with the Fifteen Percent Pledge, which will award one Black business owner within the beauty industry $100,000.
Despite calls to action for more diversity and equity in the beauty industry, Black business owners continue to face systemic hurdles. In 2022, less than 1 percent of venture capital allocated to founders went to Black business owners, a statistic that has remained low for years.
”We’re excited to see the beauty industry experiencing massive growth in expanding opportunities and client exposure to Black-owned brands, and we hope that this grant will help to further propel the next generation of Black beauty owners,” said Priya Venkatesh, global chief merchandising officer at Sephora in a statement to The Business of Beauty.
In 2023, Sephora became the first retailer to sign on to the Fifteen Percent Pledge, launched by Aurora James, and promised to dedicate at least 15 percent of its shelf space to Black-owned brands. The retailer currently stocks Black beauty labels like Danessa Myricks, Ami Colé and Bread Beauty Supply. Beginning in 2021, Sephora revamped its accelerator program to focus on BIPOC founders.
However, recent efforts to improve corporate DEI across beauty and fashion have come under attack. In August, Atlanta-based venture capital firm Fearless Fund, which invests in women of colour, was sued by conservative activists who oppose race-based diversity programmes.
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