Multi-brand beauty retailer Sephora announced this week that its Canadian division would dedicate 25% of its brand offering to BIPOC-owned brands by 2026. It’s an additional 10% to The Fifteen Percent Pledge which began in the U.S. last year.
Sephora Canada says that its pledge is driven in part by the fact that 22.3% of Canadians identify as visible minorities, which the company says makes visible representation within its brand offering more important than ever in this country. Sephora says that about 12% of its brands are currently owned by those who are Black, Indigenous or otherwise deemed a person of colour.
By 2022, Sephora says its goal is for 15% of its beauty brands to be BIPOC-owned. It’s likely that the retailer will meet that goal. The company says that it has an ongoing action plan in place for increasing BIPOC representation in its brands including supporting BIPOC-owned brands in achieving Canadian compliancy, which has already played a crucial role in enabling expansion into Canada as well as aiding Sephora’s newest Accelerate brands with the resources and information they need to expand beyond the United States.
The Fifteen Percent Pledge is a non-profit organization based in the United States. It advocates for the equitable and intentional distribution of wealth and opportunity for Black-owned businesses and people in the workforce, as well as urges retailers to commit at least 15% of their shelf-space to Black-owned businesses.
In June of last year, Sephora was the first major retailer to take the pledge which included evolving its 2021 Accelerate incubator programming to be dedicated exclusively to people of colour. Shortly after launching in the United States, The Fifteen Percent Pledge team’s mission extended into Canada in support of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC)-owned businesses and BIPOC people in the workforce.
“We are proud to solidify our goal of reaching 25 per cent BIPOC-owned brands by 2026 as part of our new localized Fifteen Percent Pledge commitment,” said Jane Nugent, Sephora Canada’s Senior Vice President of Merchandising. “Ensuring greater representation within our prestige beauty brand offering that is reflective of Canada’s rich diversity is central to our mission of creating a more inclusive retail experience and sense of belonging for all.”
“As we approach the one year anniversary of the racial justice protests last summer, we could not be more thrilled that Sephora Canada is taking the Pledge and partnering with us to drive equity across retail,” said Aurora James, founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge.
“Being a proud Canadian, it’s exciting to see the Pledge continue to expand beyond the U.S. and have Sephora Canada be our newest partnership in my home country. Their commitment to increase their shelf space to 25 per cent BlPOC-owned brands is huge, and we are looking forward to working in lockstep with them to provide support and help them achieve this goal,” she went on to say.
Over the past year, Sephora Canada has also established a Diversity and Inclusion Council which it says is geared towards identifying actionable solutions and galvanizing change.
Sephora Canada’s BIPOC-owned beauty guide is currently available at Sephora.ca/bipoc-beauty-brands.
Sephora is also in a major expansion mode in Canada with plans to open nearly 50 more stores over the next three years, expanding the retailer’s footprint by about 60%.
Last week we reported that Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay had also signed on to the Fifteen Percent Pledge. As of this fall, at least 15% of all new brands purchased for its stores and thebay.com will be BIPOC-owned or designed. Hudson’s Bay is the first department store in Canada to commit to the Pledge.
More businesses are expected to announce commitment to the pledge in the coming weeks as the movement continues to take hold in Canada.