PARIS, France — Sephora is pledging to increase access to grants and venture capital for minority-led beauty brands, the latest step by the retailer to support diversity in an industry that has been criticised for catering largely to white customers.
The six-month incubator programme, originally designed to boost women-owned brands, will host eight to 12 founders whose products range from hair-care to fragrance to skincare, Sephora said Thursday in a statement. The company, which didn’t disclose financial details, intends to develop, and ultimately offer to consumers, each brand that participates in the programme.
The commitment builds on the cosmetics giant’s steps to source more diverse beauty brands amid a focus on racial inequality after the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In June, Sephora said it would devote 15 percent of its shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Despite increasing support from Corporate America for racial justice, many Black founders say the steps taken so far aren’t sufficient to overcome the systemic challenges they face. While large companies have condemned inequality and pledged donations to organisations fighting against it, Black-owned businesses are still less likely to receive the investments needed to survive and grow.
LVMH-owned Sephora has more than 500 stores in the Americas and sells products from brands such as Dior and Tom Ford. While Sephora carries nearly 300 beauty brands, Rihanna’s Fenty is one of the few that are Black-owned.
By Gerald Porter Jr.