The year 2020, quite apart from becoming synonymous with COVID-19, will forever be linked with the increasing reckoning over racial injustice sparked by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. The Black Lives Matter Movement has gained momentum and particularly in my industry—which concerns tattooing as well as beauty products—there is a real need for not only these products to be catered to darker skin tones but also for companies who market these products to have better representation of visible minorities within their companies and particularly their executive echelons.
A recent Nielsen poll found that consumers who identify as black spent approximately half a million on haircare and even more on skin products, so it would seem logical as well as a demonstration of business acumen to better cater to black consumers!
Notably in this regard, Yasmin Gagne of Fast Company, published an interesting article looking at how Canadian fashion designer and Brother Vellies founder, Aurora James, launched the “15 Percent Pledge” in May 2020 to challenge retailers to commit to carrying more Black-owned brands (at least 15%, as that is the percentage of the North American population who according to Aurora James’ research identify as black).
I see Aurora James as someone who despite overwhelming obstacles, is attempting to really shake up industry, and rightfully so.
One of the first large companies to sign onto Aurora James’ pledge was the make-up retail giant Sephora. Sephora is now working to live up to this commitment, as well as devoting at least 15% of its shelf space to Black-owned brands.
It will be interesting to see whether they and the other signees such as Shopbop, and Whole Foods amongst others, do indeed do so—let’s hold them to it!
May Aurora James’ example inspire us all to realize that it just takes perseverance, some savvy research, and apt use of social media platforms, to shake things up in the name of social justice.
You can pave your way to success while helping others along the way!
For Gagne’s article in full, see:
For the Neilson poll: