Beauty & Balance

Sephora Plans to Launch POC-owned Brands via Accelerate Program

Sephora is working to ramp up the percentage of shelf space it dedicates to brands founded or owned by people of color via the Sephora Accelerate program.

Brands that make it through next year’s six-month business workshop will likely find themselves entering into the retailer. “Sephora’s intention is to launch each brand, in the capacity that makes sense, that participates in the Accelerate program in its entirety,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

Applications for the program open today via sephoraaccelerate.com, and remain open through Oct. 15. Next year’s program is exclusively focused on brands founded and owned by people of color, the retailer said.

Sephora is looking for makeup, skin-care, fragrance, wellness, hair and accessory brands based in the U.S. with products that haven’t yet landed major distribution. Founders who are selected to participate in the program will have access to “boot camp,” mentorship, grants and funding. “The retailer’s goal now is to provide founders with the community and ecosystem to support their launch at Sephora,” the spokeswoman said.

Sephora signed Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge in June, and said it would create a plan to increase shelf space for Black-owned brands to at least 15 percent. An analysis conducted by WWD Beauty Inc showed that over the summer, Black-owned brands made up only 2.42 percent of Sephora’s online brand mix.

Jean-André Rougeot, chief executive officer of Sephora Americas, has underscored the retailer’s intent to focus on diversity and inclusion. “Like we did with brand relationships, or with Clean, we can do the same in D&I for retail,” he said. “That’s the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. That we can make a difference and we are 100 percent committed to make it happen.”

For more from WWD.com, see: 

Racism at Retail: Beauty Segment Needs to Revamp, and Fast 

Sephora’s Jean-André Rougeot Reveals His Strategic Vision

The Evolution of the Latinx Beauty Shopper

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