In June 2020, Sephora announced that it had taken the 15% Pledge — the initiative begun by Aurora James to have retailers dedicate 15% of shelf space to Black-owned businesses — and planned to focus solely on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)-owned brands for its 2021 Accelerate program. The incubator program helps burgeoning beauty brands grow through mentorship, curriculum, investor connections, and potential funding. Now, Sephora's 2021 Accelerate class has officially been announced, and all eight brands are owned by women of color.
The selected founders get to participate in the beauty retailer's six-month-long curriculum that cultivates a foundation for long-term business success, and all brands will be sold in Sephora stores upon completion of the program, effectively doubling its assortment of Black-owned brands by the end of 2021. While this is the sixth year Sephora's offering the Accelerate class, this is the first time all BIPOC-owned businesses have been chosen.
Joining the incubator cohort are the following leaders: Christina Funke Tegbe, founder of botanical-based skin care range 54 Thrones; Marie Kouadio Amouzame and Alice Lin Glover, founders of EADEM, a skin care range designed specifically for skin of color; Alisia Michelle Ford, founder of Glory, a skin and body care brand meant for treating skin of color; Desiree Verdejo, founder of Hyper Skin, which focuses in on specific concerns like dark spots and pigmentation; Nia Wellman, founder of Imania Beauty, a wellness-focused hair care brand with an emphasis on scalp health; Priyanka Ganjoo, founder of Kulfi Beauty, a makeup brand targeted towards South Asian skin tones; Megan Graham, founder of ries, a line of luxury reusable and leakproof TSA-approved travel beauty containers; and Olamide Olowe, founder of Topicals, a beauty brand that seeks to remove the stigma of imperfect skin and advocate for mental health.
This year, the Sephora Accelerate program participants will receive mentorship from other prominent beauty founders, including Vicky Tsai of Tatcha and Nancy Twine of Briogeo, along with the opportunity to connect with Sephora's team.
Though all brands will be available on Sephora's shelves when the program ends later this year, you can support them by shopping on their websites directly.
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