An ongoing fight for transparency in the beauty industry has revealed an ugly truth: many beauty brands owned and operated by Black and POC are significantly undersupported, underfunded, and underrepresented. In fact, the overwhelming reality of this disparity has left many titans in the multi-billion-dollar business pledging their financial support to uplift these creatives. One such brand is Sephora, which publicly pledged to dedicate 15% of its shelf space to BIPOC founders.
Less than a year later, the cosmetic brand is making good on its promise via its annual Accelerate Program, an educational incubator program that has successfully provided a powerful curriculum revolved around mentorship, merchandising, funding, and investor connections for the last six years. "We quickly realized that our Accelerate program could not only help us reach that goal, but it could also help set these brands up for long-term success and growth," shares Sephora's Executive Vice President, Artemis Patrick.
With the overall goal to double its assortment of Black-owned brands by the end of the year, the retailer’s 2021 Accelerate Incubator Program limited its accepted applicants exclusively to founders of color. Now, Sephora is introducing us to their personally-selected cohort of BIPOC founders that will be mentored by notable industry leaders.
Ahead, meet this year’s selected participants, who signed up last Fall for the 2021 Accelerate Program. These eight founders are well on their way to building their own beauty empires, thanks to the promise of launching their brands at Sephora upon completion of the program.
Inspired by African beauty rituals, 54 Thrones is a natural beauty brand that offers face and body products that utilizes African-grown and organic plant botanicals to soothe and nourish the skin.
Eadem prides itself in pioneering "Smart Melanin Beauty" through its beauty products that combine science-backed ingredients and heritage botanicals to effectively care for skin of color.
Glory is a skincare brand that customizes clean head-to-toe treatments for melanin-rich skin.
Hyper Skin is a skincare brand rooted in multiculturalism. While the results-oriented brand says its first priority is tackling dark spots and discoloration for all skin tones, it also aims to enhance your natural glow.
Imania Beauty believes that caring for your hair should be both simplistic and nourishing. Taking a scalp-first approach to keeping your hair healthy, the haircare brand is hemp and wellness-conscious.
Topicals is a beauty brand that celebrates all skin types with effective and clinically proven skincare products that are always dye-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
Launching February 16, Kulfi makes self-care a celebration with fun and approachable skincare products specially designed for South Asian people. The brand’s overall goal is to challenge Eurocentric beauty standards in South Asian culture.
Ries effectively found a way to bring luxury and function to the travel-beauty and toiletries market, without compromising the environment. The up-and-coming brand does this by offering reusable, leak-proof, TSA-friendly containers made of biodegradable material.
This kind of support for BIPOC-owned beauty brands makes us feel hopeful for a more inclusive beauty world in the future, and that Sephora will set an example for many other retailers to come.
If you’re eager to participate in next year’s Accelerate Program, Sephora encourages you to sign-up for their 2022 program as soon as applications are available. To learn more, visit sephoraaccelerate.com.