By George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, Sephora
In June 2020, Sephora made several renewed commitments to bring longstanding values of the brand to life. We pledged to make the Sephora experience more inclusive and equitable, for our team members, clients, and the broader beauty community. To realize these commitments, we created a holistic strategy called the Sephora D&I Heart Journey, which is supported by 11 internal D&I task forces and a detailed action plan described in our Racial Bias in Retail Study. These efforts are intended to address bias across all areas of our organization, including marketing, merchandising, hiring, training, operations, and the in-store experience.
While we recognize there is more work to be done, today, I am pleased to share an update on our progress over the past year:
Product Assortment: As the first major retailer to sign the 15 Percent Pledge last year, Sephora made a long-term commitment to expanding our supply chain and product assortment of Black-owned brands in a holistic and sustainable way, to reflect the diversity in our larger beauty community across the United States.
- In June 2020, Sephora carried eight Black-owned brands. By the end of 2021, we’ll more than double our assortment overall, including achieving the 15% benchmark in prestige hair care.
- As of July, our expanded offering includes adwoa beauty, BREAD BEAUTY SUPPLY, Briogeo, Danessa Myricks Beauty, FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna, FENTY SKIN, FORVR MOOD, Grace Eleyae, KNC Beauty, LYS Beauty, PAT McGRATH LABS, ROSE Ingleton MD, Shani Darden Skin Care, Sunday II Sunday, Topicals, Qhemet Biologics. This fall, we will launch several new Black-owned brands including but not limited to Fashion Fair and Hyper Skin.
- Additionally, last year we adapted the 2021 Sephora Accelerate brand incubator program to focus exclusively on cultivating and launching BIPOC-owned brands at Sephora. This year’s program included 54 Thrones, Eadem, Glory, Hyper Skin, lmania Beauty, Kulfi Beauty, Ries and Topicals; this past March, we celebrated the launch of Topicals on Sephora.com.
Marketing: As part of our action plan presented in the Racial Bias in Retail Study commissioned by Sephora last January, we pledged to establish new guidelines that would help ensure our campaigns, social media, and marketing content included a diverse array of backgrounds, identities, ages, and body types.
- Today, Black-owned brands are featured in 15% of Sephora social and digital content, up from 11% in June 2020. We have also implemented dedicated quarterly campaigns to drive awareness of Black-owned brands.
- To broaden inclusion for Sephora’s LatinX clients, we have doubled the number of Spanish-language YouTube videos produced each month. To improve the accessibility of our content, we have also incorporated closed captioning on all Sephora-produced IGTV content.
- To celebrate important holiday milestones for a wider range of cultures, we built mini campaigns, from Lunar New Year to Eid al-Fitr. We also featured more of our nonprofit partners in our content work to create space for new voices and organizations, like National Cares Mentoring Movement and National Black Justice Coalition.
- Finally, we continue to cultivate one of the industry’s most diverse influencer groups through Sephora Squad, with the largest group yet this year of 73 members. This year, 79% of members self-identify as people of color (compared to 51% in 2020) and the number of BIPOC members has increased by 61% since its inception in 2019. Additionally, 22% of the 2021 Sephora Squad are Spanish Speaking, which has increased from 8 to 16 members since 2019.
Talent & Inclusive Workplaces: Last year, we committed to the Pull Up for Change movement to ensure diversity is reflected across every level of Sephora’s organization.
- Since June 2020, Sephora has increased Black/African American representation in our leadership across our stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices from 6% to 9%. Our Black store director representation has increased from 6 to 11%.
- As of July 2021, our workforce is made up of:
- 64% employees of color (up from 63%, as reported Dec. 2020)
- 16% of Black or African American employees (up from 14% as reported Dec. 2020)
- 83% female identifying (up from 82% as reported in Dec. 2020)
- To ensure we have structures that ensure inclusive and equal opportunities to join and advance at Sephora at all levels going forward, we implemented a refined hiring process and developed a new hiring toolkit to bring awareness of unconscious bias and recruit a diverse pipeline of talent; we launched a Talent Incubator program to develop the next generation of diverse leaders, which comprises mentoring and coaching support for 50 managers across our corporate, distribution centers, and stores. This summer, Sephora hired 43 interns, of which over 50% self-identify as underrepresented talent of color.
Retail Experience: Sephora is committed to making our retail experience more inclusive and welcoming for all clients and employees, both online and in our stores.
- We created 20 new training modules focusing on antiracism, unconscious bias, and cultural allyship, required to be taken by all Sephora retail employees, including a digital series which trains all Sephora employees to recognize and mitigate unconscious biases.
We also created Cultural Allyship for BIPOC Shoppers training, leveraging key findings of Sephora’s Racial Bias in Retail Study and Catalyst’s report, Allyship and Curiosity Drive Inclusion for People of Color at Work. This training has been delivered to all store directors in July, and will be cascaded to all beauty advisors.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our work and the efforts underway to ensure that all people feel they belong at Sephora. Although there is more work to be done, I am incredibly proud of how far we’ve come in just one year, and of the efforts of the Sephora D&I team, D&I task forces, leadership, and the broader organization. I am emboldened and energized by our progress, and I look forward to sharing updates in the future, as we continue this important work.
To read the full Sephora Progress Report, please click here.
George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga
George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, Sephora