Sephora Strengthens Commitment to Inclusivity with New Platform
Putting its new motto into motion, Sephora has announced the creation of its new platform under the tagline, “We Belong to Something Beautiful.” The program is the retailer’s promise to make the beauty community an inclusive environment for everyone.
To implement this new strategy, Sephora will be closing its entire company including all of its stores, distribution and call centers, and its headquarters nationwide for an hour on June 5 for diversity training. In doing this, Sephora strives to encourage dialogue, educate, train, and foster the company’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity among its 16,000 employees.
Sephora’s new manifesto states, "Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included." Their Sephora Stands initiative is “dedicated to inspiring the fearlessness to make [bold choices].” With this initiative, the company will also support female entrepreneurs, give to underserved communities, and empower all makeup users.
In the coming year, Sephora plans to empower over 100,000 people with makeup through their Classes for Confidence program, assist more than 50 female entrepreneurs in their Accelerator program and partner with 500 non-profit organizations to make societal change. Sephora Sustainability will also launch as a program dedicated to guiding “our company, employees, and partners to develop environmentally conscientious practices.”
Sephora should be applauded for its commitment to diversity, social change and the decision to make them a priority, as demonstrated in the new initiatives and other past campaigns. However, that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t made mistakes in the past. Just last month, Grammy-nominated artist SZA, who ironically is a former Sephora employee herself, was a victim of racial profiling at a Sephora store in Calabasas, California. As well, five years ago, four U.S. women of Chinese descent filed a class action lawsuit against the company claiming their online accounts were deactivated because of their Asian surnames. Sephora was accused of blocking accounts with Asian names or e-mail addresses with Chinese domains because it suspected these users of buying discount items in bulk to resell them.
Through their upcoming diversity training, Sephora shows how large corporations can take full accountability for their past mistakes. Following the model of Starbucks, which closed more than 8,000 stores for an afternoon in 2018 to conduct racial-bias education, Sephora demonstrates how to appropriately execute a meaningful response to address racially charged incidents. Beyond marketing campaigns and branding tactics, its about taking action to make lasting improvement.
The commitment for companies to make inclusivity a priority rather than just a buzzword is essential to the consumer’s experience and trust. With the democratization of retail and commerce, consumers hold a lot of power and are demanding that brands work for morals and values, not just profit. According to Marketing Dive, 63% of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own beliefs and will avoid companies that don’t. As consumers become more diverse and demand respect and representation, companies like Sephora champion inclusivity to support their customers in more ways than simple business transactions.