Sephora is pledging to be a more inclusive company — inside and out.
The retailer today launched an initiative aimed at fostering a greater sense of belonging within the beauty community. “We Belong to Something Beautiful” is both a brand campaign and a pledge accompanied by a manifesto. It has been in the works for at least one year, according to Deborah Yeh, Sephora’s chief marketing officer.
“‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ [is] meant to reflect the idea that people have a human desire to be seen or heard and included,” said Yeh. “Sephora believes we have a role to play in building a more connected beauty community where everyone can belong.”
The manifesto, pictured above, will appear in a handful of U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. It will make its store debut in Sephora’s new Times Square location, opening later this week, and live online on the retailer’s homepage. It will also be sent out via e-mail to Sephora’s clients.
On June 5, the company will close all of its U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate headquarters to host an internal workshop on inclusivity. The company employs more than 16,000 people in the U.S.
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“Our h.r. and education team are doing additional learning content around our team beyond the June 5 workshop,” said Yeh. “We just completed training on inclusive mind-sets for all supervisors and have done a round of training on inclusive pronouns for our field organization. That learning and development will continue throughout the year.”
In April, Sephora came under fire when singer SZA tweeted that an employee working at the Calabasas location “called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing.” She had apparently been shopping for Fenty Beauty.
The retailer responded to SZA’s tweet, writing, “You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.”
Sephora will be communicating its messaging to its brand partners and inviting them to participate in its efforts.
“We’re starting to have conversations about how Sephora can continue to play a leadership role in retail, advocating for more inclusive practices,” said Yeh. “We’ve always tracked core retail metrics like client satisfaction, but as we think about this initiative, we want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, ensuring people who interact with us to feel welcome and invited into our store.”
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