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Target’s Plans for DEI, as Shared by Company Exec Cassandra Jones

Jones shared the stage with Melissa Butler, of The Lip Bar and Thread Beauty, and Monique Rodriguez, founder of Mielle Organics, at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit.

Target is working to create advancement in diversity, equity and inclusion in partnership with brands to allow for a purpose-driven culture, said Cassandra Jones, senior vice president for merch essentials and beauty at Target Corp., during the WWD Beauty CEO Summit.

“This experience starts with our core value of inclusivity,” she went on. “We amplify diverse voices, create equitable experience, grounded in authenticity and respect. This encompasses our daily commitment to supporting diverse brands in every single aspect of our business. From investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs, to our accelerator programs, our brand launches, increasing visibility using our marketing efforts, we all have the opportunity to create real change through guest experience…and the product assortment must continue to evolve so that all guests feel seen and welcomed.”

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For more than 20 years, Target has offered a beauty assortment that meet diverse needs and “provides opportunities for Black-owned and -founded businesses,” Jones said. “But there is still more work to do, and we are committed to continuing to evolve and grow that assortment.”

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Jones was joined on stage by two Black women brand founders with products sold at Target: Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar and Thread Beauty, and Monique Rodriguez, founder of Mielle Organics.

Speaking on challenges faced in the industry, both brand founders discussed difficulty receiving funding, mentorship, business guidance — and dealing with the issue of being put in a box.

“Yes, I’m a Black woman,” Butler said, “but also, there’s no difference between my lips and any of your lips, right? For the most part, there’s no difference in our skin. Someone may have oily skin. There are Black and brown people with oily skin, just like there are white people with oily skin. And yet, I find that oftentimes, Black-owned brands or BIPOC-owned brands can get boxed in, that you are here to only serve the Black guest and that is not necessarily true. So, I want to make sure that as you all are working with BIPOC founders…don’t treat it as a silo.”

Rodriguez shared similar sentiments, saying: “When you think about texture, hair texture has no race, no culture, no gender, and texture hair is a growing category. My vision for the brand is to be a destination brand for texture hair. There is plenty of opportunity for us to diversify.”

Both founders said Target offered them increased brand exposure, awareness, discoverability and accessibility to diverse shoppers.

Speaking on Target’s four key focuses looking ahead, Jones said the company aims to help “Black team members build meaningful careers and experience significant success at every single level.” Target is also working to create an environment where Black guests “are welcomed and seeing themselves represented” online and in stores.

“The third is finding new ways to support Black communities across the country,” she continued. “And the fourth is working with policymakers on key issues that impact Black Americans. We have committed to spending more than $2 billion, with Black-owned businesses by 2025.”

In 2020, Target increased its Black-owned brand assortment by 65 percent, with 20 new brands added this year.

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