CEW and Macy’s team up to fulfill retailer’s commitment to Fifteen Percent Pledge

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Kerkez)
© Getty Images \ (Kerkez)

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This month, the department store chain announced several initiatives to better support the Black community, including adding 11 Black-owned beauty brands to the Macy’s ecommerce site.

On May 29, 2020, Aurora James launched the 15 Percent Pledge with a post on Instagram, calling on retailers “to commit to buying 15% of your products from Black owned businesses.”

Sephora was the first prominent retailer to sign the Pledge; and in the months since, a total of 18 retailers, including Macy’s and the Bluemercury chain that Macy’s acquired in 2015​. (Read or listen to more about the origin of the Fifteen Percent Pledge​ in this NPR conversation among Aurora James, Sephora EVP Artemis Patrick, and show host Michele Martin.)

With help from CEW, Macy’s adds 11 Black-owned beauty brands to online retail assortment

In 2019, the Cosmetic Executive Women professional organization (CEW) held a first indie beauty awards event​, recognizing 65 independent brands and publishing a report on those standout brands that included sales figures and was circulated among the CEW membership.

In 2020, CEW held a similar event online (in deference to pandemic precautions), honoring 26 indie beauty brands—all of which founded by Black women​.

From that roster of 26 Black-owned cosmetics and personal care brand, Macy’s has identified 11 that it is adding to its ecommerce site this month. “The brands – inclusive of all beauty categories such as hair, skin, nails, bath/body, and sun protection – will be available on macys.com. They include Camille Rose, CURLS, Epara, La Pierre Cosmetics, Lovinah, Maison 276, Mischo Beauty, Naturally London, Ooli Beauty, Shea Yeleen and Unsun Cosmetics,” ​according to Macy’s recent press release about diversity and inclusion initiatives.

These new brands are being added to Macy’s online assortment as part of the retailer’s commitment to the Fifteen Percent Pledge.

 Macy’s further invests in D&I

“As we honor Black culture and Black Brilliance, we are intensifying our commitment to the growth and advancement of Black-owned businesses, creators, changemakers, and young talent – who are all woven into the fabric of the Black experience,”​ says Shawn Outler, Chief Diversity Officer at Macy’s, in this month’s media release.

In doing so, she adds, “We are supporting current and future history-makers who will create a more rich and inclusive community for our colleagues and customers.”

Among the retailer’s campaigns and initiatives are donations to organizations already doing work to improve the professional development and educational opportunities available to Black people in the US: “From February 1 through February 28, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar amount and donate the change (up to $0.99) to benefit Black Girls CODE and UNCF,”​ explains the release.

Macy’s has plans to include Black designers in next month’s Icons of Style collections, will be showing the art of Michael Anthony Pegues and Rey Rosa in store windows at 7 locations across the US, and is continuing The Workshop at Macy’s program that helps entrepreneurs develop into retail vendors. More information on Macy’s support of the Black community can be found online here.

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