Currently, only four percent of beauty brands carried by specialty cosmetic stores and drug stores cater to or were founded by Black people. To overcome such issues, Sephora has hosted an Accelerator Brand Incubator program since 2014 that has a specific focus on uplifting BIPOC representation across its product catalog, aiming to support "innovative, inspirational brand founders in the beauty space and create a foundation, network, and ecosystem for brands to launch and thrive." When selecting the finalists, Sephora closely considered each brand's vision, innovation, and product development. The retailer recently announced the participants for its 2023 edition, with a cohort of seven brand founders with expertise in fragrance, makeup, and skincare.
For the successful entrants, the program features a six-month curriculum with mentorship, merchandising support, grants, and industry networking for all, with the opportunity to launch across Sephora in North America upon completion of the course. The Accelerator Brand Incubator 2023 cohort includes:
This year's program intends to prepare BIPOC-founded brands for success with a focus on building community and collaboration across beauty through the curriculum course, preparing the cohort for long-term success. Across the six weeks, the selected entrants will undergo classes with professionals including the Financial Readiness Series with Briogeo CEO Nancy Twine; Brand and Assortment Strategy Sessions with Vicky Tsai, founder of Tatcha; and Marketing Sessions with Amy Liu, founder of Tower 28.
The 2023 Accelerator class will also be provided with an advisory team made up of an inclusive range of beauty industry professionals such as Wende Zomnir of Urban Decay and Caliray. Finance professionals, including investment expert Ken Suslow, founder and Managing Partner at Sandbridge Capital, will also be on hand to guide the class through important financial business decisions. For the second year running, the beauty branding agency School House will offer brand workshops and strategy programs that focus on providing a bespoke approach to each founder's brand and critical tips for success as a Sephora-stocked company.
"We are very excited to welcome all 2023 finalists to the Accelerate program and into the Sephora family," says Priya Venkatesh, Sephora's Senior Vice President of Global Merchandising. "Our program continues to create spaces for BIPOC-founded and owned brands representing our clients and the world today, all while providing meaningful support for growing brands to succeed." Through Sephora's program and other like-minded accelerator initiatives such as The Workshop at Macy's, the industry is taking steps towards a more inclusive, minority-focused outlook.
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