Cosmetic giant Sephora makes changes after being outed for its racial bias, which includes doubling up on the Black-owned brands that are available at its retail locations. The study was conducted over a year and released earlier this month.
According to the study conducted by Kelton Global and global strategic consulting company, LRW, 20% of retail shoppers and employees said they have experienced unfair treatment based on their race or skin tone. Additionally, 74% of shoppers say Sephora has failed in showcasing diversity in its marketing. Black shoppers are twice as likely to receive unfair treatment than White shoppers. The findings also showed racial bias among its employees. One in five employees reported unfair treatment from their colleagues based on their race and one in three employees have contemplated quitting following their experience with racial bias.
Retail racism experts Dr. David Crockett, Dr. Patricia Raspberry, Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor, and Whitney Dunlap-Fowler contributed to the study as well.
“We recognize that racial bias affects our stores, just as it affects all retailers,” Sephora’s CEO, Deborah Yeh, told Insider. “Discrimination and unfair treatment are woven into institutions across America, and retail is not excepted.”
Since the results have been released the international makeup chain has committed to making key changes, in addition, to featuring more Black brands. Sephora says they will double their brand to 16- just 16. Other changes will include cutting back on security in its 500 stores and providing unconscious bias training to their employees. Additionally, the company pledges to create a program to help entrepreneurs of color.
Sephora Sis, You Played Yourself
This is not the first time the company has been under fire for its racial bias. Back in 2019, Sephora racially profiled the R&B singer SZA. After this incident, the company closed its stores across the country for an hour to conduct a class on inclusivity and diversity.
Back in 2017, a video of Black customers accusing a White saleswoman of racism went viral. And now we have this mess in 2021 to add to Sephora’s rap sheet of problematic racism. It’s not that fact the Sephora held classes or doubled up on black-owned cosmetic brands, it is their tone-deafness for me. It’s the not having more than Fenty easily accessible in the first place for me.
As a Black woman, I know how difficult it is to do something as simple as grocery shopping. It is a shame that big multinational companies like Sephora have to undergo some kind of rebranding and reconstructing to accommodate those who should have been included in the first place.
I want to believe Sephora is doing the right thing here. However, because of the company’s racial undertones, Sephora lost its profit. So, I just see this as a way for the company to gain back that monetary loss rather than sincerity.
But only time will tell if the company is really willing to turn over a new leaf.
Deanna Kenner is an Atlanta native. She is a recent college graduate from Georgia State University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her favorite is blue as you may tell by her funky hair color and she has a passion for writing and reading.