UPDATE: Aug. 21, 2019: Sephora reached out to HR Dive to provide the following statement: "The 'We Belong to Something Beautiful' campaign has been in the works for a year, and the plan to close our U.S. stores, distribution centers, call centers and corporate office for a one-hour inclusivity workshop with our 16,000 employees has been in development for over six months, timed with our first campaign chapter debuting on June 6th. This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors. While it is true that SZA's experience occurred prior to the launch of the 'We Belong to Something Beautiful' campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever."
- Sephora has announced more updates to its ongoing diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives, a press statement said. For its "Color Up Close" program, which includes improved color-matching tech for in-store customers shopping for foundation and concealer, Sephora said it will continue providing a "curriculum of research-driven inclusive beauty education for all store staff," with "daily virtual learning modules and more in-depth trainings across all levels and leadership."
- The company said it plans to have all its U.S. staff participate in at least 10 different "training touchpoints" by the end of the year. Thus far, these learning opportunities have addressed building inclusive team cultures and understanding gender fluidity, according to the statement.
- Sephora recently conducted an inclusivity workshop at it headquarters, stores and distribution centers following an accusation of racial discrimination in one of its stores. "Color up Close" is one of several measures it has taken to advance inclusion within its organization since then.
These initiatives are part of Sephora's recent efforts to further its inclusivity as a brand following singer SZA's public accusation on social media that she was racially profiled in one of its stores in April of this year. The company then conducted its June D&I workshop for employees and launched a new marketing campaign.
Sephora isn't the only company who has been accused of discrimination. Fellow beauty retailer Ulta allegedly instructed employees to follow black and Latino customers around its stores to ensure they weren't stealing, former and current employees have recently said. Following a viral video of a Starbucks manager calling the police on two black men waiting inside a store, Starbucks closed its more than 8,000 stores to give racial bias training to every employee. Similarly, the CEO of Nordstrom apologized to three teenage shoppers who were racially profiled by store staff in 2018, which prompted the company to undergo an internal investigation at the time.
Many consumers want businesses to be more aware of D&I. Employees are also increasingly looking to their companies to be more inclusive, as well as become stewards of broader social missions. From middle-market employers to international companies, many have committed to improving their inclusivity in an effort to attract and retain talent and better serve customers.