Macy’s, America’s largest division retailer, guarantees Aurora James 15 % to spice up black companies
As the mandate for diversity and inclusion across America grows, Macy’s is stepping up its efforts.
Brother Vellies founder Aurora James and one of the leading voices in the fashion industry on diversity and inclusion, announced today that the department store has taken on the 15 Percent Promise, a nonprofit that James launched this summer has to strengthen the black brands. Much like its nickname, the pledge calls on retailers to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to black-owned labels.
James, the Person of the Year for the Footwear News Achievement Awards, shared the news on her personal Instagram account and praised Macy’s, the largest department store in the United States, for accepting the challenge.
“Your bold commitment to reaching 15% across all categories and supporting black-owned businesses in this country is monumental,” wrote James. “This pledge represents billions of dollars that are being given to support black businesses, black people and black communities. I couldn’t be more proud of the brilliant team at Macy’s and the work that we have all done over the past few months and that we will continue to do for years to come. There is a difference between those who commit and those who limit themselves and black people in this country who deserve commitments. Thank you! On and on, it’s time to celebrate! “
The initiative, based on the fact that 15% of the US population is black, encourages retailers to commit to devoting the same percentage of their shelf space to businesses owned and founded by blacks. The promise has already been signed by Rent the Runway, Sephora and Vogue.
Macy’s, one of the first major fashion retailers to hire a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2018, increasingly voiced its strategy of promoting diversity and inclusion in its company. This strategy, which was revised last year, consists of a “five-part approach” that includes 50% gender / gender identity, ethnicity, age, height and disabled people in its advertising by 2020. 30% ethnic diversity at the senior director level and above by 2025; and a plan to achieve diverse supplier spend of at least 5% by 2021.
The story goes on
Earlier this month, Macy’s announced its intention to sign the 15 percent pledge in a series of slides filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It did not provide a timeline for when the 15% shelf space target would be achieved, but noted that a workshop would be held on the initiative in April 2021. This was also stated on the slides, which were part of an 8K filing with the SEC, that there would be Black Designer collaborations within its trademarks.
Last year Macy’s celebrated the 10th anniversary of its workshop at Macy’s, a development program to promote and support minority and women-owned companies. To date, the program, launched by Macy’s Chief Diversity Officer Shawn Outler, has supported more than 125 women-owned companies, including vegan shoe brand Loly in the Sky and oversized women’s label Eleven60, both of which sell at Macy’s become. The workshop was also expanded to include veteran and LGBTQ companies as classifications.
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