Making Good on Its Promise to BIPOC Beauty Brands, Sephora Is Centering Them in Its 2021 Accelerate Program

Illustration for article titled Making Good on Its Promise to BIPOC Beauty Brands, Sephora Is Centering Them in Its 2021 Accelerate Program
Photo: Grand Warszawski (Shutterstock)

Beauty emporium Sephora just took another step in fulfilling the promise it made this June when it agreed to dedicate at least 15 percent of its shelf space to Black-owned brands as part of Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge. In response, the retailer revamped its Accelerate incubation program for 2021, with an exclusive focus on POC-founded and owned brands.


Now in its sixth year, the Accelerate incubator is a six-month, female entrepreneur-focused program that includes a one-week boot camp, mentorship, grants, and funding. Historically, a final “Demo Day” has granted participants the enviable opportunity to pitch and potentially launch their brand with Sephora, but as the brand tells The Glow Up via a statement:

For the past five years, Sephora Accelerate has been dedicated to cultivating a community of female-owned brands. The retailer’s goal now is to provide founders with the community and ecosystem to support their launch at Sephora...

Beginning in 2021, Sephora’s intention is to launch each brand, in the capacity that makes sense, that participates in the Accelerate program in its entirety.

We’ve already seen some Black-owned success stories emerge from Accelerate. Just ask beauty industry veteran-turned-entrepreneur Maeva Heim of Australian haircare brand Bread, who credits the program with readying her sustainable, millennial-focused brand for Sephora’s international platform.

Applications for Accelerate opened on Thursday and will be accepted through October 15. The requirements are as follows:

  • Be a merchandise (makeup, skincare, fragrance, wellness, hair and accessory) product brand
  • Lead a US-incorporated company
  • Be founded or co-founded by a person (at least 18 years old)
  • Be an early-stage brand (with at least a lab sample or prototype) not yet distributed widely by others

Again, applications are open now through October 15. Those interested can visit to apply.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?