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Big Names Among the Latest Retailers to Join the 15 Percent Pledge

In June, Canadian fashion designer, Aurora James started the 15% Pledge movement that promotes racial justice and social equality by urging companies to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. The idea behind the number is the fact African Americans make up almost 15% of the total U.S. population.

As the owner of luxury shoe brand, Brother Vellies, James honors the pledge with her brand by continuously inspiring the Black community to find their voice and feel comfortable in their skin.

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“The 15 Percent Pledge was launched out of the need for increased representation in the workforce and financial equality for Black-owned businesses,” said James.

The campaign already works with large retailers like beauty brand Sephora, cannabis retailer MedMen, Canada’s biggest bookstore Indigo, fashion magazine Vogue, and even the modern furniture and home décor shop West Elm.

President of West Elm, Alex Bellos, said in July when they joined the pledge: “We are determined to use our purchasing power to create economic empowerment for Black-owned businesses, artists and designers. We look forward to working with the 15 Percent Pledge to ensure our commitments make an immediate and sustained impact.”

Now Macy’s just made the big news. The American department store giant announced its bold commitment to the 15% pledge, with plans to support Black businesses, Black staff, and Black communities.

Macy’s is said to be the largest retailer to join the pledge to date, paving the way for others to boost Black-business by increasing representation of Black-owned companies across all its product categories.


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A post shared by Aurora James 🦢 (@aurorajames)

InStyle Magazine also just announced their commitment to the 15% pledge, writing the following message on their Instagram account: “Not only are we taking the Pledge, we plan to commit 15 percent of our coverage to Black-owned businesses; focus on diversity and inclusivity in our representation of models, celebrities, and additional features; as well as pledge to amplify Black creatives and spotlight voices of Black experts, stylists, and artists to avoid incorrect attribution and appropriation.”


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A post shared by instylemagazine (@instylemagazine)

The fact that brands are stepping up to ensure their commitment to Black businesses and putting it front and center is a testiment that for consumers, brands’ words are not enough and they need to put them in action.

At the beginning of the BLM movement, numerous brands were showing support to the Black community, for instance posting black images to their social media accounts on #BlackOutTuesday.

A genuine commitment to the 15% pledge is a whole other ball game that really shows a brand’s values and drive towards racial equity. Joining the commitment and announcing it to the public is a huge leap towards proactively giving back to the Black community.

If you’re wondering, consumers can also do their part. The 15% pledge organization states the following Consumer Commitments:

Step 1: Take Inventory (of your own spending power)

Step 2: Buy Black (at least 15% of your monthly spending)

Step 3: Donate ($15 a month goes a long way)



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