Target said its Racial Equity Action and Change strategy, which focuses on consumers, employees, communities, and civic engagement and public policy, is helping make faster and more meaningful progress toward racial equality across its business.
“Our commitment to spend $2 billion will help us create more equitable experiences for our Black guests, and use our company’s size, scale and resources to create economic opportunities for Black-owned businesses that extend outside of Target,” the retailer said.
An example is Forward Founders, a program designed to help Black entrepreneurs early in their startup journey by teaching them how to grow and scale their businesses. Forward Founders was built on the success of the Target Accelerators program and co-created with Black entrepreneurs from its advisory council.
Target has talked about inclusivity before. In June of last year, as civil unrest broke out across Minneapolis – where Target’s headquarters is located – over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, the retailer’s CEO Brian Cornell said, “Target stands with Black families, communities and team members. As we face an inflection point in Minneapolis and across the country, we’re listening to our team, guests and communities, committed to using our size, scale and resources to help heal and create lasting change.”
The retailer’s “initial efforts” last year included, a $10 million investment from Target and the Target Foundation to support long-standing partners such as the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum; 10,000 hours of pro-bono consulting services for Black- and people-of-color-owned small businesses in the Twin Cities, helping with rebuilding efforts; and continuing to provide essentials such as baby formula, diapers, and medicine, among other things, to communities most in need.
“We have a rich history of working with diverse businesses,” said Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief growth officer, adding that Target’s Black-Owned Business Vendor Fair, offers resource and mentorship opportunities. “Many of those partners go on to do business with Target, including in our beauty category, where we have a strong representation of 50 Black-owned and Black-founded brands and counting.”
One of those beauty brands is Mented, it’s name short for pigmented. “We’re a pigment-first beauty company,” said Amanda E. Johnson, cofounder and COO. “We celebrate women of all hues. We know what it feels like to be “other.” Pernell Cezar, cofounder and CEO of Blk & Bold, specialty coffee, said the company creates beverages that are more accessible and make an impact by giving 5% of profits to support people in need across the U.S.
Target’s marketing has addressed other neglected constituencies. It embraced body diversity, with a range of body types appearing in the retailer’s swimwear campaign, which in 2016 appeared with the hashtag, NOFOMO – No Fear of Missing Out.
Around the same time, Target identified a void in the then-$17.5 billion plus-size market. The retailer was one of the first major mass merchants to address the plus-size business with it own collection, Ava & Viv. Target consulted plus-size bloggers and used their feedback to design the brand.
Target was called out in 2020 by The 15% Pledge, an organization that challenges retailers to set aside 15% of their shelf space for Black-owned brands, since Blacks make up almost 15% of the U.S. population. According to the organization’s web site, retailers such as Macy’s
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