BIPOC Voices, Opinions

Retailers should pledge at least 15% of shelf space to Black-owned brands

Maybe that isn’t enough.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jun 27, 2020

Aurora James, Black founder of shoe brand Brother Vellies is using her platform to make waves in the fight for justice. Just two weeks ago she sent out a request on Instagram. In very few words she asked brands, specifically big brands, to pledge 15% of their shelves to Black-owned businesses all year long. And it worked.

Miss James came up with the number because Black people make up 15% of the U.S. population. Aurora believes that the pledge could transform Black communities and the retailers themselves. According to her calculations, it could pour $14.5 billion back into Black communities. It would be a way to confront blind spots and an actionable task to partner with their supportive claims for Black lives. 



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The 15 Percent Pledge has a three part plan: conducting an audit of existing suppliers, publishing findings privately and publicly, and developing real strategies to bring more Black suppliers. “This is about understanding what systems you have in place that make it hard for Black people to thrive at your company or even get in through the doors at all,” James stated to The New York Times.  

Aurora has asked Target, Whole Foods, Shopbop, Net-a-Porter, Rent the Runway and many other brands to take a stance. To see the full list of retailers you must sign the petition. 

Supporting Black communities should be more than just words. The Fifteen Percent Pledge allows retailers to do just that.