This Instagram post could unlock hundreds of millions of dollars for Black-owned businesses
CNBC | August 9, 2020
In the days following the death of George Floyd, Brooklyn-based entrepreneur Aurora James was skeptical of the deluge of corporate support for the Black community.
In a handwritten note posted to her personal Instagram page, James made a simple ask to retailers: Commit to having 15% of suppliers be Black-owned businesses.
“So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power,” she said. “So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your posts seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space.
James called out large retailers by name, including Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, and Sephora. The message went viral, garnering over 34,000 likes on Instagram. Within a week, she registered the 15 Percent Pledge as a government-recognized non-profit.
With Sephora, Rent The Runway and West Elm signed up so far and startups like Bread’s products coming to stores soon, it’s clear the pledge is starting to make a real impact.