Feb 10, 2021
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Sephora announces participants for incubator program focused on BIPOC beauty founders

Feb 10, 2021

Sephora has announced the eight brands selected to participate in the makeup giant's 2021 Accelerate incubator program, which features a group of exclusively founders of color for the first time ever.

Olamide Olowe of beauty brand, Topicals. - Twitter @topicals

The 2021 participants include Christina Funke Tegbe, founder of natural beauty brand 54 Thrones; Marie Kouadio Amouzame and Alice Lin Glover, co-founders of 'smart melanin beauty' brand, Eadem; Alisia Michelle Ford, founder and CEO of skincare brand, Glory; Desiree Verdejo, founder and CEO of Hyper Skin; Nia Wellman, founder of textured hair brand, Imania Beauty; Priyanka Ganjoo, founder of Kulfi Beauty, a beauty brand dedicated to South Asian skin tones; Megan Graham, founder of travel-beauty and toiletries brand, Ries; and Olamide Olowe, founder and CEO of beauty brand, Topicals. 

Now in its sixth year, the program's focus on founders of color comes as part of Sephora's increasing number of commitments to increasing BIPOC representation in prestige beauty and on Sephora shelves. Over the course of 2020, the company joined Aurora James' '15 Percent Pledge,' committing to devote 15% of its shelf space to Black-owned companies; first announced that this latest incubator program would be focused on BIPOC beauty founders in October; and, to kick off 2021, unveiled a new action plan in the U.S. to help combat racial bias in January. 

As part of this year's virtual program, participants will have access to six-months' worth of programming, including a business-building bootcamp, one-on-one mentorship from beauty industry and Sephora leaders, monetary funding including grants, and a shot at pitching their company to industry experts, investors, and senior-level Sephora leaders at the end of the program in May. Participants will also receive feedback and exposure to leading investment firms and venture capitalists, the company said. 

Participating advisors in the program include Nancy Twine of Briogeo and Vicky Tsai of Tatcha, in addition to investors, Janet Gurwitch of Advent International and Alissa Williams of VMG, Sephora said. 

Upon completion of the program, all participating brands will launch at Sephora. 

“Last year, we made a commitment to dedicate fifteen percent of Sephora's assortment to Black-owned brands, and we quickly realized the role that our Accelerate program could play in not only helping us to reach that goal, but to set these brands up for long-term success and growth,” said Artemis Patrick, Sephora’s executive vice president and global chief merchandising officer. 

“The goal of this program has long been to provide meaningful, ongoing support for growing brands, and that is exactly what we’re aiming to deliver to our 2021 Accelerate cohort. Each of the eight participating founders is inspiring in their own right, and we believe wholeheartedly in their potential at Sephora; we are so excited to help shape their futures and to ultimately introduce these brands to our clients.”

In previous years, Sephora's incubator program focused on international female beauty founders. Throughout its run, the program has supported the launch of more than 50 women-owned brands.

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