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Why Diversity and Inclusivity Are Vital in Beauty

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Since its inception, Landing has been committed to advancing inclusivity, diversity and ethical business in beauty and wellness. By championing brands committed to these values–both large and small–we hope to create a more positive future for our industry and the people who love beauty. 

As a minority and woman-owned business, these values have long been at the forefront of our thinking. But for many, a new awareness emerged in the summer of 2020 during racial justice protests around the country. Suddenly, beauty customers turned their attention to who they were supporting every time they purchased their favorite mascara or body balm. As a result, brands and retailers alike were spotlighted for their lack of representation and diversity. 

Nearly two years later, the industry has made some changes. Beauty powerhouses like Sephora, Ulta, and BlueMercury have joined department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in signing the 15 Percent Pledge, a commitment to raising their percentage of Black-owned brands.  But there’s still a long way to go. So why does it matter? Here are the top three reasons we think diversity and inclusivity are vital in our industry. 

It Creates a More Expansive Definition of Beauty

For centuries, Western beauty standards have defined how many of us judge our own worth. From an increase in plastic surgery to disordered eating, it’s impossible to overstate the impact of narrow beauty norms on global culture and mental health. A more diverse beauty landscape creates hope for change. Because BIPOC-owned brands are more likely to hire diverse employees, they’re also more likely to create products meant for a wide range of people and reflect more inclusivity in their marketing. While it’s unlikely that one brand alone can dismantle centuries of conditioning around beauty norms, incremental change in the types of beauty we celebrate as a culture can have a huge impact on how the next generation measures their self-worth. 

It Paves the Way for More Diversity In the Boardroom 

Among the top 20 beauty companies, only 15% have female CEOs–shocking considering that the majority of beauty consumers identify as women. A 2016 report by LedBetter, a research group that measures the gender disparity, found that only 29% of board and executive positions in beauty are held by women. And yet, it seems that every exciting new indie brand on shelves is led by a woman. As buzzy women-led indie brands transform into industry leaders and are acquired by industry giants, our hope is to see more women in beauty boardrooms. 

It Introduces More Investment Opportunity for Historically Excluded Founders 

In 2020, women-led startups received just 2.3% of VC funding and Black founders received under 2%. And while there’s little data on LGBTQ+-owned businesses, Backstage Capital estimated they receive less than 1% of VC funding. Increased diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry will help adjust these statistics. Programs like Sephora’s Accelerate help BIPOC founders get their brands into Sephora stores while also receiving mentorship and support from fellow industry professionals and investors. Ulta recently announced plans for a similar program, which will include $5 million in a venture capital fund for their early stage companies. Programs like these help minority founders demonstrate retail traction with investors so they are more likely to get the investment they seek. 

Curious how Landing is working to create a more diverse and inclusive industry? Read about our partnership with J.C. Penney in this piece written by Landing CEO Sarah Chung. 

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