To train its staff on proper and fair diversity practices, Sephora announced its decision to temporarily close all U.S. stores to enact this change. The shutdown will take place on Wednesday (June 5), CNN reports.
“Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences,” a statement on the brand’s Facebook reads. “We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included.”
At the end of April, singer-songwriter SZA tweeted her experience at a Calabasas, Calif., based store, claiming an employee believed she was going to shoplift. “Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing,” SZA said. “We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy.” The revelation prompted a public response from Sephora’s Twitter account, stating, “You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.”
The news follows a similar path taken by Starbucks last year. The coffee conglomerate enacted an anti-bias training program by shutting down 8,000 stores across the United States. The decision followed an incident at a Philadelphia store where officers were called on two black men by a store’s employee. The two men said they were just meeting at the restaurant and were apprehended even though they weren’t committing a crime.
You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.
— Sephora (@Sephora) May 1, 2019
The brand also issued a lengthy statement on the matter:
“Sephora is a client-centric company and creating a welcoming space for all our clients is our top priority. The “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign has been in the works for a year, and the plan to close our U.S. stores, distribution centers, call centers and corporate office for a one-hour inclusivity workshop with our 16,000 employees has been in development for over six months, timed with our first campaign chapter debuting on June 6th. This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors.While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever. Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to re-commit to building an environment of inclusion. We’ll be discussing what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities, and more. This week marks the first step in our journey, and with the goal of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the beauty category, we hope that We Belong to Something Beautiful helps further foster that belief, for the benefit of our clients, for the betterment of the industry and our communities at large.”