These Retailers are Committing to Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge

The founder of Brother Vellies is asking businesses to carry at least 15% of Black-owned brands.

Aurora James is not just asking major retailers to voice their support, she’s urging them to take action. For the past two weeks, the founder and designer of Brother Vellies has spoken on social media about the importance of supporting Black-owned brands and designers, as well as how many businesses are “built on Black spending power.” 

“Black-Owned Businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and they are closing right before our eyes at a rapid pace,” Aurora James wrote. “They are the most vulnerable and have received the least amount of economic support.” 

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@wholefoods @target @shopmedmen @walmart @saks @sephora @netaporter @barnesandnoble @homedepot I am asking you to commit to buying 15% of your products from Black owned businesses. . So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are 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. . Whole Foods if you were to sign on to this pledge, it could immediately drive much needed support to Black farmers. Banks will be forced to take them seriously because they will be walking in with major purchase orders from Whole Foods. Investors for the very first time will start actively seeking them out. Small businesses can turn into bigger ones. Real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into our Black communities. . Dont get me wrong, I understand the complexities of this request. I am a business Woman. I have sold millions of dollars of product over the years at a business I started with $3500 at a flea market. So I am telling you we can get this figured out. This is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to get in the right side of this. . So for all of the ‘what can we do to help?’ questions out there, this is my personal answer. #15PercentPledge . I will get texts that this is crazy. I will get phone calls that this is too direct, too big of an ask, too this, too that. But I don’t think it’s too anything, in fact I think it’s just a start. You want to be an ally? This is what I’m asking for.

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Therefore, as a way to support the Black community at this time and moving forward, Aurora James is asking businesses like Target, Whole Foods, and Walmart to commit 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Her economic proposal, dubbed the 15 Percent Pledge, is divided into three parts: 

1) Take stock. Assess the current percentage of business given to Black-owned brands and suppliers. 

2) Take ownership. Address any biases within one’s business practices and publicly releases these findings. 

3) Take action. Don’t just strive to reach inclusivity, but instead make a plan to actually achieve it. 

“Black people spend trillions of dollars in this country every year, but yet represent an insignificant fraction of how these companies allocate their purchasing power,” James told InStyle. “I am asking these huge corporations to rethink their business strategy, as well as rethink business relationships in order to fairly represent the Black community on their shelves.”

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Black-Owned Businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and they are closing right before our eyes at a rapid pace. They are the most vulnerable and have received the least amount of economic support. All while businesses like @wholefoods @target @walmart thrive. Economic Equality means enacting real change. Taking the @15percentpledge is ONE thing retailers can do to help • . I am calling on businesses of all sorts and consumers to look at this economic pledge in 3 parts: . 1) Auditing and taking stock of where you are at. Look at your existing shelves, hangers, boardrooms and receipts. How many Black-Owned businesses are you buying? How many Black Women are in your C-Suite? Do that work. . 2) Take ownership of where you’re at – ideally publicly. Maybe only 2% of your staff is black, 1% of your content, whatever it is just own it. Accept it. Take accountability. . 3) Commit to growth. What is your strategy to get to a minimum of 15% and how do you plan to be held accountable? . I am not saying this is easy. I’m saying this is necessary. #15percentpledge . Graphic by @monachalabi @15percentpledge

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Ever since its official launch on June 1, the 15 Percent Pledge has already received immense support through the use of the #15percentpledge hashtag and drawing over 29,000 followers on its Instagram page. Many individuals have also signed the pledge’s petition, which can be viewed here

In regards to the fashion industry, major retailers have vocalized their support for Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge by committing to the mission and donating to organizations related to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“I am not saying this is easy. I’m saying this is necessary,” James wrote

Check out which retailers have committed to Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge below: 


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Like so many, I have followed recent events with mounting horror. I believe what counts right now is tangible and lasting action. As our new CEO, I am determined to do all I can to make our business more inclusive, and today I can announce the first three steps: First, we will raise our consciousness and accountability by listening harder. I have started to consult with a number of our Black colleagues, and I was distressed to hear them share some of their experiences. At the suggestion of one of our colleagues, a Black Employees Forum is being established. The forum will enable us to continue to consult with our communities and work with them to put into action a racial equality learning programme across the business over the next few weeks. Second, we will step up our efforts to achieve greater diversity among the designers we retail. Designers from minority backgrounds have been under-represented in the fashion industry for decades so righting this wrong won’t happen overnight, but we can and will do more to address the imbalance. One small step we at MATCHESFASHION can take is to publish an annual breakdown of the designers we support by ethnic background. We commit to make our first disclosure by the end of August. Third, we will work harder to get better representation of different communities at every level in our business. We are setting ourselves new goals and measures to speed up our progress and, again, we commit to publishing an annual breakdown of colleagues at different levels of seniority by ethnic background. These are modest measures but I believe they will make us more conscious as a colleague community, more accountable as a management team, and ultimately a better business. Ajay Kavan, CEO MATCHESFASHION

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Rent the Runway

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We want our actions as a business to be substantive and systematic, so we are doing the slow work to build a clear and sustained long-term strategy to fight systemic racism and make Rent the Runway, and the wider fashion industry, more diverse and anti-racist. ⁣ ⁣ Today, we are donating $100,000 to immediately support organizations combating racial injustice, including @NAACP and @blackvisionscollective. We will also be allocating an additional $1,000,000 to support Black designers through our wholesale, platform and co-manufacturing initiatives, which includes providing design resources, data, mentorship and financial support to create collections for RTR. It is critically important to us that a significant portion of our $1M goes towards launching fashion brands from Black designers who have not had the investment capital to launch on their own. ⁣ ⁣ For too long, the fashion industry has co-opted the style, inspiration and ideas of Black culture without ensuring that Black people are economically compensated for this. Therefore, we will also support @aurorajames’ #15PercentPledge. We are committing today that at least 15% of the fashion talent that we feature and support moving forward are from the Black community, inclusive of the models in our marketing, the ambassadors we use, and the styling talent, photographers, videographers and crews behind the camera. ⁣ ⁣ We know that the Black community is tired of the long-standing racism and violence. We also acknowledge the cyclical nature of society’s attention to moments of such injustice, so we vow to take systematic actions as a business that will last beyond this current moment in time. This is just the start, and we look forward to sharing further details on other plans soon. Our work has just begun.⁣

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Violet Grey

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We can do better. Here are our next steps.

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Loho Bride 

Nox Shop

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Please visit our journal for the details of each Action and a more legible version of the posted text ❤️ Firstly we’d like to thank all of you for participating in last week’s fundraising. We are so proud that you’ve raised over $40K for organizations both in the United States and here in Montreal. But now, we want to talk about what’s next ⭐️ There’s a lot of talk about taking time to listen and learn and we’d like to be transparent about what we’ve been talking about during this time. While we may be a very small business, that doesn’t mean we can’t take action in big ways. From the beginning, Nox has always aimed to be an inclusive space: we are pro-queer, pro-Black, and pro-sex work and trauma-informed. As a natural extension of our politics and support of these groups, we are anti-police, we believe in defunding the police and deeply support the right to protest for these aims. This also means, as a white-owned business, that we are aware that we need to be constantly working to learn, to lend our support, and acknowledge our privilege. Our learning includes acknowledging the mistakes we’ve made and the ways we must improve. ❤️ Action 1: Donating 10% of Monthly Sales (starting immediately and in perpetuity) ? Action 2: A $5K Annual Grant ? Action 3: Taking The @15percentpledge at @nox_lounge ? Action 4: Hiring More Marginalized Voices for Freelance ? Please find more details on the Journal ❤️ xo Team Nox

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Threads Styling


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Undoubtedly and unequivocally, Black Lives Matter. We are outraged and heartbroken by the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many more going back far too many years. We stand in solidarity with the fight against the centuries of white supremacy, institutional racism, and systemic oppression of the Black community. However, we know that this Instagram post alone does not make for tangible action, and there is so much work to be done.  As a team, we pledge to continuously examine, challenge, and expand the ways in which we use our platform to create positive change in our communities and in the skincare industry as a whole. Specifically, within our industry, we are inspired by @aurorajames’ #15PercentPledge. We are committed to (1) working towards stocking at least 15% of our shelves with Black-owned brands and (2) launching a program that donates both funding and consulting to Black entrepreneurs in the skincare industry who would benefit from additional resources. We have to start somewhere. More details to come by July. We must make an individual and collective commitment to be actively anti-racist on a daily basis. If you feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start, we’re collecting a number of resources for action and education in our Stories which will be stored under “Resources” in our Highlights. We are also here to learn and to listen. How are you feeling? Who are you learning from right now? What are your ideas? Let us know. ⬇️

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Last year I created @daniellebernstein to be inclusive and affordable with my designs. And for my first launch, invited women of all different sizes and backgrounds to take part in a photoshoot.⁣ ⁣ This season I shot the collection on myself, @solangevandoorn (pictured here), and @nicolettemason. ⁣ I’ve been meeting with my teams to discuss ways we can extend this mission of inclusivity. And specifically how my brands and companies can support the Black community right now and always. ⁣ ⁣ We are pledging 100% our marketing budget this season to badass Black influencers and models who will create beautiful imagery in my new designs! ⁣ ⁣ I recognize that these efforts – though heading toward the right direction – are simply small steps and want to ensure that we continue to uphold the pillars of diversity and inclusivity.⁣ ⁣ And we won’t stop here, I’m joining the FIFTEEN PERCENT PLEDGE which will continue this every season going forward.

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