Beauty entrepreneur Sharon Chuter was approached by what felt like “every retailer on the planet” last year after the Black Lives Matter movement exposed how few Black-owned brands are carried by national chains.
After many companies published messages of solidarity with the anti-racism movement, Chuter started the hashtag #PullUporShutUp, urging brands to disclose how many Black leaders they employ. That, along with designer Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge urging retailers to spend 15 percent of their buying budgets on Black-owned businesses and other pressure campaigns by activists and consumer groups, sent retailers scrambling to add more Black-owned brands to their shelves and websites.
But like many Black founders, Chuter found the offers that rolled in underwhelming. She had launched Uoma at Ulta Beauty and Selfridges in 2019 and wanted any new wholesale partners to take her brand as seriously as Revlon or L’Oréal. Instead, many retailers proposed short-term, high-margin