Today, Sephora North America announced the names of eight BIPOC brand founders who will join its 2024 Accelerate program, a longstanding brand incubator that supports emerging beauty businesses. Sephora’s Accelerate program continues to serve as a pathway to success for many BIPOC-founded and -owned brands, with this year’s cohort spanning the haircare, makeup, skincare, and fragrance categories.
Now in its ninth year, the Sephora Accelerate program continues to focus on building a community of innovative, inspirational brand founders in the beauty space; it creates a foundation, network, and ecosystem for brands to launch and thrive. The program features a 360-degree, six-month curriculum with mentorship, merchandising support, grants, and investor connections for all participants, with the opportunity to launch at Sephora North America upon completion.
“We are thrilled to reveal the 2024 finalists of the Accelerate program and officially welcome them to the Sephora family,” shared Kristin Odegaard, Sr. Director, Merchandising Strategy and Business Development at Sephora. “This year, we received more than 800 applications – a record-setting number of applications in Accelerate program history – which we believe is a testament to the unique and differentiated curriculum we’re able to offer, plus the strength of our community. Accelerate continues to serve as a vehicle for discovering, cultivating, and even launching these amazing brands that represent so many of our customers and the world today, while providing meaningful support for growing brands to continue to succeed well beyond the program’s completion.”
Meet the 2024 Sephora Accelerate Cohort, demonstrating leadership in beauty:
- Roz Samimi, banuskin – Founded on the belief that acne should never hold you back from safely achieving all your skin care goals, banuskin offers a full range of products formulated for the unique needs of acne-prone skin.
- Hannah Diop, Sienna Naturals – Sienna Naturals was created by Issa Rae and Hannah Diop to elevate the wash day experience for textured hair consumers with clinically-proven, clean products that cleanse, treat, condition and style.
- Yasmin Zeinab, ABI AMÉ – ABI AMÉ creates problem-solving skincare for the body, powered by active ingredients and made in France.
- Diipa Buller-Khosla, indē wild – indē wild is a holistic beauty ecosystem rooted in tradition with revolutionary products that marry 5000+-year-old Ayurvedic superfood ingredients with modern chemistry, creating the world’s first global Ayurvedistry™ brand.
- Katini Yamaoka, Katini Skin – Katini Skin is home to powerful and high-quality facial oils that use wild harvested, natural, and organic flora from around the globe, with a unique focus on hero ingredients that pay tribute to Katini’s cultural heritage across Africa, Japan, and Australia.
- Teri Johnson, Harlem Perfume Co. – The Harlem Perfume Co. is a luxurious, fine fragrance brand inspired by the heart of Harlem and the soul of jazz.
- Denise Vasi, MAED Beauty – MAED Beauty offers decadent lipcare for daily wear.
- Quani Burnett, Soft Rows – Soft Rows is a culturally-inclusive beauty brand, deeply rooted in high-performing, clean solutions that celebrate texture-rich hair.
This year’s program provides participating brands with comprehensive support and tailored guidance from the retailer’s ecosystem of beauty entrepreneurs and experts, as well access to an expanded network of top-notch operational experts and advisors. With a continued focus on building community and collaboration across the beauty industry, the program features weekly content and curriculum that aims to prepare brands for long-term success, with sessions such as Nancy Twine’s (Briogeo) Financial Readiness; Vicky Tsai’s (Tatcha) Brand + Assortment Strategy; Christine Chang + Sarah Lee’s (Glow Recipe) Social Media + Community; and Marketing Sessions with Amy Liu (Tower 28).
The 2024 Accelerate class will also receive access to 1:1 personalized consulting with Front Row and Clarity Media, plus a dedicated advisory team comprised of beauty industry partners, founders from within the Sephora portfolio and financial professionals.
- Investment experts include Alicia Sontag, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Prelude Growth Partners; Alisa Carmichael, Partner at VMG Partners; Janet Gurwitch, Operating Partner at Advent International, and more.
- Brand Founders + Legacy Partners include Danessa Myricks of Danessa Myricks Beauty, Greg Gonzalez and Joe Cloyes of Youth to the People, Lilli Gordon of First Aid Beauty, Wende Zomnir of Urban Decay + Caliray, and more.
Through this journey, brands will gain the necessary skills and relationships to build and sustain a successful business through consistent, cohesive, and ongoing support backed by digital and in-person resources with content and curriculum directly correlated to helping founders succeed at Sephora.
All 2024 participants applied to the program in Fall 2023. Eligible applicants were required to be at least 18 years old, have a North American-incorporated company, and be in the early stages of development (i.e., not yet widely distributed by others). In selecting finalists, Sephora also considered each brand’s vision, innovation, and current stage of product development.
Since its debut in North America 25 years ago, Sephora has been a leader in prestige omni-retail with the mission of creating an inviting beauty shopping experience and inspiring fearlessness in our community. With the goal of delivering unbiased shopping support and a personalized experience, Sephora invites customers to discover thousands of products from more than 360 carefully curated brands, explore online and through our mobile app, enjoy services at the Beauty Studio and engage with expertly trained Beauty Advisors in more than 600 stores across the Americas. And with its long-term strategic partnerships with Kohl’s, customers can now shop a fully immersive, premium beauty destination, with over 850 locations nationwide. Customers can access the free-to-join Beauty Insider program and digital community, which together enhance the experience of Sephora’s passionate customers.
Sephora has been an industry-leading champion of diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment, guided by our longstanding company values. In 2019, Sephora announced a new tagline and manifesto, “We Belong to Something Beautiful,” to reinforce its dedication to fostering belonging amongst all customers and employees and to publicly strive for a more inclusive vision for retail in the Americas. Sephora continues to give back to our communities and advance inclusion in our industry through its social impact and equity programming, called the Sephora D&I Heart Journey.