Transcript for Changing the retail industry with the 15% Pledge
hustlers We are continuing our black in business week with the founder and creative director of the sustainable homeware and accessories brand brother vellies who created the 15% pledge where she called on big businesses to give 15% of their shelf space to black-owned brands. Joining us now is the woman behind the mission, Aurora James. Thank you for joining us today. This has been such an incredibly difficult time for small businesses. Tell us how you managed to keep your company afloat. It was super hard for us at brother vellies. Obviously during a stay at home order people weren't dying to buy luxury shoes. Now we have a subscription program where we work with artisans to make special little home goods that people are able to receive at home every single month. That's been super helpful to us while our store has been closed. That's wonderful. Tell us how you came up with this 15% pledge. So when everything happened with George Floyd, I was seeing a lot of messages and emails from large retailers saying we stand with you. We support you. As a black woman, I think I was reading it, but I wasn't necessarily believing it. I asked myself what would it take for me to really feel like the targets of the world actually stood with me as a black woman. I said black people are almost 15% of the population in the United States. These major retailers should commit 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses. That sounds amazing. Actions speak louder than words. You have big brands like sephora and west elm already committing to that pledge. Can you talk about some of the other businesses you would like to see on board? Absolutely. I would love to see whole foods and fresh direct get on board. Farmers in this country are suffering more than ever. Black farmers are losing land at an incredibly rapid rate above everyone else. Walmart, of course, we would love to see. Shop bop, Nordstrom, all the big retailers committing to make the pledge will have a huge impact on black-owned businesses and the black community at large. I would love to see accountable change from our retailers. We love it. Aurora James, thank you for joining us today. We really appreciate you taking the time to be with us. Absolutely. Thank you for having me.
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