Back for their seventh year, Sephora's Accelerate Brand Incubator Program is continuing to focus on supporting founders of color. This year the program has selected BIPOC beauty brand founders that span across the full range of the Sephora product universe, including makeup, skincare, haircare, and for the first time ever— fragrance. Earlier this year, Sephora vowed a commitment to increase their BIPOC representation in their prestige beauty assortment as well as the industry at large.

“We are committed to ensuring that the brands and products found at Sephora represent all the colors, races, and ethnicities that make up America, effectively building a beauty community to which everyone feels they belong,” said Priya Venkatesh, SVP Merchandising, Skin Care and Hair, Sephora. “To do so, it’s important that brand founders of all backgrounds have the opportunity and resources they need to grow their businesses and thrive. Through the Accelerate program, Sephora is committed to giving founders the long-term mentorship, access to market, and scale they need to truly accelerate growth, with the program serving as a springboard for nascent brands to become visible, viable, stable, and financially solvent.”

The program starts with onboarding into the Sephora ecosystem in preparation for boot camp, where they will have the opportunity to form relationships with their merchant sponsors and fellow participants. Additionally, they will have an opportunity to kick off their branding, product development, and finance journeys, among other topics from January to March. In April, the finalists complete a week-long series of education and inspiration sessions, with an internal and external curriculum focused on setting up brands for long-term success. Sessions will be led by executives from experienced beauty brands including Briogeo, Tower 28, Kosas, Milk Makeup, Tatcha, and First Aid Beauty. Graduation will be held in late May or early June where each founder will give a formal presentation to senior-level Sephora leaders about their brand journey and the expertise gleaned during the program. 

Among the 10 finalists chosen, below are the Black-owned brands included in the cohort:

Selah Lemon, Founder, House of Foster

House of Foster is a modern fragrance house committed to crafting uncompromising fragrance that doesn't make you choose between wellness, aesthetic, and sustainability. 

Carolina Contreras, Founder, Miss Rizos

Born in the Dominican Republic over ten years ago first as an online platform that educates, celebrates, and advocates for curly women and girls, Miss Rizos has cultivated and grown a following of curly hair enthusiasts from all over the world. For the past seven years, Miss Rizos also operates two curly salons in New York City and the Dominican Republic. Its curly hair products embody all the experience, love, and commitment they have for their community as they try to change the world one curl at a time.

Krys Lunardo, Founder, Sistine

Sistine is an inclusive cabinet of clean skincare formulas for the ecocentric eccentric, curated to match the protective and nourishing properties of the earth’s four spheres, with clean ingredients extracted from nutrient-rich plant life. The brand believes that beauty is our orbit, where the co-existential harmony of humans and eco-care is balanced.

Scarlett Rocourt, Founder, Wonder Curl 

Wonder Curl is a Black-owned, vegan hair care line that improves the texture of natural hair by keeping hair nourished and hydrated for days without rewetting or restyling. The brand aims to provide its customers with the best products that will improve the texture of their hair as well as allow them to enhance their natural curl pattern while achieving any hairstyle they want.