In April of 2021, big box retailer Target announced its commitment to invest $2 billion with Black-owned businesses and suppliers. The decision came on the heels of a particularly eye-opening 2020 and at time when corporations were finding their footing in an awakened consumer market. In making the commitment, the Minnesota-based retailer challenged outworn thoughts of what was profitable, and infused equity into a business that had greatly benefitted from the Black dollar. A year into the undertaking, a progress announcement revealed that Target was not only on track to meet its commitment, but that it had increased its spend with Black-owned businesses and suppliers by more than 50 percent compared to 2020. That includes doubling the number of Black-owned brands across its full assortment.
“Inclusivity is one of our key values at Target, and our commitment to diversity and inclusion comes to life across our business including the merchandise we sell,” says Jill Sando, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Target. “We want all guests to feel seen in the product we offer.”
Sando points to the assortment of offerings this holiday season as proof, including Target’s Wondershop artist series that showcased diverse creators through trim, stationery and wrapping paper, as well as partnerships with designers and influencers such as Kahlana Barfield Brown and Houston White, both of whom have apparel collections available at Target. Last spring the retailer announced it was working with actress, author and beloved social media mom, Tabitha Brown, whose fashion and home collections graced store shelves throughout the summer and will be returning with a third collection in 2023.
As part of Target’s REACH investments with Black-owned brands, the corporation says its goal is to create more equitable and welcoming experiences for Black guests, and use the full impact of its size, scale and resources to create economic opportunity for Black-owned businesses at Target and beyond. For newer, smaller brands, Target’s Forward Founders accelerator program which is now looking ahead to its fourth cohort, helps entrepreneurs scale their businesses to have a greater impact in the holistic retail market. Jasmin Foster, founder of the popular stationary and lifestyle brand Be Rooted, completed the program before landing her products on store shelves.
Goods from Foster and others can quickly be shopped via a landing page on Target.com. “Our always-on Black Beyond Measure campaign houses all of our Black-owned brands for guests to shop year-round,” Sando tells EBONY. “What’s more, it helps us authentically connect with our Black guests and team members by understanding and amplifying the multi-faceted meaning of Black Joy.”
For the 2022 holiday season, Sando says Target updated the online hub to ensure shoppers, particularly Black guests and team members, had a convenient view into which Black-owned and founded brands were available for their holiday gifting and gathering needs. Another helpful indicator are the badges Target launched in alignment with what Sando calls the “reimagination of our always-on Black Beyond Measure campaign.” Prioritizing guest feedback, Target realized guests want a very easy way to locate Black-owned brands available to shop. Sando says these badges “further enhance the ease and discoverability of these brands year-round.”