Currently, female entrepreneurs do not have the same access to funding, connections, or business instruction as male entrepreneurs do, a fact reflected by the statistic that 85% of venture capital funded start-ups are led exclusively by men.† Recognizing that even in the beauty industry, where most customers are women, female founders are still underrepresented, SEPHORA designed the SEPHORA Accelerate program to build a community of innovative female founders in all areas of the beauty industry. The program eschews a competition-style format and instead embraces a more collaborative and supportive stru
cture, creating an approach that catalyzes growth and infuses social impact into each brand's work.
"SEPHORA is thrilled to announce the entrepreneurs selected for our Accelerate Cohort program. These female founders from the US, Mexico and Canada have impressed us with their vision and unique approach to beauty," said Corrie Conrad, SEPHORA's Head of Social Impact. "We are excited to take the next step in building a supportive community and learning environment for these early stage leaders, who are helping to shape the industry we are so passionate about at SEPHORA, an industry we are honored to share with these future brand leaders."
Qualifying candidates were invited to apply for a coveted spot in the program. Each fellow met specific criteria, including being a founder or co-founder of their business, being committed to building a social impact into the company's DNA, and fitting into two broad categories: leading a company that creates a cosmetic product, or a company that creates technology or provides services related to beauty or that could be relevant to the beauty industry.
The eight participants in the inaugural SEPHORA Accelerate cohort include:
Candace Mitchell, Myavana
Myavana is a data-driven social platform that offers personalized hair analysis, consultations, and product recommendations. "My biggest challenge as a female entrepreneur is having the resources to grow and scale quickly while pushing through the stereotypes of being a minority."
Carolina Grove, Stylerz
Stylerz allows you to discover top Beauty Salons, Spas, Barbers and independent professionals in Mexico, so you can book an appointment when and where you want from your Smartphone or PC.
"We want to help [women founders] with digital tools to empower them to take their businesses to the next level and make a real difference in the beauty industry."
Danielle Cohen-Shohet, Glossgenius
Glossgenius is an innovative digital personal assistant for independent beauticians. It helps them manage and grow their businesses through proactive client engagement and marketing tools. "If 50% of the US population is female, why isn't 50% of my mentor and advisor base female? It's been a challen
ge to build a support and mentor group that reflects the gender diversity of the world around me."
Karissa Bodnar, Thrive Causemetics
Thrive Causemetics is Beauty with a Purpose™, creating high-performance, vegan, luxury cosmetics. For every product purchased, one is donated to a woman going through cancer treatment.
"Our Beauty with a Purpose™ one-for-one giving mission is important to me because we know that every product we create and sell is
more than just a beauty product, it is empowerment and confidence to a woman in need. "
Leila Janah, Laxmi
Laxmi is a luxury skincare brand dedicated to prioritizing humanity. They formulate with pure, rare and effective botanicals that work on your skin, and provide work for women around the world, to end global poverty.
"My biggest challenge has been [being] underestimated by investors and even business partners, in terms of scaling up my companies."
Lisa Mattam, Sahajan Sahajan creates ayurvedic inspired, organic skincare--marrying the ancient traditions of Ayurveda with modern science. "To me, social impact is about intentionally weavi
ng business practices that make a real and sustainable difference to people and the planet."
Naa-Sakle Akuete, Eu'Genia Shea
Eu'Genia Shea makes shea-based products with at least 95% pure shea content. Their fully transparent supply chain empowers women and their families in Ghana. "If you've been given the resources and opportunities to work for yourself, making sure your business supports the entire chain is an obligation not a choice; I couldn't live with myself any other way."
Suzanne LeRoux, One Love Organics
One Love Organics creates certified organic and environmentally friendly skincare of the highest quality. They manufacture their own products and are 1 of only a small number of ECOCERT licensed manufacturers for natural and organic cosmetics in the US.
"I am excited to have a group of female beauty entrepreneurs with whom to build a supportive community. So many times in my journey, I have needed, and simply wanted, guidance from someone who understands the challenges that come along with building a beauty business."
In April the Cohort fellows will attend a SEPHORA Accelerate bootcamp in San Francisco designed to develop, teach and refine the necessary skills to run and build their businesses. Program benefits include access to an exclusive mentorship program comprised of SEPHORA's network of beauty industry leaders and internal mentors. Currently confirmed to participate in the various programs are Pamela Baxter, President and CEO LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics for North America, and CEO of Christian Dior Inc., who will serve as Expert in Residence during the bootcamp, an
d Alli Webb, Founder of Drybar, who will serve as one of the Brand Founder Mentors. Additionally, SEPHORA has engaged OpenIDEO—IDEO's social innovation platform—to bring its business acumen and human-centered design process to the program.
To learn more about SEPHORA Accelerate, log on to www.Sephora.com or www.SephoraStands.com, or follow @Sephora @SephoraStands #SephoraStands #SephoraAccelerate.
†Professors Candida G. Brush, Patricia G. Greene, Lakshmi Balachandra, and Amy E. Davis, and the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship Babson College; Diana Report Women Entrepreneurs in 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital (September, 2014)
About SEPHORA Americas SEPHORA is a leader in global beauty retail, teaching and inspiring clients to play in a world of beauty. SEPHORA has earned its reputation with its expertise, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, and has been changing the face of prestige cosmetics since its debut in Paris in the early 1970's. A year after its acquisition by luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1997, SEPHORA expanded its empire to North America with a revolutionary store model that broke down the department store counter. Now with more than 360 stores in the Americas—including US, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil—plus 500 inside JCPenney, SEPHORA has become a leading international beauty destination with over 2,000 locations in 31 countries, plus an award-winning website and an intuitive mobile app. Clients have the opportunity to play with 14,000 products from 200 carefully curated brands, featuring indie darlings, emerging favorites, trusted classics, and SEPHORA's private label, SEPHORA COLLECTION. In store, the client receives personalized recommendations from the IQ system, and at the Beauty Studio she explores her look with makeovers, complimentary classes, hands-on events, and one-on-one consultations. Online she interacts with an inclusive beauty community on the award-winning Beauty Board, interactive Beauty Talk, and The SEPHORA Glossy blog. And as one of SEPHORA's 17 million Beauty Insiders, she feeds her beauty addiction with unique rewards and experiences. SEPHORA offers endless ways to explore beauty. For the latest, visit sephora.com