Ben Bridge, Cartier, LVMH join effort to combat racism in retail

Lenore Fedow

The companies were among the retailers that signed nonprofit Open to All’s charter.

Nonprofit Open to All recently welcomed 42 new retail brands retailers to its fight against racism in retail, including a few notable jewelry companies.

The companies signed the organization’s “Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail” charter, a commitment to reduce racially biased experiences and unfair treatment in stores and create a more welcoming environment for shoppers.

The fine jewelry sellers that are newcomers to the initiative are Ben Bridge Jeweler, Cartier, and LVMH.

For 110 years, we have believed in being a part of the fabric of each community in which we operate,” said Lisa Bridge, president and CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler.

To us, that means embracing all members of the community and Open to All helps us both communicate that and to continue to learn and grow.”

Other new signees include CBL Properties, Glossier, The Body Shop, Yelp, and URBN, the parent company of Anthropologie, Free People, Nuuly, and Urban Outfitters.

The charter was launched in May by Open to All and LVMH-owned Sephora after the beauty company commissioned its “Racial Bias in Retail” study, which explored how shoppers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are discriminated against in stores.

In 2019, Sephora closed its stores for an hour to host an “inclusivity workshop after R&B star SZA, who is a Black woman, said an employee in a California location told a security guard to follow her to make sure she wasn’t stealing.

The company issued an apology and has since taken steps to combat racial profiling and discrimination in its stores.

Two in five U.S. shoppers surveyed for the report said they have personally experienced unfair treatment based on their race or skin tone. BIPOC shoppers were three times more likely than white shoppers to feel judged based on their appearance.

The charter began with 28 retailers on board and now has the support of more than 200 national and state public education organizations and elected officials as well as thousands of businesses and nonprofit service providers.

Tiffany & Co., Movado Group, Michele, and Watch Station International joined the pledge previously.

A full list of members is available on the organization’s website.

This cross-collaboration is key in working to address and prevent systemic racism in U.S. retail environments and the culture at-large,” said George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga, vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Sephora.

Since the charter’s founding, the nonprofit said it has been contacted by more retailers who are aware of how pervasive discrimination is in retail and want to help address the problem and create welcoming spaces for their customers.

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Source National Jeweler