it's no secret that retail has a diversity problem.
Diversity and inclusion in retail is not always a comfortable or fun topic right? But it’s a critical one.
It's no secret that retail has a lack of diversity. All you have to do is go to an industry trade show and look around to see it.
Calling companies out on social media, or going on a cancel campaign is just a start. You can look at where we are today versus in the summer of 2020 to see that there's still much more work to be done.
Has there been change? Yes.
Has the "hype" died down? Quite a bit.
Has the change that happened been mostly talk (and no action)? Seems so.
This is why we exist, to be an active solution to bridge the gap from where we are today, to becoming the industry we want to see tomorrow. We exist to not just bring change, but to create a long-lasting impact on the future of this industry.
There is so much more to this $2.6 trillion industry than what meets the eye. According to the National Retail Federation, the retail industry in the US supports 1 in 4 jobs.
So as you can see, we have so much potential to change the face and future of retail, with your help.
But let's call out the facts.
We know that what we're working to accomplish isn't something that can happen overnight, but every single person we reach, and business we transform, and partnership we forge, is another step closer to where we need to be and to the change we want to see.
We know that there are many retailers, big and small, who want to begin sourcing BIPOC brands for their stores ongoing, but it's admittedly more difficult.
Since the industry isn't diverse, Buyers can't just go to trade shows to source BIPOC brands...because they aren't showing there (yet. We're on it). Buyers are then forced to source in unconventional ways.
This is why we established our buying office - to be the solution to sourcing BIPOC brands effortlessly and inspirationally.
They need funding, retail-specific training (this piece is critical), and ongoing support to create retail businesses that will sustain.
This is why we designed our community for BIPOC brands and retailers to be a welcoming space to get exactly that, from a host of Retail Industry Experts.
BIPOC brands and retailers need more than awareness, more than shout outs on social media and press features.
Being in retail has been immeasurably hard over the past few years. First there was a pandemic. Then there was a strong call-to-action to increase diversity. Then there were major supply chain and staffing issues.
We understand that there are so many urgent priorities on your plate right now, but let us take one of those off of it.
We cultivate mutually-impactful partnerships with diversity-driven companies to fulfill your need of actively and consistently making increasing diversity a key priority through our work together.
You see so many opportunities to increase diversity in your organization, but you don't currently have the bandwidth, and we get it.
Based in Los Angeles, Jade brings a strong brand development background to the world of retail.
With 20+ years of experience in the industry, Jade Sykes combines her past experience as VP of Sales and Brand Development, Wholesale Operations Director, Private Label & Licensing Manager, Brand Development Manager, Executive Fashion Editor, Editorial Wardrobe Stylist and Business Consultant into her role as Founder at The GEM Agency and CEO of Diversify Retail® Inc.
LOVES: all things style and fashion. creating innovative ways to make an impact.
Based in Atlanta, DeAnna brings a trained fashion eye and a corporate merchandising background to the retail world.
DeAnna McIntosh is a trend-setting, results-driven Retail Business Coach and Consultant with 16+ years of experience helping brands drive sales, conversion, productivity, innovation, and engagement (10 of those years being inside Fortune-ranked Retailers). She has launched numerous products into retail and e-commerce platforms – with one of the most notable driving a $1M incremental sales increase. She brings a wealth of knowledge into her role as Founder of Retailing Evolved® and Executive Director of Diversify Retail® Inc.
LOVES: traveling any and everywhere. brownie ice cream sundaes. trade shows. changing her hair (you'll see).
After the murder of George Floyd, when the world decided to shine a light on black-owned businesses, we caught a glimpse of each other and were able to connect. We had been having the same thoughts and conversations about it all, thousands of miles apart. We knew firsthand the workload ahead to bridge the gap between where the retail industry is today, and where we want it to be in the future - and the education, funding and resources for BIPOC brands and retailers that would be needed to get there.
We discovered brands diving head first into deep water, relying solely on the perseverance that started and maintained their business to secure what they perceived as "dream deals" with big box retailers. They were undoubtedly going to make it in the end, and "do whatever it takes" to fulfill the orders, but we knew we could help make sure that they enter these relationships with a solid foundation to not only launch there, but stay there. We met weekly to offer our resources and knowledge to help brands navigate the new attention and inclusive opportunities. For months we managed our own businesses, in addition to dedicating hours of calls and zoom meetings to assist brands in navigating vendor requirements, shipping guides, double check costs sheets and create & implement new systems and processes to support the long-term sustainability of their growth.
Without hesitation, we decided to further our mission to create a bigger impact and hence, Diversify Retail® Inc. our 501(c)(3) nonprofit was formed.
In 2020, after the senseless murder of George Floyd, and seeing the awakening of retail companies to their lack of diversity, we were compelled to pour our combined 35+ years in retail, our network, our time, and our love into making sure this awakening was not just a captured moment, but rather a permanent, ever-chasing mission at the forefront of the industry.
We have joined forces with countless other Retail professionals to not only bring awareness to BIPOC brands and retailers, but more importantly, to empower and equip them with the tools and strategies to excel and build a long-term, legacy-building business for themselves and their families.
Jekennia (Jeke) is a dynamic, interpersonal and results-oriented professional with operations, leadership, and visual merchandising experience. She holds 10+ years of Store Operations and Merchandising Experience with major retailers such as Apple, G-III Apparel Group, Eloquii, and Calvin Klein.
meet the rest of your lead changemakers
Willie A. Dorsey is a well beloved leader, and is the Former CFO at Cox Auto Trader, Inc. With over 30 years of Accounting and Leadership Experience, and constant creative funding ideas, he brings tremendous value to our team!
Interested in joining our team?
AT A GLANCE
we're constantly on the lookout for opportunities for our brands + retailers
a little obsessed with doing retail + nonprofits differently
we thrive on authentic partnerships, only
we're training the next generation of retail leaders too
Diversity as a standard, active and authentic support, developing legacy-driven and scalable businesses, making the business of retail accessible
"Charity work", performative actions, self-serving help, tokenism, shortcuts
agree? you're in the right place.
Together, we will create the change we want to see. Every email, every donation, every volunteer hour, every word, makes a difference.