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A Monumental Move: Nordstrom Joins 15 Percent Pledge, Makes 10-Year Commitment

In a monumental move, Nordstrom Inc. is signing the 15 Percent Pledge — Aurora James’ year-old initiative that has already changed the game for hundreds of Black entrepreneurs and helped fuel notable progress in the fight for equity across the retail sector.

The Nordstrom commitment will pave the way for these companies to have a major presence at the 120-year-old retailer, which operates 100 full-line stores and 248 Nordstrom Rack locations in 40 U.S. states and Canada.

“And just like that, many more doors open,” James, FN’s 2020 Person of the Year, wrote on Instagram in a post this morning. “A big thank you to Nordstrom for signing a 10-year contractual commitment with the 15 Percent Pledge. A year after I launched Brother Vellies, Nordstrom took a chance on me, they gave us store windows across the country and helped make my first nationwide order possible. I knew when I launched the Pledge that signing Nordstrom could mean a springboard of opportunity for so many other entrepreneurs in the way that it was for me.”

As part of its move, Nordstrom is revealing a new commitment to grow its total purchases from Black-owned or Black-founded brands by 10 times by the end of 2030.

The retailer is working closely with James and the 15 Percent Pledge to further implement and execute on its own strategy for reaching the company’s goals to help create and drive more economic equity for Black business owners.

Nordstrom has also established new goals and benchmarks in its effort to become a more diverse, inclusive and anti-racist organization.

In her post, James thanked Nordstrom president and chief brand officer Pete Nordstrom and entrepreneur Emma Grede, the CEO of Good American and founding partner at Skims, for helping make the partnership a reality.

The Nordstrom move comes after a wave of recent notable additions to the pledge.

In May, Matchesfashion became the first U.K.-based company to sign on to the pledge.

That announcement came after Hudson’s Bay became the first Canadian department store to join the 15 Percent Pledge, which launched last summer amid civil unrest that erupted across the country following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Rent the Runway, Sephora and Vogue were among the first in the U.S. to make the commitment, followed by Macy’s, Gap, J.Crew Group, Kith and more major American businesses. With the signing of Hudson’s Bay and Matchesfashion, the 15 Percent Pledge is now publicly backed by at least 23 companies.

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