While chains like JCPenney, Macy’s and Target work to connect shoppers with more Black-owned brands this month, a leading digital wholesale platform is taking steps to diversify the products retailers see.
Joor announced a partnership with the nonprofit RAISEfashion Tuesday, whereby it will spotlight a new group of up to 25 Black-owned businesses every six months.
Initial participants include Sergio Hudson, the label behind the black tuxedo coat and cocktail dress seen worn by Vice President Kamala Harris the night of the inauguration, as well as Fe Noel, Kimberly Goldson, BruceGlen, Max+Min, and Ashya.
RAISEfashion, a network of fashion leaders providing pro bono consulting to Black-owned brands, will work with Harlem’s Fashion Row, an organization created to support multicultural designers, to nominate Black-owned businesses for the program. Those chosen will receive complimentary access to Joor’s digital platform, giving them the ability to connect with retailers, present their collection virtually and offer a personalized wholesale shopping experience. Participating brands also will receive training on best practices to grow their wholesale business and gain access to Joor Passport, a centralized virtual location now home to dozens of trade shows.
“A diverse retail industry ultimately means more creativity, which makes us better as a whole,” Joor CEO Kristin Savilia said in a statement. “Our partnership with RAISEfashion enables opportunity for promising Black designers. Given our extensive reach within the industry and experience helping brands in their digital transformation, we are well positioned to provide assistance—something that is consistent with our company values and a core part of our mission of no brand or retailer left behind.”
Up to 25 Black-owned brands selected for the program will join Joor’s global network of 12,500 brands and 330,000 retailers. On Feb. 22, the wholesale platform will launch a dedicated RAISEfashion event on Joor Passport to showcase the nominees. Additionally, RAISEfashion will receive data insights from the event that Joor said will further support the continued growth or participating brands.
In preparation for the event later this month, RAISEfashion has matched each brand with an advisor who is providing tactical support in areas such as pricing model, distribution strategy and best practices for retail partnerships, Joor said. The nonprofit’s volunteer advisory network includes more than 200 industry leaders with experience across branding, marketing and communications, digital strategy, creative content, merchandising, sales, and business development.
“Black brands are at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking into the retail industry due to high barriers of entry, often determined by personal connections and access to capital,” Divya Mathur, a RAISEfashion advisory board member, said in a statement. “With partnerships like the one with JOOR, RAISEfashion is able to offer both the mentorship and digital platform to successfully connect Black designers with prospective retailers to improve overall representation.”
Lids offers free custom hat designs
Among the brands marking Black History Month is Lids. In honor of the occasion, the headwear retailer will allow customers to receive one of four commemorative designs embroidered on the side of any hat purchased this month. The offer, limited to one per customer, will be available only at locations in the United States and Canada with a “Custom Lids” zone. Designs include a raised fist icon and the words “Black History Month” and “#blackhistory.”
Additionally, Lids said it will make donations to Black Women in Sport, a non-profit dedicated to increasing the involvement of Black women and girls in sport; the United Negro College Fund, a philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for Black students; the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.; and the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.