Holiday shopping or any retail experience should be free of fear, disrespect, and hate, and a group of retailers including Ben Bridge are committing to offering a welcoming environment to any shopper at their stores through the Open to All initiative.
Open to All is a national nondiscrimination campaign based on the idea that everyone should be welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion, or disability, the group says.
In December, Ben Bridge Jeweler along with retailers including Cartier, LVMH, and others announced they had joined with other retail brands to sign the Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail charter, a commitment that shows these shops will work together to reduce “racially biased experiences and unfair treatment,” the pledge states.
The charter launched in May with 28 retailers; the overall campaign Open for All debuted in 2018. To date, Open to All has built a coalition of more than 200 nonprofit and corporate partners that are united on issues related to diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI), including the Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail charter.
Ben Bridge president and CEO Lisa Bridge told JCK she sees Open to All as a way to talk to the brand’s consumers about issues that matter to them and to the jeweler.
“For 110 years, we have believed in being a part of the fabric of each community in which we operate,” Bridge says. “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.”
Sephora and Open to All created the charter, which Open to All said in a statement came from its review of the Racial Bias in Retail study. This study, commissioned by Sephora, found that two in five U.S. retail shoppers have “personally experienced unfair treatment based on their race or skin tone, and that BIPOC retail shoppers were three times more likely than white shoppers to feel most often judged by their appearance.”
“The Charter collaboration is rooted in impact and action, and specifically calls on companies to prevent exclusionary treatment before shoppers enter a store and during their in-store experience,” Calla Rongerude, director of Open to All, said in a statement. “Open to All is grateful to our corporate and nonprofit partners, who are demonstrating a commitment to training their workforce, diversifying marketing and product assortment, and taking other tangible steps that create a culture of belonging for BIPOC shoppers and employees.”
Since June, Open to All has been holding monthly meetings with members and supporters to discuss how to track the impact of the charter’s DEI initiatives. Work is also ongoing with loss prevention departments to address how to curtail harassment, racial profiling, and bias in loss-prevention practices. The monthly curriculum features experts and guest speakers including leaders from Diversity Best Practices, Sephora, and Mentor Spaces to provide ongoing learning for all companies that sign the charter.
The Open to All campaign was developed by Movement Advancement Project, a Colorado-based independent think tank that “provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality and opportunity for all,” its website states.
The U.S. retailers that have joined the charter are American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (American Eagle, Aerie), Ben & Jerry’s, Ben Bridge Jeweler, the Body Shop, Capri Holdings (Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Versace), CarMax, Cartier, CBL Properties, Crocs, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fresh, The Gap Inc., Glossier, H&M, J. Crew Group, Levi Strauss & Co., LVMH, Maurices, Michaels, Movado Group, Rimowa, Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman), Rue 21, Sephora, URBN (Anthropologie, Free People, Nuuly, Urban Outfitters), and Zara.
Top: On Dec. 1 Open to All announced that 42 retailers, including Ben Bridge Jeweler, Cartier, and LVMH, have signed a charter agreeing to reduce racially biased experiences and unfair treatment in retail stores (photos courtesy of Open to All).@jckmagazine
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