Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

Knowing that these classes can be a catalyst that builds community in areas where there may not be many LGBTQ support resources also serves as further proof of its purpose. - Sephora Team
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?

Sephora is dedicated to supporting diversity and inclusion in all of its social impact programming through Sephora Stands. Classes for Confidence are complimentary hands-on make-up classes offered in-store. In 2018, Sephora expanded the program to include a tailor-made curriculum for the transgender and non-binary community. The goal of Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community classes is to create a safe, welcoming experience where attendees can discover techniques and products that address common concerns during this major life change. All sessions are taught by trans-sensitive instructors; friends, families, and allies are welcome to join, too.

What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?

Sephora has been working on Bold Beauty’s programming since the launch of Classes for Confidence three years ago. Sephora has always encouraged an open, honest, and inclusive culture, so it was fitting that feedback from its own employees on the classes they wanted for their local community was the impetus for the new Bold Beauty programming. Sephora also partnered with a number of national and local organizations that serve the transgender and non-binary community, conducting interviews with these group leaders and engaging their members in focus groups to determine what they wanted as the class content and inclusion training to best serve this audience.

 

Did your team have a breakthrough or “a-ha” moment while formulating or executing this project?

Assumptions are always challenged when working on a project like this. Remaining open, curious, and focused on the things that connect rather than divide us is really important. People come to Sephora from all different backgrounds, but they all have a common interest in beauty and that’s the retailer’s area of expertise. Remembering this helped keep Sephora on track and grounded in its purpose.

Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?

Sephora conducted interviews and focus groups with its own employees who are part of the transgender and non-binary community, as well as LGBTQ leaders and members outside of the Sephora family. Sephora wanted to know what they were interested in learning and how to deliver that instruction in a respectful, inclusive way. The retailer realized that it was important to also develop internal training that informed its teams on pronoun use and basic education about the gender spectrum and the differences between gender identity, expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation.

Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?

Sephora is dedicated to supporting diversity and inclusion in all of its social impact programming through Sephora Stands. Classes for Confidence are complimentary hands-on make-up classes offered in-store. In 2018, Sephora expanded the program to include a tailor-made curriculum for the transgender and non-binary community. The goal of Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community classes is to create a safe, welcoming experience where attendees can discover techniques and products that address common concerns during this major life change. All sessions are taught by trans-sensitive instructors; friends, families, and allies are welcome to join, too.

Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?

The public response to these classes has been tremendous. This quote is from a participant who attended a Bold Beauty class in Michigan that illustrates the impact these classes are making.

"The Sephora staff was so supportive.. .having someone willing to teach me while not judging me and being kind about it. Hearing comments from them like, 'that looks really good on you' or 'let me show you a little secret how to do that' was making my heart smile and allowed me to continue to open up. It was the feeling that someone actually cares to help me when the world says you’re dysfunctional and broken.”

What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?

The Bold Beauty classes were showcased through inspiring video content on Sephora’s YouTube channel. Through the Happening at Sephora calendar tool on Sephora.com, clients can search for upcoming classes in their area. For clients who are interested in taking a class, but don’t have access to a store, Sephora has released a series of Bold Beauty tutorials on its YouTube page featuring Jayde and Ubi, both of whom are members of the Transgender community and the Sephora family. These empowering and educational videos bring the classes into the home, sharing tips for skincare, contouring, eye looks, and more.

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

Video was crucial because Sephora wanted to bring to life a Bold Beauty class for as many people as possible. From the look of clients’ faces lighting up when their Beauty Advisor puts the final touch on their look, to hearing stories first-hand from participants and instructors on the impact these classes have made on their lives, this video shows Sephora’s firm commitment to making beauty accessible to everyone.

How did this project defy your expectations?

The impact the classes have had on the community speak volumes. An attendee at a San Francisco class shared:

“I had such a wonderful, affirming time yesterday. The class was a real game-changer for everyone there. It really says a lot about Sephora, that you were able to organize something so intimate, so personal, so one-on-one, for such a small population of people. We all felt taken care of and listened to, perhaps for the first times in our lives. There aren't a lot of companies that make that kind of effort for us.”

Knowing that these classes can be a catalyst that builds community in areas where there may not be many LGBTQ support resources also serves as further proof of its purpose. This quote came from one of Sephora’s Store Directors located outside of San Antonio:

“Our first Bold Beauty class had about 10 people. What we loved was that the attendees made great connections with each other, because they really hadn’t met many other people going through the same journey. It was beautiful to see a group walk out together with huge smiles on their faces, having just become friends! A few days later two attendees came back in to shop and were hanging out together. When I saw them I knew this was something HUGE for our community, I had such a great feeling knowing that they met because of us, our class. They came back because they knew they were welcomed, accepted, not judged, and are treated like they deserved to be, with the same respect everyone receives. This is why we will continue to offer the classes and are proud to do so.”

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

Sephora is regularly using technology as a means of listening and receiving feedback from both its clients and employees, which allows the retailer to learn and understand what its community and the broader public need and want from Sephora.

Credits

  • Video Creative Director Avelino Pombo Sephora

About the How-To & DIY category

Do-it-yourself social video programming spanning all subject areas, including home and lifestyle, family and parenting, fashion and beauty, etc. Entries in this category include content series, franchises, and campaigns created for social. Platform agnostic.