This year Target hit the bullseye with the Black History Month collection. Francesca Neptune, Senior Buyer of Multicultural Merchandising at Target, aims to make it a better shopping experience for every Target guest. Her goal is to develop collections, provide an assortment of products, and an overall experience for Black guests. February 2022 marks the eighth year for the Black History Month (BHM) collection at the Target stores. This collection started with the Target team listening to guests and working harder to meet their needs. The guests are excited, and they love the opportunity to find new brands and support their current favorites. This year’s theme is to “Create our future.” This collection is a celebration of Black culture and joy.
The Target Corporation has campaigns that reflect the diversity of the guests, including Black History Month, Latin Heritage month, and the Luna New Year. The Black History Month collection directly extends Target’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Several teams fought to get the assortment elevated and expanded this year. This commitment has helped recruit and retains more diverse team members. This initiative also allows more products from diverse suppliers and sends more donated funds to communities of color. The tees in the BHM collection are made with cotton sourced from Bridgeforth Farms, a fifth-generation Black family farm.
Target is happy to celebrate the diverse families that shop at their stores—the artist and designers found by Francesca’s personal experience and research done on social media. The Black-owned products were found based on Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook feedback. The Target team was able to get candid, raw, and authentic feedback from guests. The Target store team provided feedback and shared their experiences in the local communities. This year’s BHM collection features change-makers and authentic brands. Many of these brands were created based lack of representation in the market. “Eighty-six percent of the BHM collection represents Black business owners and designers,” said Lakesha Brown of Target Corporation. These brands saw an underserved area in the market and filled it with a unique product. The overall goal is to meet and exceed the needs of the community.
Some of the brands include:
- Joline Noir: The brand idea is to have unisex items, typically not done in fashion.
- Dow Fitness: The athleisure brand created by a doctor focusing on mental and physical health.
- Cee Cee’s Closet – Beautiful head wraps reminiscent of West Africa, where they saw a gap in the market.
- Coloring Pins – Original, pop-culture-designed pins with bold, vibrant colors.
- Be Rooted / Goldmine and CoCo / Harper Dolls – Curated items especially for this BHM collection.
Target also teamed up with HBCUs for the annual HBCU Design Challenge. During this challenge, Target invited HBCU students to submit designs to be included in the Black History Month collection. This year three winners were selected from the design challenge, and they partnered up with Target to learn about all aspects of production. The winners worked with Target’s design team, production teams, and retail advisors on their designs. The 2022 HBCU Design Challenge winners include Trey Baker, Hampton University; Kah’Milah Ledgester, Florida A&M University; and Sharone Townsend, Bowie State University. The winning designs are featured on clothing items, stationery, and tote bags.
This BHM collection introduces some of the Black designers to a new audience. Ms. Francesca notes the response has been overwhelming so far. The guests have had positive experiences and are excited to see the brands come directly into the store. Target guests appreciate the variety in the product offering and the reasonable prices. There is positive feedback from the brands; they sell out in the stores and online. These items are considered limited editions for many of the designers just for Black History Month. Behind this collection are enthusiastic team members and designers focused on the Target guests. The goal is to celebrate the authentic heritage through the diverse assortment of designers. For more information on the Target Black History Month collection, please visit Black Beyond Measure: Target.
Theresa Horton is a contributing writer for the Chicago Defender. Find her on social media @passionateresources.