Representation in Business
Have you ever walked into a store and knew within minutes that this wasn’t the place for you? Have you ever come across a business page on social media and felt excluded from their marketing? So have we, which is why we are shedding light on the subject and talking about REPRESENTATION this week. We’ll be chatting about what representation is, why it matters so much, and how can YOU represent diversity in your brand.
At Hustle + Charm we take so much pride and joy in how diverse our community is. We have women of all bodies, races, lifestyles, and careers within our tribe. The best thing about this diverse sisterhood is that nobody ever feels like they don’t belong here. Everybody deserves to feel seen and heard, and that’s what we strive to create within our community, and in the world outside of it.
Women of color, plus sized women, women of different abilities, and other minorities of women are often overlooked or excluded from businesses. Whether that’s in their marketing or in the product/service that their selling. It’s important for us to use our voices and our power as business owners to create more space for people who have been pushed into the background. If diversity is something you want to represent in your business but aren’t sure where to start, talk to the women around you. Ask your friends, family, or followers of different backgrounds what they want to see from your business or what they feel is lacking for them in your industry. Go to the source and gather information, instead of offering them what you assume they want.
Our February Boss Babe Pyjama Party was one of our most successful events to date. This event was focused around Black History Month and illuminating black women in business in our city. The response to this event was incredible and it just shows us that there needs to be even more diverse spaces created for women of color to be celebrated. We are incredible grateful for the support we received from this event; we see you, we hear you, and we will continue to represent you.
We interviewed our founder Charmaine Jennings to get her take on diversity in business.
When you don't see yourself represented on someone's business page/portfolio, do you assume that their clientele doesn't include you?
It depends on the brand and the business but for the most part, yes - if I don't see people who look like me represented in someone's brand visuals or the products or services they offer, I assume I don't fit their target audience or they can't provide me with what I need. And by "people who look like me," that can actually mean different things. If I come across a brand on Instagram that has pictures of all men, I assume women aren't their target audience (which very well might be the case and that's fine - my brands are female-focused so it'll be rare to find pictures of men on my social media). If I see a clothing brand that doesn't display women plus size women, I assume they don't carry clothes in my size. If I see a brand that is targeting a female audience but doesn't show black women or women of colour, I assume their products or services aren't catered to those women. Specific to the beauty industry, when I look up a makeup artist's or hair stylist's work on social media, if I don't see photos of work they've done on black women, I assume they either don't know how to provide me with their services, or that I'm not their ideal client.
As a consumer or client, how do you feel when you purchase from an inclusive and diverse brand?
Fantastic! Especially if it's from an industry that typically shows a lacking in this area. It's nice to know there are people out there who are making an effort to be more diverse.
Why does representation matter to you?
Because I matter to me, and I should matter to you too.
What is one way that brands can show their diversity on social media?
Diversify your photo shoots! I.e. if you're a clothing brand and you're setting up a shoot to highlight some of your pieces, make sure there's a mix of different ethnicities among the models you choose.
What are your top 3 brands that make you feel seen and celebrated?
· My Body Fitness + Nutrition (one of our members)
· Naked Skincare Apothecary (another member)
Every person does not need to be represented in every single business, as some businesses do cater to a specific clientele, but there should be a place somewhere for each of us. If diversity is a core value in your brand, make sure to show that through your marketing, and brand material. Representation is important, especially when it comes to media and advertising. If someone feels like they don’t fit your brand, you may lose their business and more importantly their trust in and support of your brand. We deserve to have multiple spaces in our community that make us feel seen, heard, and represented. We need to strive for more diversity in the mainstream media, on television, and in businesses large and small. The world is an incredible place filled with people of all sorts, and we all deserved to feel REPRESENTED!