Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), February 5, 2019
Four years ago, a group of Target employees convinced the retailer to try a test during Black History Month that would gauge customers’ interest in African-American themed merchandise.
They got an earful. Shoppers wanted more items from black-owned businesses. They wanted more variety. They wanted more prominent displays.
This year, the Minneapolis-based retailer is making a big bet on that idea. Target tripled the number of stores carrying its Black History Month collection compared with last year and broadened the number of items, all of which are curated or designed by employees.
Nationwide, 700 of its 1,850 stores will carry the items through the end of February. It also created a dedicated space on its website at target.com/celebrateblackhistory.
“We’re really upping the bar to be sure that our guest is understanding our intention and our thinking behind it,” said Tawnya Artisst, a product design and development director who has helped lead work on the assortment.
More than 100 items are featured across various departments, including skin care and beauty products for men and women, graphic T-shirts, baby clothes, home decor, books and music. The assortment has been in stores since Jan. 6.
Stores were selected based on demographics and an analysis of product sales that resonate with African Americans, Artisst said.
“Ultimately it’s for all people,” Artisst said. “We want everyone to celebrate black history.”
The initiative began within Target’s African American Business Council, an employee group started in 2004 in part to help the retailer develop and market products that “feel authentic, relevant and respectful,” according to the company.
From the beginning, Target assigned a cross-functional team to the project. It included members of the African American Business Council but included engineers, designers, merchandisers, store planners and sourcing specialists.