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Case Study: Bath & Body Works Black History Month Collection

Bath & Body Works released a “limited edition” collection for Black History Month. While the company claimed that these were limited editions, these were not new products, just existing scents repackaged in kente print and sold for a higher price. The products that were included in this collection were “Unity” (Coconut Sandalwood), “Empowered” (Teakwood), and “Confident” (Champagne Toast).

According to Vice President of Design, William Bernard, “it beautifully bridges our rich history with a bright future through vibrant colors and inspirational messages. I also think it’s meaningful that a group of Black associates, leaders and partners from Bath & Body Works were a part of the creation, allowing our collective expression to come to life.”

The company also donated $500,000 to the National Urban League and the Columbus Urban League to support civil rights and racial justice. While the intentions are good, in retrospect, that was less than 0.001% of their 2021 earnings. As expected, social media went off on the company - voicing their opinions on the collection.

While Bath & Body Works created this collection with good intentions, Black History Month should be about supporting Black-owned businesses. Instead of repackaging existing scents and selling them for a higher price, Bath & Body Works would have had a bigger impact by partnering with a Black-owned candle or bath shop to create a curated collection. All in all, this was a reminder to companies to think strategically before they release another half-hearted collection for Black History Month.

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