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IF DIVERSITY IS BEING INVITED TO THE PARTY; INCLUSION IS BEING ASKED TO DANCE

Lead to Change

 

- by Juliet Wheater 

Over recent years, there has been a significant rise in the attention of inclusivity and the authentic representation of people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and racial diversity within the beauty and wellness industries. 

During 2017, the largest diversity story was the launch of pop star Rihanna’s beauty brand, Fenty, a cosmetics line that launched its new foundation line, in no less than 40 shades. Vogue magazine at the time, named it a top 2018 beauty trend, exclaiming Fenty Beauty “singlehandedly changed the conversation.”

This conversation continues and more recently, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, we learn that on these shores, black and minority wellness professionals have united and signed a charter demanding reform for racial equality in the UK wellness industry. ‘The Wellness Industry Charter for Racial Diversity, Inclusion and Access’, aims to tackle three diversity challenges: health inequality, lack of access, and under-representation faced by black and minority groups.

Launched by WellSpoken, an organisation working with wellness brands to ensure they provide consumers with high levels of credible, authentic, evidence-based information on fitness, nutrition and wellbeing. The charter asks that wellness brands commit to tackling these issues by providing a roadmap for businesses to improve. Focusing on five areas of action: education, corporate diversity, representation, access as well as fair pay.

Those that pledge their support, will have access to bespoke guidance on where their business can improve with an ongoing annual review to measure and report on achieved change and outcomes, therefore, working towards racial equality in the wellness industry.

2019 was dubbed the ‘Year of Sustainability,’ where many industries woke up to their environmental impact and obligation. The beauty industry in particular, put a greater emphasis on recycled packaging, while buzzwords such as ‘green,’ ‘clean’ and ‘vegan’ ingredients became a ‘must’. Just as sustainability is now and integral part of brand’s priorities, 2020 looks to be shining the spotlight on diversity. 

Much work has been achieved within the beauty arena, in that during 2017, Fenty Beauty, really shook up the beauty space when the brand launched 40 different core shades of foundation, opening up its offering within the category, like never before. But Rhianna’s brand didn’t stop at just foundation. Last year, Fenty Beauty went the extra mile by releasing a liquid concealer in no less than 50 shades. As a result of Fenty’s efforts, more beauty brands have realised that consumers are seeking brands that they feel that they can connect with. Surely, spas and wellness spaces, need to pay attention to this fact too. 

Going forward, in terms of spa and wellness spaces, if a spa director or salon owner and their team can set the right cultural and behavioural tone, one of inclusion, honesty and openness to all. This would then be perpetuated throughout the organisation and backed with the appropriate education, with processes that celebrate differences as well as similarities, with each and every individual’s voice heard, then you’ll have the beginnings of an authentic and healthy workplace culture. 

Why not consider forming a workplace council comprising of a dedicated group of individuals that have been carefully selected for their passion and commitment to inclusion. The group could act as a channel of communication, involved in goal setting within hiring, retaining and advancing a diverse workforce. 

The Global Wellness Institute states that, unfortunately, the wellness world has long had a diversity problem. Admitting that a lack of inclusivity in the images it projects and products/solutions it offers is not only unwell by nature, it’s a ridiculous business strategy—as globally we’re fast becoming a much more diverse society. (For example, non-whites are forecast to be the majority in the US and Europe around 2050.)

Thankfully the world is becoming more socially conscious and socially aware, with the recognition that it’s all about education and empowerment, so watch this space………….

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020