Belk Ramps Up Diversification in Assortment

Belk is expanding its list of vendors with the addition of more than a dozen diverse-owned brands in an effort to boost its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Belk store

The brands cover a wide range of products across categories, including home, apparel, beauty and accessories. Belk, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a privately-owned department store retailer with nearly 300 Belk stores in 16 Southeastern states. The company first opened its doors in 1888.

The announcement of additional vendors comes at the start of Black History Month and one year after the retailer launched the Belk Culture Shop, described as a curated boutique on that supports and celebrates the culture of underrepresented communities year-round.

"Diversifying our product offerings is a key focus," Chris Kolbe, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Belk, said in a statement. "We want our customers to feel represented and at home when they shop at Belk through the products they use and the clothes they wear. By partnering with a diverse group of business owners, we're able to do just that, while also fueling the next generation of entrepreneurs."

Belk’s Culture Shop was created by the company’s Black business resource group, B.R.I.G.H.T., in partnership with their director of diversity and inclusion, to build upon the diversity of the retailer's product offerings and vendors. Among the new vendors is Eu'Genia Shea, a beauty brand founded by a mother and daughter who aim to support and empower women across the globe. 

Belk also added Tones of Melanin, a brand that combines streetwear with collegiate wear to bring awareness to more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide, as well as SPGBK Watches, which was founded by two childhood friends who draw inspiration from the community, culture and childhood experience of growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

"The Culture Shop goes beyond category growth and new offerings," Nir Patel, Belk CEO, said in a statement. "It's about the creators and visionaries behind the brands and the communities they represent.”