Lots of changes are going on at JCPenney. One notable change is in the beauty category. Thirteen Lune, an on-line site that offers beauty brands created by Black and Brown founders, is expanding into retail with a new partnership with JCPenney. The launch in select locations in October will be with about 30 Thirteen Lane brands. After the limited introduction, there will be a national rollout in the fall of 2022.
There are currently about 600 Sephora Beauty shops in JCPenney stores, and the addition of Thirteen Lune will make the beauty area a one-stop shopping experience. Nyakio Grieco, co-founder of Thirteen Lune and owner of beauty brand Nyakio, and JCPenney GMM Michelle Wlazlo spoke about their first meeting at JCPenney, describing it as emotional “with like-minded people coming together”.
Grieco founded Thirteen Lune with H. Honoré Patrick Herning. They launched Thirteen Lune in December 2020, and their mission has been to help make the beauty industry more inclusive and maybe more diverse – to show that really celebrating hyper-inclusivity is a great bet, according to Grieco.
The company started by carrying 13 Black-owned brands. Now, the company offers more than 70 brands representing Black and Brown founders from around the world. WWD reports that investors include Sean Combs, Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow, venture capitalist Patrick Finnegan, Gregg Renfrew, Tracy Cunningham, former Ambassador Nicole Avant, and Sydney Holland.
This new partnership is well-timed. It is interesting to note that JCPenney’s partnership with Sephora ends in the fourth quarter of 2022, as the beauty company transitions to Kohl’s. Kohl’s will have 850 Sephora shops by the end of 2023, giving the chain a very strong position in the beauty segment. JCPenney’s challenge is to counter that and have a complete and expansive assortment of beauty products that offer a one-stop, inclusive, shopping experience for all of its customers. Certainly, Thirteen Lune will be a cornerstone for that project.
Michelle Wlazlo is showing real leadership in other ways as well, introducing what Glossy calls ‘adaptive fashions’. On July 15, 2021 JCPenney launched a new kid’s line called Thereabout. It focuses on inclusivity in another way, with adaptive designs for disabilities. The first collection includes sweatshirts with hook-and-loop closures and magnetic zippers for easier dressing and sensory-friendly seaming. The latter is especially helpful for autistic people, who can be sensitive. According to Wlazlo, “it is essential to us that we developed the line in partnership with the disabled community”. She said that JCPenney partnered with Patti + Ricky, an adaptive fashion marketplace, to develop the collection. “I like to think that adaptive fashions as being similar to plus-size fashion or extended sizing a decade ago,” says Meredith Wells, co-founder of Social Surge, who is disabled.
According to Glossy, even higher-end fashion designers have shown an interest in adaptive fashion. Tommy Hilfiger, who has a disabled child, has become one of the leaders in luxury adaptive clothing. He designed the first Tommy Adaptive line in 2016. Today, there are summer camps like Capital Camps in Pennsylvania where disabled children enjoy a fruitful summer.
For JCPenney, adding these new products demonstrates its commitment to embrace the diverse needs of its customers; that’s an important step in rebuilding traffic and restoring customer loyalty.