Pine-Sol, a cleaning products brand under the Clorox company, announced a new limited-edition footwear collaboration directed at increasing support for Black female entrepreneurs.
New Business Collaboration
Pine-Sol announced it is collaborating with Vashtie Kola, a fashion designer, creative director, and artist, on a new collectible sneaker, aptly named Pine-Sole, that represents its continued support of Black female entrepreneurs. The limited-edition sneaker features bright green, yellow, and a pine tree as representations of colors and images associated with the company.
Kola stated she drew upon her experience as a grunge, skater, sneakerhead teenager. Additionally, the business gives her a sense of nostalgia as she recalled growing up with the smell of Pine-Sol products in her house and being with family.
The sneakers will be sold exclusively on the Pine-Store, a recently launched ecommerce website for merchandise related to the company. The press statement added that all proceeds from the Pine-Store will go to Digitalundivided, a non-profit organization dedicated to propelling the economic and business growth for women of color.
Lauren Maillian, CEO of Digitalundivided, said in a statement regarding the partnership, “[Digitalundivided] and Pine-Sol’s ongoing partnership continues to highlight the genius of women of color entrepreneurs through creative collaborations...Teaming up with Vashtie on this exclusive collectible sneaker is an exciting way to drive support and awareness for our mission and programs that advance the future of entrepreneurship through diversity.”
Pine-Sole is already available for purchase on the Pine-Store.
Supporting Equity and Diversity
While many companies have always fostered partnerships to give back to communities, due to the events and social climate of the past decade or so, there has been a push for businesses to invest in more diverse, equitable causes like strengthening support of people of color in their career goals.
Late last year, American Express announced it was awarding 100 Black female entrepreneurs with $25,000 each and 100 days of business resources as part of its “100 for 100” program, which supports Black female entrepreneurs in the United States (US). The 100 for 100 program is part of American Express’s larger $1 billion commitment to promote racial and gender equity.
In addition, other enterprises like Target have pledged financial investments into diversity. Startup Savant reported in early April that the retail business will spend $2 billion on Black-owned companies from now until 2025.
Other notable names like GM, Citi, Johnson & Johnson, and MasterCard have made significant commitments to gender and racial equity in their workplaces as well as contributions to supporting organizations that promote diversity.
According to the US Census Bureau, 18.3% of all US businesses in 2018 were minority-owned, and roughly 20% of all US companies were women-owned. Minority and women-owned businesses account for a significant portion of US business owners, yet they have a significantly harder time gaining access to the appropriate capital.
Investments in the potential future success of minority and women-owned businesses begin with education. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) reported that 32% of Black students lived in poverty in 2018. Additionally, the NSBA reported that the average public high school graduation rate for Black students was 79% in the 2017-2018 school year, which is 6% lower than the national average.
McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.