The Nordy Pod

Ep 12. Aurora James & Emma Grede, Founder & Chairwoman of the Fifteen Percent Pledge

Episode Summary

In this episode we're going to mix things up a bit and interview two people at once: the founder and the chairwoman of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, Aurora James and Emma Grede. As the founder of Brother Vellies—a brand initially aimed at highlighting African artisan shoemakers—Aurora James learned exactly how difficult it is to gain traction as an up-and-coming company, particularly from the vantage point of an underrepresented segment of the population. So, in May of 2020 immediately following the death of George Floyd, when people began asking the question, "What can we do to help support the Black community?" Aurora came up with an idea called the Fifteen Percent Pledge. She took to Instagram to challenge large retailers to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Enter Emma Grede, herself held in high regard throughout the fashion industry, who messaged Aurora directly with an inspired conviction to help this idea grow. Emma, cofounder of the very successful brands Good American and SKIMS, brought her extensive business background and connections to the table, helping to grow the philanthropic initiative into a larger nonprofit organization. Together, Aurora and Emma have created tangible and sustainable change for Black-owned businesses with the goal of building long-lasting generational wealth in Black communities. Nordstrom is proud to have been an early adopter of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, and I'm super excited to help highlight this really important initiative that has made a big impact on our industry already. After that you're going to hear my chat with Shaina Shepherd, a real rising star in the Seattle music scene. I met her years ago as our bands crossed paths at various events, but more recently, as Nordstrom started trying to find some music to accompany our marketing campaigns, Shaina's name popped into my head as the perfect voice to attach to the particular song we chose. So, join me now as we learn a little more about her story and how she came to be sitting here with me today. Thanks for tuning in to Episode 12. We hope you enjoy! If you'd like to learn more about the amazing work that Aurora and Emma are doing through the Fifteen Percent Pledge, head to Did you know that YOU can be on The Nordy Pod? This show isn't just a one-way conversation. We want to hear about what Nordstrom looks like through your eyes. Share your Nordstrom experience, good or bad, by giving us a call and leaving a voicemail at: 206.594.0526, or send an email to to be a part of the conversation!