25 queer-owned businesses to support this Pride Month
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It’s finally Pride Month! It’s always good to wear your gender and sexuality as loud and as proud as you want to, but it’s that time of year that large companies start mass-producing rainbow-themed goodies. Big-name corporations tend to debut Pride Collections in the early summer, and while we always support showing off your support for the community, keep an eye on where your proceeds are going (many companies donate Pride Month revenue to worthy causes, but others do not). This way, you don’t have to worry about where your money is going—you can feel confident your Pride purchases are going directly to the LGBTQ community itself.
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There are tons of queer-owned companies, both online and probably even in your own neighborhood. You can find local businesses that are a part of the LGBTQ community through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and if you’re a fan of online shopping and supporting LGBTQ entrepreneurs across the country, here are 20 queer-owned businesses you can support today and all year round!
Otherwild, which opened in LA in 2012 and now has a second location in NYC, was founded by Rachel Berks. Berks is a queer woman who you might remember as the one who brought back “The Future is Female” shirt after seeing the imagery from HerStory. Berks doesn’t just sell awesome stuff. She also uses her small business to give back to the community by donating to organizations like Planned Parenthood, The National Center for Transgender Equality, The Lesbian Herstory Archives and Black Lives Matter. Her shop sells a variety of LGBTQ-inspired apparel, accessories, housewares, media and apothecary that range from loud and proud to silly to subtle.
Fluide is a queer-owned beauty company that produces makeup for men, women, and everyone in between. Co-founders Isabella Giancarlo and Laura Kraber started this “radical, community-based beauty business” back in 2018 after wanting to see “queer beauty represented by queer people.” Fluide’s collection covers all gender expressions, identities, and skin tones so everyone can find something for them. The variety of makeup available is cruelty-free, glitter-free and free from potentially harmful chemicals like parabens and formaldehyde, so you have one less thing to worry about.
Founded in 2013, Wildfang sells a variety of clothing, accessories, and shoes for all women ranging from casual to professional styles. Co-founded by former Nike employees Emma McIlroy and Julia Parsley, Wildfang is queer-owned and an inclusive feminist-leaning business. Some of its more well-known products are the Wild Feminist collection and the Empower Suit that comes with ACTUAL pockets and tons of flexibility. It doesn’t hurt that the company is great at giving back, too—in 2018 alone, Wildfang raised more than $400,000 for charities that support reproductive, immigrant and women’s and human rights.
4. The Peach Fuzz
Based in San Fransisco, Elizabeth Hudy founded The Peach Fuzz back in 2017 with the goal of making activism accessible and fun. Of course, activism is more than just a cute sticker or a quirky pin, but you’ve got to spread the word somehow and The Peach Fuzz lets you speak your mind in colorful, funky ways. With shirts that proclaim “Rehabilitation Not Incarceration” to bucket hats that say “Just Getting Bi”, you can really flaunt your thoughts—while still looking adorable.
Over the years, The Peach Fuzz has donated more than $20,000 to revolutionary organizations. They have a specific list of products that proceeds from them will go to charity. Some of these organizations include RAICES Texas, The Last Prisoner Project, Texas Equal Access Fund, Root And Rebound and National Expungement Works.
The dfrntpigeon fashion brand was created much differently than most other brands you shop. This company was started as a partnership between the digital design firm AKQA and Portland's New Avenues for Youth. Their business model is simple: Design professionals mentor homeless youth, 40% of whom identify as part of the LGBTQ community. These kids are then paid to design and market a clothing line that derives from their own lives and experiences; this then helps them fuel their careers and propel them into the working world. The store sells a variety of clothing, mugs, pins, patches, journals, stickers and more. You even have the option to donate a shirt to a youth in need. This is an incredible idea and even more miraculous that this community-run business is seeing so much success.
6. Peau De Loup
Peau De Loup sells “androgynous-style clothing designed for all bodies with curves regardless of gender identity.” Founders Adelle Renaud and Erin McLeod were just like a lot of women out there—slightly tomboy-esque and wanting to wear “men’s” clothing but soon realized it wasn’t suited to fit the curves most “women” have. So they started by designing a well-made button-down for bodies with curves. In every “Alpha” shirt, there’s a secret inner pocket on the left breast to keep your cards, cash or phone safe when you’re out and about. Think of it as a better hiding place for your things than your bra, because that’s where the idea came from. Peau De Loup also makes it a point to use upcycled fabrics so nothing is ever wasted.
Flavnt Streetwear is an Austin-based independent clothing company that promotes self-confidence and self-love through clothes. Co-owners (and twins) Courtney and Chris Rhodes don’t believe in men’s and women’s clothing—just clothes that make you feel your most confident, truest self. As Chris is a trans man and Courtney is a lesbian, their company is truly “by queer people for queer people.”
8. Steer Queer
Founded in December 2013 in Pittsburgh, Steer Queer was first a quarterly queer arts and literature magazine, and now a retail shop run by Cat Conley, a genderfluid jewelry-maker who's the genius behind this whole operation. Steer Queer's store is jam-packed with zines, gay jewelry, vintage knickknacks and more. I fell in love with their jewelry fast—I mean the detailing in some of the wooden rings is impeccable. Example: the Golden Girls rings?! love it. The giant They/Them hoop earrings are a mood and you can pick what color you want them made in. You can really tell how much work goes into each piece, which is incredible considering how affordable each of the items is.
Founded by a gay trans man in London, Abprallen is a small-business that sells quirky pins, gadgets and stickers so you can flaunt your pride. Alongside your flag stickers and pronoun pins, you’ve got buttons that say things like “Satan respects pronouns” and “How dare you presume I’m straight.” You won’t be able to find unique accessories like these anywhere else. Abprallen, which means “ricochet” in German, has a wide variety of pastel-colored apparel for all of your queer needs. Whether you’re an ally, a member of the LGBTQ+ community or just want a good laugh at these funny phrases, Abprallen is for you.
10. Queerly Designs
Made by queers, for queers, Queerly Designs is a Philly-based Etsy store that specializes in a variety of gay pride shirts. I personally can't get enough of quirky queer shirts, especially with puns I haven't heard before. If you plan on going to a Pride parade, there are a bunch of options to wear for that, ranging from edgy Stonewall merch to a variety of "Vaccinated Top" and "Vaccinated Bottom" shirts to choose from—to let people know right from the start what they're getting into. Seeing your family for the first time in over a year? Why not rock the "Gay Cousin" shirt and just get that over with? Don't let anyone misgender you with one of these cute tops, like, "Too cute for a gender identity." There's really something for everyone here, queer or ally alike!
11. Dapper Boi
Dapper Boi is a gender-neutral, everyday clothing line for individuals of all body types. Founders Vicky and Charisse Pasche’s goal is to make people feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. Vicky mentions on the site about how she used to shop in the men’s department and how it was not only an uncomfortable experience, but “men’s” clothing just isn’t made to fit the curves that “women’s” bodies have. Dapper Boi’s button-ups have room for curves, and even some hidden snaps on the button placket to ensure there is no chest gap—which in my opinion, is genius. They have a variety of clothing from jeans and jackets to joggers and swimwear.
12. Stuzo Clothing
Started in 2010 by Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme, Stuzo is a gender-free clothing company that is one of the few I found to put an emphasis on the BIPOC queer community. As they so cleverly put it, “Our pieces are unisex, or gender-free as we prefer to call them, because clothes don’t have any organs last time we checked.” Celebrities such as Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Jada Pinkett Smith are some of the many, many people from all walks of life that wear Stuzo-brand clothing.
Founded in 2015, gc2b is a trans-owned company based in Maryland. Founder Marli Washington actually created the first binders that were designed and patented specifically for gender-affirming chest binding. (That means the original chest binders were designed by trans people for trans people—how warm and fuzzy is that?) They come in two different styles and 11 different colors, they’re swim-friendly and their cotton blend inner panel provides comfortable compression. The gc2b website even has a very thorough guide on how to properly determine your size to get the best fit. You can find more than just binders when you shop their site—they’ve expanded to sell cute pride-themed merch as well!
14. Dragun Beauty
In late 2018, Victoria’s Secret’s then-chief marketing officer Ed Razek publicly made transphobic comments about how he didn’t think they should include trans women in their Fashion Shows—so trans influencer Nikita Dragun responded with a video of herself dressed as a Victoria's Secret angel to prove him wrong. Then just a few months later, Dragun Beauty was formed—a makeup brand made for trans women (and everyone) by a trans woman! This YouTube makeup star had a huge following from the start, and the Victoria’s Secret stunt helped her fame, as she sold out her entire makeup stock in less than 24 hours of release. As a trans woman, she knew more than anyone that the beauty industry did not make nearly enough products for trans and nonbinary people, so she sought to fix that herself. This 25-year-old influencer has helped to revolutionize the makeup industry with her more than 13 million followers close behind.
15. Queer Candle Co.
Back in 2017, the queer power-couple behind Queer Candle Co. started making candles together. The special thing about their candles is each one is topped with a visual representation of the scent. So if you get a lavender scented candle, open the lid and you’ll see the top of the candle is covered in lavender sprigs. Generally, the candles are topped with herbs but sometimes the toppings will include dehydrated fruits or salt rocks. Queer Candle Co.’s candles are made of soy wax which is said to burn longer and cleaner.
As a queer-owned business, Queer Candle Co. is dedicated to giving back to the community. Every month (not just Pride Month!), the company donates 10% of its monthly earnings to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an New York-based grassroots organization working to "guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence." Supporting a queer business, a queer organization and getting a great-smelling candle out of it? Sign me up!
16. Diaspora Co.
Diaspora Co. is a direct-to-consumer spice company that also happens to be queer-owned! Founded by Sana Javeri Kadri in 2016, Diaspora Co.'s mission is as bold as its spices: "Building a better spice trade, equitably and deliciously." Starting out with just one spice, Pragati Turmeric, today it sources 30 individual spices from 150 farms across India and Sri Lanka. As a queer business, Diaspora Co. believes that queerness and business “are like oil and water—one is rooted in anti-capitalism while one is capitalism itself.” While they cannot mix, they can coexist—and that’s exactly what this company intends to do. Diaspora Co. honors its queer history and roots, as well as its employees and customers.
17. A Tribe Called Queer
A Tribe Called Queer was created by Sabine Maxine Lopez, a queer femme of color from Los Angeles. This shop has tons of queer and Black pride products that are affordable, fashionable and make a statement with phrases like "Femmes Can Be Thems" or "Women of Color Are the Backbone of America." With shirts, pins, beanies, bucket hats, phone cases and more, there will definitely be something here for you. For several of their products, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Emergency Release Fund, an organization that works to ensure that New York City's trans community is able to make bail when arrested so no one is forced to remain in detention before trial.
18. Bowtie Behavior
When I first came across this shop, I thought, "A whole store dedicated just to bowties? Really?" But then I considered: Where have queer femmes ever been able to get fashionable bowties without weird side-eyes and judgement? Founder Robin Williams had this problem in 2014 when they were in search of a bow tie for their best friend’s bridal shower and couldn't find one that both fit their style and was affordable. So what'd they do? They learned to sew and made their own! Bowtie Behavior creates pieces that are bold and flavorful; pieces that outfits are built around. Every single bowtie is handmade with quality fabric. You can purchase them pre-tied or not, and even with a matching pocket square.
19. Bianca Designs
Bianca Negron is the queer Latinx designer behind Bianca Designs, a small accessory shop run out of Queens, NY. Negron has been selling inclusive pins and fun accessories since 2017 that are bound to make your gay heart smile. I personally had to stop myself from buying everything off of this small site, especially her adorable embroidered shirts.
20. SUAY Sew Shop
Founded in LA in 2017, SUAY Sew Shop is an ethically sourced gay-owned home goods and clothing brand. Suay products are made from a combo of “post-consumer waste, deadstock and domestically, organically grown fibers.” If you have any clothing that has a broken zipper or ripped jeans or any other flaws, you can send it in to be fixed for a small fee. Through this green production process and providing people the opportunity to repair their clothes, Suay has diverted 500,000 pounds of garment waste from landfills since 2017. All of their clothes are super unique and their home goods section has a gorgeous collection of comfy pillows. If you’re all about living sustainably and don’t mind spending a little extra for it, SUAY Sew Shop is the way to go.
21. Carmen Liu
Designed, founded, and run by a trans woman (who was featured in Forbes' 30 under 30), Carmen Liu Lingerie was inspired by the frustration that there were no existing products out there for trans women and nonbinary people. Selling affordable feminine underwear for people who have more stuff to fit in down there and matching bras for those who don't necessarily have as much to fill in up top, Carmen Liu's lingerie brand empowers trans and nonbinary people everywhere and really helps to let people feel like their true selves. There's even a package for "Carmen Liu Kids," designed for trans girls and non-binary children discovering themselves.
22. Pals Socks
Hannah Lavon, the founder of Pals Socks, prides herself that her company sells socks that don’t match! These unique socks are designed to be paired as “two different friends” (or Pals!) Lavon says, “We create an obvious visual reminder that it is so fun to have a friend who isn't just like you.” The concept is to inspire kids to have all different kinds of friends and that not everything needs to be a "perfect match."
This Pride month, Pals Socks is partnering with Philly Family Pride to fundraise, along with many other LGBTQ+ organizations, including Family Equality. Since starting its giveback program, the company has donated more than $250,000 to various organizations. Support the fundraising efforts by shopping the Pals Socks Pride collection!
Located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Pumkinfish is a store of strange wonders—and it’s queer-owned too! If you’re the type of person that loves knickknacks but also wishes they could get some use out of those weird treasures they find, this is the place for you. The store has an eclectic collection of unique gifts and goodies from all over the world, ranging from bath soaps to cocktail mixers to raunchy potholders to Cat Wine (yes, it’s for your cats). You’ll surely be able to find something that tickles your fancy here—something that you didn’t even know you wanted, but once you see it, you’ll need it immediately. And you can bookmark this for later and do all your holiday shopping in one go, all while supporting an LGBTQ business.
TomboyX is a queer-owned brand that makes awesome underwear, apparel, and swimwear. Owners Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez started this business like many others—to fill a need: they wanted to provide “underwear that anybody could feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fell on the size or gender spectrum.” Through their own “human agenda,” TomboyX offers a huge variety of styles, designs, fits, and sizes available, ranging from XS-4X.
This retailer was under some hot water last summer, with some report of misgendering at TomboyX photoshoots. And although its underwear is said to be for “everyone,” when asked about why its marketing photos typically exclude trans women, the company responded by saying, “All of our underwear styles are made from soft, stretchy fabrics and feature a wide gusset to accommodate all types of anatomy. That said, we do occasionally see feedback that the Bikini and Thong don’t provide enough room in the front for some customers.” These are important factors to consider as you shop for the best, most comfortable clothing for your body.
25. Origami Customs
Started as a custom swimwear line, Origami Customs was founded by owner Rae, who strives to help the queer community feel comfortable in their own bodies. This store specializes in making gender-affirming products, specifically undergarments and swimwear. Origami Customs produces items that are made for all bodies of any shape, size, ability, age, or gender expression. This company understands that trans bodies are unique, so it offers free custom sizing for everyone.
In order to give back to the community, 1% of total yearly sales (along with $500 a month of its tips) get donated to various organizations, including Unist'ot'en Camp, AIDS Community Care Montreal, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, Palestinian Medical Relief Society, Butterfly-Support Asian and Migrant Sex Workers, Black Healing Fund, Meals for Milton Parc, RAICES, Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, and Black Lives Matter Toronto Freedom School.
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