After many (many) months cooped up inside our homes, waiting for the weather to warm up and social activities to resume, the world has finally started spinning again. The best part? It’s just in time for one of the most wonderful celebrations of individuality and authenticity: Pride Month. Don’t get us wrong, we are proud 365 days of the year, but when June rolls around, we’re always just a little ~extra~ proud. For the occasion, we thought we would show some love to a few small businesses that are owned and/or founded by members of the LGBTQIA+ community that you can support this month, and every other month of the year. These companies not only offer amazing products, but they also do their part to give back to the community through incredible programs such as profit donations to non-profit organizations, hiring and supporting LGBTQIA+ youth, etc.
A Tribe Called Queer
Based out of Los Angeles, A Tribe Called Queer was created by Sabine Maxine Lopez, a queer femme of color, to offer affordable apparel and accessories that celebrate the community. With shirts, pins, beanies, bucket hats, phone cases, etc. featuring statement phrases such as "Femmes Can Be Thems" or "Gender is an Illusion", anyone who visits the store will leave happy they decided to browse the shop’s pages.
To give back, A Tribe Called Queer decided that a portion of the proceeds of several of their products will be donated to important organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Emergency Release Fund. In addition, the small business also hosts a variety of classes, workshops, and events that help promote inclusivity as well as celebrate artistic projects from members of the community.
Innovation comes in many forms and one of them is the dfrntpigeon fashion brand. Created with a unique business model, the company was started as a partnership between the digital design firm AKQA and Portland's New Avenues for Youth. How does it work? Homeless youth, of which 40% identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, are mentored by design professionals and then paid to design and market a clothing line that is personal to their own life experiences. The goal from dfrntpigeon is that this will help launch their careers and help them enter the job market better equipped to face challenges.
Bonus: This community-run business even gives you the option to help a youth in need by donating a shirt or two.
Designed by trans people for trans people, gc2b is a trans-owned company founded by Marli Washington that creates chest bindings. In fact, the company created, and subsequently successfully patented, the first binders designed specifically for gender affirmation. Swim-friendly and comfortable, gc2b offers 2 different styles of chest binders in 11 different colors, and a special bonus collection for Pride Month. Its donation program has helped more than 6,000 binders reach those in need.
Committed to helping the community, the shop participated in community-centered initiative and sponsors 100+ LGBTQIA+ organizations year-round, with $115,000 raised in the past 3 years for artists and partner organizations. During the month of June, gc2b will also be donating $2.47 for every binder sold from the Limited-Edition Pride Binder Collection to Trans Lifeline.
SUAY Sew Shop
The SUAY Sew Shop, founded in LA in 2017, is a queer-owned and operated company that sells ethically sourced home goods and clothing items. Made from a combination of deadstock fabric and post-consumer waste, SUAY sells unique clothes and home goods that are as comfortable as they are sustainable. The company also fixes any clothing that has a broken zipper, rips or any other flaws for a small fee. This business model promotes a green production process and helps reduce waste, resulting in the company diverting 500,000 pounds of garment waste from landfills in the past 4 years.
In celebration of Pride, the SUAY Sew Shop is donating 10% of the sales of all pillows to the Seeding Sovereignty Ancestral Acres Farm and Garden; an organization that helps address food scarcity issues and boost community farm and garden initiatives in the Black and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ community.
Everyone deserves to wear makeup, which is why Fluide, a queer-owned beauty company founded in 2018, produces makeup for men, women, and everyone in between, regardless of gender, sexuality or skin color. Co-founded by Isabella Giancarlo and Laura Kraber, Fluide was started with the goal to represent queer beauty by queer people. The brand’s makeup collection is all cruelty-free and glitter-free, and it doesn’t include any harmful chemicals such as parabens and formaldehyde, so you can enjoy the products worry-free.
Share some of your favorite local small businesses that are founded, owned, and/or operated by members of the LGBTQIA+ community by tagging us @realrooms.