It’s June. It’s time for Pride. It’s time for all the rainbows and letters and sparkles to come out and play, but this year Pride is still going to be different because of Covid-19. There are still restrictions in many places. Like everyone else, small LGBT+ business and artisans were hard hit by the pandemic economy and unemployment. Across the United States there are estimated 1.4 million identified LGBT+ business owners. I want to highlight some small queer businesses, that accept online orders, because supporting craftspeople is an excellent way to be an Ally and celebrate Pride this year!
Did You Know: LGBT+ owned businesses make up less than 1% of small businesses in the United States?
Apparel and Accessories
because is a clothing and accessories brand founded in 2019 by Hawwaa Ibrahim. Hawwaa, a queer, Muslim fashion designer and digital artist, began working with fabric when she was 12. She practiced sewing on her mother’s hijabs. She founded her fashion brand while still a sophomore in NYC. because was created with the belief that fashion should be fun and accessible to everyone. She has a very colorful and diverse line of clothing and accessories. She is currently developing a line for children as well.
Bowtie Behavior was founded in 2014 by Robin “Robbie” Williams. They were inspired by their own search for a bowtie for a wedding and when they saw the limited selection, they discovered that there was a need for more diversity. They taught themself how to sew and received such positive feedback that they turned it into a company. They now make a variety of brightly colored and patterned bowties, pocket squares, and suspenders.
Rebirth Garments was started with the purpose of have a clothing business that would cater towards those who are gender non-conforming. Clothes are available for purchase off the rack or can be customize to your body shape. They pride themselves on being accessible to any body regardless of size, gender, or ability. This clothing store was founded by Sky Cubacub, who has a disability themself. They produce eye-catching and eccentric clothing. Right now they are taking a temporary sabbatical from creating, but will be reopening their store June 24th 2021.
Steer Queer is a handmade accessory and clothing store. In 2013 Steer Queer started as an arts and literature collective in Pittsburg, PA. One of the founders began making jewelry and art under the brand CatCall Designs. Ultimately the collective suggested that they combine in to one wonderful, artistic queer space, the new Steer Queer, in 2017. Cat’s stylishly queer products are available on the Steer Queer website and their Esty.
Vitis Jenifera is a one-woman boutique winery. Based in the Monterey Provence in California, winemaker Jenifer Leslie aims to create great wines with good values. Her journey into winemaking began by studying under wine director, Chris Baggetta at Michelin starred restaurant, Quince. Since then she has worked and studied at different restaurants and wineries until she started Vitis Jenifera part time with just two barrels in 2017. In 2020, when the pandemic hit, Jenifer dedicated herself fulltime to her wines and has expanded her portfolio to six wines. In addition to the focus on the sensuality of the wine, Jenifer is also very conscious about all the choices she makes while running her company, from using recycled materials to supporting causes and nonprofits with proceeds from sales.
Hedonist Artisan Chocolates was founded by Jennifer Posey in 2007. She wanted to create chocolate that would bring happiness and memories that you could share with others. She believes that chocolate is an immersive sensory experience. Opening each box unleashes new magic into the air. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates offers a wide variety of delicacies, including some vegan and dairy free options. If you live in the Rochester area in New York, you can also stop by for a taste of her homemade ice cream.
MINNA is a self-proclaimed “queer led business” in Hudson, NY that is comprised of a team of artists and creators. Founded by Sarah Berk in 2013, MINNA is dedicated to ethically made products. They also collaborate with Artisans across the Americas to help ensure craft preservation and job creation. MINNA recognizes that their shop and studio is found on land that is part of unceded territory belonging to the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation. You can learn more about their ethical collaborations and craft methods here. MINNA sells a wide variety of house ware from blankets to dinnerware to candles and more.
Suay Sew Shop, based in Los Angeles, was founded in 2017 by Lindsay Rose Medoff. They
primarily specialize in pillows and linens made from sustainably sources materials. They work with a combination of materials in their products including post-consumer waste, deadstock, and domestic, organically, grown fibers. They believe that upcycling should become an integral part of our society. During the pandemics, Suay Sew Shop saw a need in their local community and began a weekly food distribution program. They also advocate for fair wages for garment workers in the clothing production industry.
Cheyne (pronounced “Shane”) Gallarde is a Hawaiian-born artist and illustrator. Prior to illustration he worked as a photographer. Cheyne's illustrations are depicted in a traditional superhero comic book style, however his subject matter is anything but traditional. He is most known for his work depicting drag queens as superheroes. He also has done commissions for major companies such as Netflix, Toyota Hawaii, and Logo TV. Anyone interested in owning prints of his illustrations can support him on Patreon.
Kay O’Neill is a graphic novel illustrator. They have several slice of life style youth novels with a touch of folklore and fantasy. Their books are written under the author name “Katie O’Neill” and published by Oni Press. Their latest graphic novel, just released June 2nd this year, is the third installment of the Tea Dragon Tapestry. This is a coming-of-age tale with inclusion across race, gender, sexuality… Kay O’Neill states that portraying inclusivity is important to them. Through their graphic novels and illustrations, they create a warm world where all manner of beings are welcome.
Through this list I hope you can see the diversity of LGBT+ Artisans and small businesses that are out there to meet your needs. This is just a small sample of the queer craftspeople you could support this Pride. One-third of LGBTQ small business owners say they lost 50% of their business as a result of COVID, according to the NGLCC, but your patronage could help them back on the way to recovery.
Be an Ally, Shop LGBT+ this Pride.
Share this post promote awareness for LGBT+ small businesses this Pride and let us know where you are going to shop in the comments down below. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated as new blogs come out weekly.
*Note: there are no paid promotions in this article and rights to all images belong to the respective artists and companies*
Sydney Davis-Campos is the Virtual Learning Coordinator at Able ARTS Work, Learn for Life. She has a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. Sydney has worked at Able ARTS Work for almost 5 years where she has also held the positions of Art Instructor and an Assistant Program Manager.