Wearing your identity as loud and proud as you want is always a great idea. Come Pride month, the Pride narrative starts getting co-opted for capitalist gains making one believe that some of the products you purchase might not be of the best of intentions. A lot of times marketing strategies trump real support and end up taking away from the intention of the movement itself. In fact, quite the opposite, they end up trivialising the movement.
Big companies with even bigger names release rainbow-themed products persuading one to purchase them for their own profit. A better way to support and show your support is to invest in the community directly.
Here is a list of some amazing businesses owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
This is in no way an exhaustive list and simply an attempt to highlight the efforts of small businesses run by the community.
I. Bouclé by Tania George
Bouclé by Tania George is a Bangalore-based Prêt label that specialises in niche basics that are elegant and quirky yet flexible. Founded in April 2018, the label offers a way of life for individuals who prefer understated elegance to extravagant ornamentation.
They create appealing products with outstanding finishing, construction techniques, a liberal use of colours and prints paired with craftsmanship, as well as symbolic and inspirational objects. Bouclé is well-known for its capsule and limited-edition collections.
Check out Bouclé’s products here.
Lee is a digital artist who creates illustrations, logos, creative content for social media, and brand collateral for small businesses. A lot of Lee’s art is influenced by pop culture, so it turns out to be great content for stickers. Lee also makes customised stickers and art prints. Initially just started this as an account to dump some of her art, she then got into making illustrations referencing pop culture. Lee was part of a garage sale where she decided to sell some of her stickers, and they sold out! That’s when she realised that her art has value that she could create a small business out of.
She says she loves seeing one of her stickers on someone’s laptop or book, and the proud feeling of “I made that!!” that comes with it.
Check out Leedoodles products here.
III. The Phosphene
The Phosphene is an independent South Asian queer youth-run art and expression monthly e-magazine. They want to give all marginalised communities a safe space to express themselves and aspire to break down the social, economic, political, and geographical barriers that separate marginalised populations’ voices from the rest of the world.
Check out The Phosphene here.
Angelo was established to serve good vegan food to Bangalore’s growing vegan population while simultaneously reducing the need for dairy products, which are harmful to the environment and people in general.
Angelo Aditya Fernandes was stranded in Bangalore without their art supplies in early 2020 and needed to let their imagination run wild someplace. Fernandes’s passion for cooking drove them to the kitchen, making them go back to a Vegan Mozzarella recipe they had tried five years before. Fernandes was able to perfect his formula after a lot of trial and error, and thus, India’s first vegan mozzarella was born!
Check out Angelo products here.
V. Sanethetics by Sanskriti
Sanethetics is a resin, macrame, lettering and jewellery store. They offer a wide range of artsy daily-life or once-in-a-life products such as accessories, merch products such as BTS keychains, decor, bookmarks and other customisable products.
Started in late 2018, Sanskriti dabbled in various arts such as embroidery. But the lockdown gave her a chance to try resin and she says she fell in love!
Even before she decided to label herself queer, she wanted to be the best ally to the community. Her art throughout the years has had the undertone of pride. To her, being a queer-owned business feels like a responsibility to hold, to give representation to every label and non-label.
Check out Sanethetics products here.
VI. Panda Rolling
Panda Rolling, located in Bangalore and founded by Sanam Dembla and her brother Sharan Dembla in June 2020, is an accessory brand that aims to provide effective deliveries of the best smoking brands around Bangalore and the rest of India.
Check out Panda Rolling products here.
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