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Penned By: The Dapper Boi
Putting the spotlight on businesses owned by LGBTQ+ people is a relatively new phenomenon. For decades our community has been largely overlooked, especially in the business arena. Thankfully, after years of hard work and activism, times have changed. It’s now ok to be out and own a business.
But, we’ve still got a long way to go. There are still plenty of areas in the U.S. where being an LGBTQ+ owner can hurt your business. Which is why we think it’s important to show some love to other businesses like ours. Their success is our success.
Unfortunately, there are simply too many to highlight in a single article (a bittersweet sign of the times). To find and support businesses owned by LGBTQ+ people in your local area, check out this guide. We’ve also included a link to an extensive list of black-owned businesses. A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say. In the meantime, here are 10 businesses we’ve been crushing on lately…
K.F. and Dapper Boi have similar origin stories and business philosophies. We are both focused on challenging gender-norms in fashion. We both understand the importance of clothes that fit you, in every sense of the word. And we both have kickass names. Go check out their dynamo suits. You’ll be glad you did.
Nik Kacy specializes in high-end, gender-neutral footwear, accessories, and apparel. We’re particularly big fans of their Limited Edition Combat Boot. They hope to provide a solution to individuals who have been seeking footwear alternatives that fit not only their feet, but also their authentic expression of self. And we think they’re doing a damn good job.
Tomboy X makes underwear high-quality underwear for everyone, regardless of where they fall on the size or gender spectrum. We think it’s safe to say they’ve got some of the best undie prints in the game... the undie game.
PDL specializes in well-made button-down shirts for bodies with curves. The founders grew up as tomboys, and were always very aware that retail clothing retail clothing experience wasn’t built for them… so they decided to change that. They’re another brand that has really nailed down some awesome prints.
HauteButch is a queer black owned brand, founded in 2012 by Karen Roberts & Danette Sheppard-Vaughn in an effort to solve a problem that’s existed in the fashion industry since its birth – creating masculine clothing custom tailored to fit women’s bodies. If you’re in the market for some high-end formal wear, these are your peeps.
Play Out Apparel, which is queer and trans-owned, was created because they didn’t see themselves reflected in existing brands and apparels. Specifically, they couldn’t find underwear and streetwear that represented them or was gender inclusive, so they designed and manufactured it for themselves… and everyone else who identifies similarly as well.
HumanKind Swim is a female-founded company created to make quality swimsuits, including swim shirts, that fit your desired style. All of their designs are fitted on multiple body types to ensure an effortless fit. They also test-wear all of their products during real life activities, from the pool to volleyball, making sure they’re comfortable and supportive no matter what.
We Are Fluide is a mission-driven beauty brand that creates vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free cosmetics designed for all skin shades and gender expressions. Through providing a platform and amplifying the voices of queer and gender expansive identities, and through showcasing queer beauty, they hope to inspire others to create their identities on their own terms, opening up possibilities for everyone’s self-expression. Well, consider us inspired, Fluide!
The founders of The Barb Shop both loved keeping their hair short, but often found themselves stuck between two traditional words—salons and barbershops. They knew that there had to be a better, more inclusive solution... enter, Barb! Barb was founded to give women and folks with short hair a home! Thanks for keeping us Dapper Barb!
There ya have it. Now, go show these business some love!