This week marks the start of Pride month, making it the perfect time to celebrate and support the queer community — and you better believe that one of my favorite ways to do so is via shopping. When we shop queer-owned businesses, we are supporting actual LGBTQ people. It’s an actionable and easy way to literally put our money where our mouths are. As a queer person, this feels especially important to me when the world is so fraught and tenuous for marginalized communities.
That said, whether you’re queer or not, it’s important to support LGBTQ-owned brands and businesses year-round, and not just during Pride month. (It’s performative and pandering when big corporate brands remain silent on issues that affect the queer community 11 months out of the year, and suddenly unveil splashy rainbow-themed wares come June 1.)
By making note of LGBTQ-owned brands and coming back to them year-round for all our shopping needs, we can really make a difference in the livelihoods of queer people. I’ve personally found this practice to be both powerful and very fulfilling. Keep scrolling to check out and shop a few of my favorites, and pick up some must-have items like delicious candles, adorable undergarments, swimwear, skin care products and more.
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This B Corp certified underwear brand is made by and for queer people. Their mission is to create undergarments that all bodies feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fall on the size or gender spectrum. The soft black bra is one of the brand’s most popular and recognizable items. It’s cool enough to wear on its own and comfortable enough for everyday use.
When I’m in need of a fresh new candle, I always turned to LGBTQ-owned brand Boy Smells. Their fresh, innovative scents and gorgeous vessels look always look and smell elegant. Their newest scent, Rosalita, is part of the brand’s spring candle collection, and features notes of Spanish cassis, saffron and leather juxtaposed with the sweetness of Turkish rose petals. Additional notes of amber and cedarwood make this candle somehow both floral and woody — my dream combo.
Malin + Goetz
Created by life partners Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz after they met one fateful night in an East Village gay bar, Malin + Goetz is now a sought-after skin care brand. Their lotions and candles smell like a dream, the natural deodorant is a cult favorite and the travel kit is a must for anyone planning to do some jet-setting this summer. It includes a grapefruit face cleanser, vitamin E face moisturizer, bergamot hand and body wash, vitamin B5 body moisturizer, peppermint shampoo and cilantro conditioner.
If you’re a coffee fiend, look no further than Equator Coffees. This Fair Trade certified brand is owned by life partners Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell. It was the first certified LGBTQ-owned business to win National Small Business of the Year in 2016. They now have nine retail locations and their coffee can be purchased via a subscription model or individually online. Customers especially love the nutty Equator blend.
This highly concentrated, effective skin care brand goes beyond simply avoiding common irritants like sulfates or parabens and painstakingly formulates their products with no silicones, essential oils, fragrance, drying alcohols, formaldehyde, phthalates, synthetic dyes and more. This queer-owned brand is focused on active ingredients at reasonable price points, like the replenishing ceramide-rich cream.
LGBTQ-owned clothing brand Ouisa is all about French minimalism and New York cool. They specialize in creating signature six-piece capsule collections that they release twice a year. These collections are full of versatile, timeless staples that prioritize comfort, quality and longevity. They’re made to order, so shipping time takes a while, but they are worth the wait. Pick up a few summer staples and enjoy them year-round. I’m drooling over this perfectly constructed white button-down.
Pink House Alchemy
This LGBTQ-owned brand is a sensory delight. Pink House Alchemy creates tasty bitters, syrups and shrubs for cocktails, making it the perfect addition to any bar cart. The lavender syrup is especially popular and not only elevates cocktails, but can be used in coffee, desserts and more as well.