During the month of June, social media and digital space transform into a plethora of rainbows because of Pride Month. Brands and marketers promote inclusivity and acceptance through their campaigns. But what about the real people from the community who are making an impact with their brands and creating jobs for others? Why are we not talking about the businesses or promoting ventures owned by LGBTQ entrepreneurs?
We have seen shows like Shark Tank, where business owners from different age groups and largely female entrepreneurs were present, but hardly did we see any representation of entrepreneurial ventures owned by members of the LGBTQ community. True, but a sad reality is that even after gaining legal equality, LGBTQ business owners are not included or promoted even during Pride Month.
During the pandemic, tech giants and the biggest e-commerce merchants promoted the idea of shopping small, vocal for local and purchasing from women entrepreneurs. We have communities and grants for female entrepreneurs, such as the Entreprenaari created by Navya Nanda and the Women Entrepreneurship Platform by Startup India.
In India, less than 5 per cent of business entrepreneurs belong to the LGBTQ community. Because of the social and economic stigma and exclusion, countries all over the world are losing millions of dollars from their GDP.
This Pride Month, we bring to a list of businesses owned by LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have taken the courageous leap and transformed the socio-economic paradigm with their unique ventures and ideas. Let us take a look at them.
Top businesses owned by LGBTQ entrepreneurs
1. Threads and Shirts
Many LGBTQ entrepreneurs have ventured into the world of fashion and apparel design to express their voices and as well become homegrown clothing brands in India.
One such is entrepreneur Anisha Chaudhary who started her brand Threads and Shirts in the year 2015. The brand offers customized tailored clothing for corporate wear. Targeted customers can send their shirt measurements and will get a custom-designed formal shirt suitable for their officewear. The clothing design brand offers diverse ranges of chic and smart corporate wear designs so that you look your best at work.
Founded in 2018 in Bangalore by Tania George, Boucle started as a pret ensemble of quirky and niche necessity products. The label focuses on minimal elegance. The products are aesthetically appealing with fine finishing and attention to minute details. The artistic quality of the products is enhanced by the vibrant usage of colours and vivid patterns. The products are layered with motifs and available for a limited time period.
3. Aravani Art Project
Street art has been a great way for the people of marginalized communities to express their voices and struggles through the beautiful canvas on the walls.
Transgenders in India are the economically deprived subalterns. Their causes are hardly represented in the mainstream narrative.
To create a safe for transgender people to express their voice through art, the Aravani Art Project was started.
Founded by muralist Poornima Sukumar, the art project is defined as a “collective movement working to enable the Transgender Community through visual art, social experiments, and magic.”
It has now become an incredible visual tool to raise awareness about the non-binary and transgender community. The walls of art help build knowledge and help the people of the LGBTQ community to feel connected and confident while communicating the pressing challenges they face in society.
The volunteer-led art project focuses on art for good by aiming to become an alternative stream of income for people of the transgender community.
Started by Purab, an Assamese trans-man, Medusa became a venture of expressing one’s identity and idea of freedom through the means of clothing. The personality of a person is diverse and clothes can enhance the plethora of identities that one has which is colourful.
Medusa has a cool collection of socks, sweaters, hoodies, etc. All the clothing and accessories are a motif of equality and self-love.
Started as venture during the pandemic by Sukku, Strawbabie’s products are exquisite and handcrafted jewellery. It is a transparent slow fashion brand that delivers products within 10 days. All the SKUs of Strawbabie are sustainable and utopian in its vibe.