By Erin Daniels, The KNOW Women
During Pride month, the LGBTQ+ community comes together all around the world to celebrate their achievements, strength and bravery, and love. Specifically chosen to pay homage to the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, June is filled with events to celebrate the progression that has been made, but also bring awareness to the change that is still required to achieve full equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
In June, we see many corporations changing their logos, selling pride-themed items, and creating advertisements focusing on Pride. This commercialization of Pride is known as “rainbow capitalism.” While it is important that these corporations are bringing awareness, it often is only showcased during the month of June and sports no lasting change for the LGBTQ+ community. These marketing strategies water down the importance of Pride by taking advantage of the movement for monetary gain rather than providing tangible assistance and progressive support.
One way to support members of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride and throughout the year is to support and buy from LGBTQ+-owned businesses. According to a report done by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT Business Enterprises make up less than 1% of small businesses. This may be due to many reasons such as reluctance to disclose their sexual orientation due to discrimination. While LGBTQ+ businesses may appear to be small in statistics, they are mighty! The NGLCC also reported that LGBTBEs bring in triple the average revenue of other small businesses and last an average of 8 years longer than other startups! LGBTQ+-owned businesses are booming and are bringing a great amount of growth to the economy. Two successful and influential LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs that are helping lead the way are Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapeutics and one of the highest-paid female CEOs, and Megan Smith, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States.
At KNOW, we are proud of our high-achieving and ambitious LGBTQ+ community. This month, we are highlighting six LGBTQ+-owned businesses to KNOW and connect with during Pride month as well as throughout the entire year.
Joey is a multidisciplinary designer with a passion for creative problem solving, with 5+ years of experience. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona where I work as the Art Director at Vapen Brands. Her hobbies include eating Chinese food, obsessing over my pets (Louie and Mila), and cooking with her wife. Branding and user experience are essential for an honest connection from your company to your audience. Design for the experience and the perception you want to achieve with a genuine message. She is the founder and owner of Joey Fisher, a graphic design company that offers Art Direction, Illustration, Brand Identity and Development, Design Consulting, Copy Writing, Packaging, and Squarespace Website Design. Click here to connect with Joey on LinkedIn!
QueerKwe is an Anishinaabe Two Spirit artist from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Her work creates representation for LGBTQ & Two Spirit Indigenous peoples within community space by incorporating modern pride flags with traditional beadwork. QueerKwe’s handcrafted products are available to all who are committed to advocating for Indigenous and Queer communities. Click here to support Rebecca and QueerKwe!
Jen Smith is the founder of LeLu Coffee Enterprise, an aspiring author, and an action-orientated self-development coach. She focuses on educating and embracing personal power within navigating the business world. Smith elevates and empowers her clients to step into their truth unapologetically and confidently, which has led to the founding of The Metamorphosis Retreat. Click here to connect with Jen on LinkedIn.
Debbie Esparza blends all her intersections and lived experience for the benefit of our community. Her purpose is to disrupt and dismantle the systemic barriers that perpetuate social and racial inequities. As a woman who leads with her heart, she puts her personal philanthropy toward LGBTQ+ issues and services for women and girls. Click here to connect with Debbie on LinkedIn!
Sarah Spence , Perspective Photography
Local to Edmonton, Alberta, Sarah is the CEO of Perspective Photography where she focuses on wedding and lifestyle photography as well as videography. She is also the in-house photographer for Spotlight Cabaret, a venue that hosts many Drag Queen events. In addition to shooting at Spotlight Caberet, Sarah is the personal photographer for many of these “amazing Queens!” Some of the Drag Queens that she has worked with are, GoGo Fetch, Tina Burner, Felicia Bonee, and Tynomi Banks along with many others. Click here to connect with Sarah on Instagram and see her incredible work!