The first-ever Pride parade – also known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March – occurred in New York in June 1970 during the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was a way for the community to reflect and honor the bravery of the gay, lesbian, and transgender activists who risked their lives during the uprising – an event that heralded the gay rights movement worldwide.
While Pride Month is a time for remembrance, it’s also about celebrating and championing the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. We’re proud to have great LGBTQ+ representation here at Buffer, and we hope to continue fostering a culture where every individual feels comfortable in their own skin.
To mark this year’s Pride, we wanted to showcase six LGBTQ+-owned small businesses and highlight the ways they’ve celebrated Pride Month on social media. We love how these brands are using their platform to amplify important conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ representation this June. An added perk is that these businesses also provide awesome products, making supporting them an easy decision in our book.
Deja Vu Beauty
Founded in 2021, Deja Vu Beauty sells makeup with the tagline, “beauty for everyone,” – an important distinction for founder Julie Vu. Before starting the brand, Julie was already known to many through her YouTube channel, Princessjoules. There, she speaks openly about the realities of transitioning and has provided viewers with updates on her journey since 2011.
As a proud and vocal transgendered woman, Julie has unfortunately been the victim of online hate and harassment, but she doesn’t let that detract her from her main goal – being a support system for others going through similar situations. Creating an inclusive makeup brand was another way for her to give hope to individuals who’ve felt excluded in the past.
For Pride, Deja Vu Beauty offered customers a 15 percent discount site-wide during the entire month of June.
Julie has also been highlighting the importance of the month through her personal social media. She partnered with the Canadian fashion brand RW & CO and other LGBTQ+-owned small businesses to have a round-table discussion about the inequalities faced within the community.
Julie has a clear goal of speaking up for the rights of transgendered people everywhere and infuses all that passion into Deja Vu Beauty.
Haute Butch – a small business founded in 2012 – creates clothing for those who identify as butch, androgynous straight women, and trans men – and they were one of the first U.S. brands to do so. Co-founder Karen Roberts said that one of her goals when opening her own company was creating masculine clothing specifically tailored to women’s bodies, something that can be quite hard to find in traditional clothing stores.
“Our fit and style preferences were not met in the mainstream retail arena and we weren’t necessarily welcome in the men’s department,” she said. “I wanted clothes that I could relate to and feel confident in.” Still, the brand markets itself as gender-neutral and offers suits, button-downs, and vests for all identities.
In honor of Pride Month, the company shared a video on Instagram highlighting 10 other LGBTQ+-owned small businesses. “We unite to show people that Pride should be celebrated every day,” the video caption reads, “while also showcasing some amazing LGBTQ+ brands that are changing the world.
The clip features the founders of each video holding up one of their products as they talk about the significance of this month and how they incorporate pride into their lives every single day. The video wraps up with the various business owners together on a zoom call – displaying a real sense of solidarity between the group.
Ink Meets Paper
Ink Meets Paper, an LGBTQ+-owned greeting card, and stationery brand launched its Everyday Pride collection. The brand, in an Instagram post about the launch, shared that although the new collection is launching during Pride Month, it will be available year-round, “since celebrating community doesn’t end just because the month changes.”
The letterpress company was founded by Jamie and Allison Nadeau and has maintained its identity as an LGBTQ+-owned brand since its inception. As Jamie told LovetoKnow, "Pride is about living courageously as who you are. When you make the choice to tell people who you are while knowing you may lose people that you love, it's a big deal We wanted to take this collection, include our own life experiences, and put a beautiful product out into the world.”
The brand also conducted two giveaways, one in partnership with other LGBTQ+ brands, and another in partnership with Penguin USA to, in their words, “honor the journeys of LGBTQ+ individuals and the larger movement of love, acceptance, and equality for all.”
We Are Fluide
For Pride Month, We Are Fluide, an inclusive makeup and nail polish brand, released limited-edition makeup boxes and partnered with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education fund to donate a portion of sales to support their work for transgender people.
Over the course of Pride Month, the brand also shared posts and videos to promote the collection and the cause they are supporting. They put the spotlight on their customers, showcasing customer videos and content throughout.
As to what inspired their decisions for Pride Month, Laura Kraber the brand’s co-founder shared with Refinery29, “We Are Fluide was created to showcase queer joy and the beauty and lifestyles of LGBTQ+ people who have been vastly under-represented in beauty. There are countless ways to celebrate Pride, and most importantly Pride is about advocacy and celebrating our trans ancestors who started the movement.”
Leota is a size-inclusive fashion label founded by Sarah Carson. Sarah told Refinery29 her vision for the brand saying, "I wanted to change fashion for the better. I could make a brand that would inspire self-love and joy rather than diets and conformity. I could create a radically inclusive brand that celebrates femininity as a source of strength no matter what body it shows up in."
For Pride Month, Leota implemented several things, starting the month with their commitment to donate 5 percent of their monthly sales to The LGBT Center which is “advocating for the rights and wellness of Queer-identifying people.” They announced their commitment with an Instagram Reel featuring the founder explaining the history and motivations behind their decision.
The brand also hosted a “pre-Pride” party to “highlight the beauty of our community, to celebrate our identities and togetherness.” They spotlighted attendees, asking them questions like, “what is Pride to you” and “how do you express yourself”? and shared the resulting video interviews throughout Pride Month.
The LGBTQ+-owned fragrance brand Boy Smells kicked off Pride Month with the release of their Forbidden Fruit collection. Through their campaign, the brand pledged to support GLSEN and the organization’s initiatives by donating 15 percent of sales from products in the collection in June and July, with a minimum donation of $50,000. One of the more elaborate campaigns on our list, Boy Smells created videos featuring queer actors Charlie Carver and Meg Stalter to showcase the products.
The brand is also including stickers created by queer artist Rooney Simmonds with every purchase from their new collection.
Support the LGBTQ+ community through action
A common thread with the businesses on our list today is that, apart from being LGBTQ+-owned, they take action. Whether that’s by partnering with other LGBTQ+-owned businesses or donating to related causes, they’ve all included an element of giving back with their campaigns for Pride month.
LGBTQ+ people are still fighting to be seen and heard, and need support. There are many organizations and ways to give back throughout Pride Month and all year-round. Take a cue from the businesses on this list and look into how to support the LGBTQ+ members of your community.