June is known as Pride month; a celebration of the LGBTQ community. This is a nod to the events that took place more than 50 years ago, marking the beginning of the modern LBGTQ movement. The rainbow flag colors signify the importance of diversity, identity, and solidarity.
As we acknowledge both how far we have come and how much work we have left to do, let’s also celebrate LBGTQ businesses—from local favorites to online powerhouses. According to a National LGBT Chamber of Commerce report, LGBTQ-owned companies contribute $1.7 trillion annually to the U.S. economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. Below are five great LGBTQ-owned businesses featuring home and garden products to shop and support now.
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Founders/owners: Nora Jay and Sara Wiebe
What they sell: Plants, plus landscaping and consultation services
Front Yard Gardens got its name from the place it began: Jay and Wiebe’s front yard. Their business is mainly focused on landscaping and consulting, but the success of their home-based venture gave them a new outlet. “During quarantine, it really blossomed,” Jay says. “That’s all there really was to do for a year: Be at home and be in your yard, your outdoor space.”
When business took over their home, they rented a backyard across town and turned it into a micro-nursery. “Plants make people happy,” Jay says. “That was my main focus: to be able to help people to connect with plants.”
Front Yard Gardens reuses every single thing possible. They take pots and plants that other nurseries or gardens would toss and use those to propagate and hold their own plants.
What’s hot right now? Jay says people are into monsteras, Chinese money plants, snake plants and others that tend to be air purifiers or plants that do well in low light, indoors. Outside, they are seeing steady demand for Texas native perennials, especially after an unusual February winter storm damaged plant life in their area.
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Founders/owners: Ab Gibson (they/them) and Alyssa Rose (she/her)
What they sell: Unique candles
“No Blueberry Cheesecake candles over here,” the founders say. Instead, Queer Candle Co. blends more offbeat scents, often with botanical accents and ingredients. Think Sea Salt & Orchid, or Sweet Grapefruit & Mint.
Like so many businesses, theirs was born of a hobby turned into something more. The pair says Queer Candle Co. started as a “passion project” in the summer of 2018. Several months before, in the 2018 holiday season, Ab says they gave Alyssa (Al) a candle-making kit because she was spending “too much money on candles from Target.” (We can relate, Ab.)
The couple began making candles together and soon started selling them to friends and family on Instagram. And they instantly knew they had a winner. Within 24 hours, they had sold out their initial inventory! Ab and Al kept growing the business, producing their candles out of their Washington Heights kitchen for the next two years. Once the supplies took over all their space, they moved themselves and their business to Brooklyn in 2020.
“Celebrating LGBTQ+ folks within the small-business community is using our platform and profits to amplify the voices of our community members that need to be heard from the most,” says the pair.
Each month, Ab and Al donate 10% of their profits to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, based in New York. The project focuses on ensuring that all people are able to self-determine their gender identity “without harassment, discrimination or violence.”
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Founder/owner: Alyah Baker
What they sell: Home decor such as quilts, table runners and wall hangings, plus apparel and more.
This 10-year-old shop was born of founder Baker’s desire to match her business with her interests and values. “My goal was to celebrate craftsmanship, prioritize ethical products and sustainability, and share unique, one-of-a-kind items that reflected my love for BIPOC and LGBTQIA community.”
Many of her one-of-a-kind home decor items are created by her mom, known as Mama B.
“I'm super passionate about unapologetic self-expression and cultivating robust, diverse creative communities,” Baker says. “Our products are inspired by the rich cultural traditions of Black, Queer, and feminist communities. We strive to celebrate and uplift these communities through our designs and business practices and bring a bit of joy to our customers' everyday lives.”
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Founders/owners: Brittany Bilyeu and Summer Trottier
What they sell: Home goods such as candles, prints, pillows and drinkware. You can also find fun stickers, clothing, accessories and more. They also host workshops and community events.
Culture Flock began as an online-only apparel shop in 2013. The online business continues to boom, and Bilyeu and Trottier have also added a brick-and-mortar location in Springfield. They are also working on a wholesale business.
Bilyeu and Trottier are long-time best friends—and Springfield natives—with backgrounds in graphic design and marketing who were looking for a way to turn their creativity into a career. “As members of the LGBTQ community in the Midwest, we wanted to create a space where everyone could feel welcome, especially folks that felt they had not quite found "their people" or "their place" in a conservative area,” says Trottier. “We wanted to create the sort of space we wish existed when we were growing up in the 1990s and 2000s.”
The pair designs and handprints all of their apparel and also design stickers, patches, pins, and paper goods. Their store and website also showcase products from more than 50 independent artists throughout the world, with an emphasis on women and minority-owned brands.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts, Atlanta, GA
Founders/owners: Dan Belman and Randy Korando
What they sell: Home decor, accessories, plants, garden accessories and more.
Atlantans are a lucky lot. This popular store, recently re-opened for in-person shopping, is a haven for unique home accessories as well as floral and plant arrangements that take your breath away.
Accessories include unique furnishings, jaw-dropping lighting fixtures, pillows, candles and ceramic pieces by artist Eva Gordon. You can even dream up your perfect piece that fits your decor like a ceramic glove and let Gordon turn it into a showcase item for your home.
Love to garden? You can find beautiful accessories to turn your flower beds into pieces of art, and even the most vibrant plants to fill them.
All these hard-working owners take great pride in their businesses, their work and their wares. This Pride month, peruse their passion-filled products and help them foster their mission of beauty, inclusion and community by taking home a little something to make your own space shine.