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5 Queer brands to know and support all-year-long

Robyn Exton

Jun 28, 2023

5 Queer brands to know and support all-year-long
  • As a queer founder of an LGBTQIA+ company, I have enormous respect for those who dedicate their life’s work to putting something gorgeously gay into the world. Having a seat at the table is not always easy, all the more reason to celebrate when we do finally make it.  

    So, saddle up, gays, you know what that means! It’s time to shop gay, eat gay, date gay, be gay, and support one another and all of our wins!

    So, even beyond this Pride, let’s make a resounding statement by immersing ourselves in the beauty and power of queer culture, creating a world that embraces and cherishes all the incredible queer business owners and queer brands that deserve the spotlight.

    • Trixie Cosmetics
    • Equator Coffees 
    • Automic Gold 
    • HER App


    Source: MALIN+GOETZ

    MALIN+GOETZ was founded in 2004 by partners Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz. The pair, also known as the “first couple” of grooming, were on a mission to develop and create an uncomplicated skincare line. 

    They started the brand by launching six essential products that would be gentle enough for all different skin types. True to their New York roots (okay, and maybe the limited shelf space in their first Chelsea apartment), the philosophy behind their brand is “less, but better.” 

    They’re proudly and loudly committed to supporting their community. They are committed to raising awareness and providing educational resources against racism and violence and use their platform to amplify the powerful voices of the leaders pioneering social change. 

    But it doesn’t end there with these two. Malin and Goetz have been adamant about working to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly line of products. 

    All of their products are manufactured within 90 miles of their home in New York City in an effort to minimize their carbon footprint. Their formulas are “mindfully designed,” with ingredients sourced from local family-owned businesses producing more ecologically friendly and sustainable products. 

    Trixie Cosmetics

    Source: DAZED

    Trixie Cosmetics is Brian Firkus’s make-up brand (aka the dreamy drag queen Trixie Mattel). Trixie started working on her million-dollar idea back in 2018, and took a year off touring and performing to focus on making it as iconic as she knew it could be. 

    Her goal? To create high-quality, easy-to-apply, affordable, and fun products to play with. She wants people to feel as excited about the packaging and products as she did when she was younger and opening up a brand new Barbie doll. Iconic, I know.

    Trixie Cosmetics launched in 2019 and has received nothing but positive reviews from Trixie’s fans, make-up lovers, and the media. It is, without a doubt, one of the most successful companies founded by a Drag Race alum, to date. 

    So, celebrate Pride year-round, and add these glittery, magnetic products to your shopping cart!

    Equator Coffees

    Source: Daniela Ochoa Bravo 

    If coffee is more of your thing, then, fellow gay, do I have a company for you! Equator Coffees was the first LGBTBE-certified, queer-owned business to be awarded the 2016 National Small Business of the Year and the 2016 California Small Business of the Year. It was also the first California coffee roaster to receive B Corp certification, further emphasizing its commitment to transparent and ethical sourcing practices and sustainability. 

    Equator Coffees, the small business that’s making queer coffee history, was founded by partners Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell in 1995 out of their tiny garage in Marin County. 

    Since then, they’ve continued to be an incredible force in the coffee industry and incredible advocates for social justice and the environment. Like many other queer businesses (and deeply unlike the rainbow-washing megatons of the world), they don’t just show up for the LGBTQIA+ community when Pride comes around. 

    “We do things for the queer community all year. We are queer-owned; it’s so important to us,” says Devorah, the director of coffee culture at Equator. 

    One (or a million) more coffees for the road, please! Cheers!

    Automic Gold 

    Source: Automic Gold

    Automic Gold is a “radically wearable” jewelry brand founded in 2016 by AL Sandimirova. They use reclaimed gold to create all of their pieces and pride themselves on their inclusive sizing, sustainability practices, and advocacy. I quite actually can’t get enough of them. 

    Their brand values — like everything else they touch — are literally golden. 

    Just take a look:

    • WE DON’T PHOTOSHOP MODELS: Hell yeah, to positive, honest body images.
    • REPRESENTATION MATTERS: We hire size-inclusive, non-cis, and non-white models all year round, not just for awareness months.
    • RECLAIMED & RECYCLABLE: All pieces are made from reclaimed gold and arrive in packaging that is recyclable.
    • SELF-FUNDED: We have never taken money from investors, so we never have to compromise our values for numbers.

    Sandimirova is a gender-queer refugee who moved to the United States from Russia in 2009. In 2012, they started their first small business, where they worked on repairing and reselling old jewelry. This is when they also started playing around with trying to design their own pieces. 

    When asked where they got their ideas and inspiration for new collections, they said, “Mostly, I want my jewelry to do something a little extra; I want it to move or be something you can’t find on the market. So if I design something, it’s what I want to wear and something I haven’t been able to find.” 

    Excuse me while I run and add their scissors chain to my birthday wishlist, thank you!

    HER App

    Source: HER

    Let’s be honest, this story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the reason I’m here—the dating app you know and love, HER.

    It all began during my time working at an agency in bustling London. As fate would have it, one of our clients was immersed in their own dating project, and I got a glimpse into the business side of the dating world. At the same time, I was using a lesbian app that left much to be desired. It failed to understand the unique needs of queer individuals and was an absolute mess.

    With the ever-growing number of dating sites and apps, it was disheartening but not surprising that nobody was creating a product specifically tailored for LGBTQIA+ women to connect with each other. And that’s when inspiration struck.

    Determined to make a difference, I embarked on a mission. I saved every penny I could, delved into coding tutorials, and mustered the courage to leave the branding agency I had been working at. My journey with HER was about to begin.

    My vision was clear—I wanted to build a space genuinely designed for LGBTQIA+ people, by us. A place that would foster safety, inclusivity, and fun—a haven unlike anything else out there. Fast forward to 2015, and we relocated our headquarters to vibrant San Francisco. That’s when things truly began to change.

    Nearly a decade later, HER boasts over 13 million lifetime users worldwide and has become a thriving hub for countless beautiful and vibrant communities.

    Today, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude. I am fortunate to work alongside passionate individuals who are dedicated advocates for positive change in the world. Being here, witnessing the impact we’ve made, it reaffirms my belief that together we can create a better and more inclusive future for all.

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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