The world has been going through a lot lately. Wars, earthquakes, storms, and the pandemic, of course! But none of this has deterred the human spirit from finding reasons to make this world a better place.
June is celebrated as Pride month worldwide, and coupled with the World MSME Day celebrated on June 27th, it seems quite apt to celebrate and recognize small business owners working for the LGBTQ+ community to find encouragement and support from across the world.
Here are 7 small businesses making a big difference, inspiring each one of us to make an impact, by looking beyond making profits.
1. BeUnic India
BeUnic India, co-founded by Ashish Chopra, first runners-up Mr. Gay India (2018), is an e‑commerce marketplace for LGBTQ entrepreneurs and designers. This platform is a true example of ‘for the community, by the community, of the community’. All the beautiful products on the website are created by the queer community. BeUnic is expanding by the day and also caters to an international audience now!
The SMB doesn’t stop at just giving a platform to the LGBTQ+ community to come forward and showcase their talent. The company works for a range of causes to help their community by raising funds for gender-affirming care/ queer events/ NGOs working for queer empowerment, etc.
PeriFerry is an ally‑owned, social impact startup focused on creating inclusive job opportunities for the transgender community. They provide awareness and sensitisation services to organisations building a culture of LGBTQ+ inclusion.
So far PeriFerry has created jobs for over 205+ transgender persons and sensitised over 22000+ corporate India employees. Some of their clients are ‑ ANZ, Walmart Global Tech, ThoughtWorks, Goldman Sachs, Amazon, and Ibis Hotels.
3. Serenity Thrifts
Sustainability has been at the centre of environmental conservation efforts across the world lately. Contributing to the cause is this small business, owned by two queer women of religious minorities. Serenity Thrifts is a sustainable store, selling pre-loved, thrifted, and upcycled clothes. The firm has recently started taking custom orders for hand-painted clothing.
What’s more? The owners love cats! Every purchase you make from the store, it helps feed stray cats.
4. Tats and Illos
Tats and Illos is owned and run by Ishana, a queer multi-media artist based in Mumbai. Ishana specialises in illustration & animation and translates her work into hand-poked tattoos. She has been in the business for over a year now and has been participating in fundraisers to help those who suffered during COVID wave 2.
Lee is a queer digital artist, owning @leeedoodles. She creates and sells original designs like illustrations, logos, and creative content for social media. She also makes custom stickers and art prints, and is open for commissions.
She is making a difference with her work by helping other small businesses with their brand collateral. Scrolling through her Instagram feed, you realise a lot of her work is influenced by pop culture! Check out her work here.
6. Argha’s Creations
Argha’s Creations is run by Argha Naskar, Kolkata based 17-year-old (he-him/they-them) selling customized chocolates, BonBons, Bengali platters, cakes and other delicacies.
Argha is a self-taught baker and is working hard to sponsor his own education and organize free workshops for marginalized people!
Shriya (any pronouns), is a bisexual artist who creates their work in a variety of mediums. Whether you’re looking for a crocheted item, an embroidery hoop, crocheted jewellery, a custom art piece, resin charms, or even some original fiction, they can provide all of these things.
These 7 stories are just a reflection of millions more building change for the LGBTQIA community. From all of us at Razorpay, here’s saluting them, their teams and their creations.