Five local BIPOC and/or queer-owned businesses

Locally sourced, unique hand-created products you need in your life

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Colourful balloons forming a rainbow arch on the streets of New York
In the spirit of Pride, treat yourself and support your local queer businesses! PHOTO: Melissa / Pixabay

By: Jos Stevens, Peak Associate

With farmer’s markets and festivals popping up all over the city this summer, there is no better time to explore small local businesses. Spending your money on local businesses has a myriad of benefits over shutting yourself in a corporate mall. These benefits can include ethical material sourcing, financing the livelihoods of people rather than corporate structures, and connecting with your community. Here are five BIPOC and/or queer-owned businesses I’m excited to order from! 

For COVID-19 safety, I recommend sticking to smaller and outdoor markets in your community and showing up either right when they open or very close to the event end time. However, even these can get crowded with very few people wearing masks so this list also includes vendors who do online or social media based orders.


Qthreadz


Photo Credit: @qthreadz
Based in Victoria, BC, this cute queer-owned thrift store handles all of your clothing needs with upcycled pieces. You can find items like shirts, pants, shoes, and backpacks on their Instagram page, all of which can be yours with a simple direct message. They ship products out to you wherever you are located in Canada, so this is perfect for folks who aren’t comfortable thrifting in person yet. They also donate a portion of their profits to other queer organizations — queers supporting queers! I try to shop as sustainably as possible, and thrifting is one of the many great ways to do this. If you like this Instagram-based thrifting style, @cerealthrifter_ on Instagram is another queer-owned Vancouver business who operates in a similar way.


Devi Arts Collective


Photo Credit: @devicollective
Created in Vancouver by Ethiopian founder Bayoush Mengesha, this BIPOC women-led jewellery brand strives to give you a little bit of soft glam that is “an expression of the bold, the confident, and the vibrant qualities in our truest selves.” Devi Arts uses sustainable materials with all of their products including necklaces, earrings, and rings. All are minimalist pieces which can be worn to compliment basically any look. I’m always on the hunt for more rings, and Devi Arts has just what I have been looking for. You can check out their website for all of their items and have them delivered to you.


Hungryminis


Photo Credit: @hungryminis
Created by hand in Langley, BC, this LGBTQIA2S+ owned Etsy business serves you earrings that look like pieces of cake. They’re incredibly cute, detailed, and realistic enough to eat! The preset cake earrings use layers of colours to depict queer flags. They also have many colour options for customization, so you can curate the perfect pair for your identity. Simply message their Etsy page, request the number of layers and colours you’d like, and you have yourself a unique pair of earrings. Mini versions of things, especially food, always excite and satisfy me, so I’m looking forward to wearing a pair of little cakes on my ears.


Munea Wadud


Photo Credit: @artbymunea
Owned and operated by a non-binary, Bengali, queer person, this little shop on Esty creates art with the purpose of making a statement. From pins to prints, their products promote LGBTQIAS2+ rights, racial equality, and body positivity to help you express your passion for advocacy in a unique and bold way. Anytime I get to view local art and prints like this, I have to stop myself from buying all of them due to how amazing it all looks. I might have to let myself cave on this one though.


Karibu Handcrafted Soaps


Photo Credit: @karibusoaps
Locally made in New Westminster by Kenyan founder Ken, these handcrafted soaps are made using locally sourced plant-based ingredients. They focus on “keeping it safe and simple, crafting each item with just basic ingredients needed for a clean, healthy product that is gentle and nourishing on the skin, long lasting, and pure.” One thing I found strikingly unique was how they use recycled items like milk cartons to mould their soaps. How crafty is that? Knowing that Karibu strives for locally sourced ingredients really sold me. Some of their soaps are available in-person at Old Crow Coffee Co. or you can place an order online through their website.