7 LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs to Celebrate All Year Long
June is Pride Month, so let’s celebrate! It is a time when we celebrate the diversity of LGBTQ+ communities, while acknowledging their history, the hardships they have endured and the progress that has been made.
We’re excited to share with you 7 of our favourite LBGTQ+ owned businesses and entrepreneurs and why we love them. We encourage you to celebrate and support these businesses not only this month, but all year long.
Craig Pike – Craig’s Cookies
A safe space serving delicious cookies
Craig started baking cookies as a kid with his mother in his hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland. He began selling his cookies when he moved to Toronto to help support himself as an actor and musician in the city. Craig found rapid success and now has six Craig’s Cookies locations in Canada. His storefronts are decked out in colours of Pride flags and cookies are served in pink cardboard boxes sealed with a rainbow sticker, signalling that everyone is welcome inside and serving as a safe space for both his customers and employees. We love Craig’s Cookies because as a business, they welcome everyone with open arms. Oh, and not to mention their cookies are incredibly delicious.
Bringing queer professionals in tech together to collaborate, scale, succeed and thrive together
Founded in 2016 in Montreal, QueerTech was created as a meetup group to surface and connect LGBTQ+ (Queer) professionals within the tech industry. The group quickly grew from casual meetups to a center of LGBTQ+ tech activity. With their partners, they create opportunities for LGBTQ+ members of the tech industry to connect, collaborate, scale, succeed and thrive together. We love Queer Tech because of their impressive growth and inspiring impact on their community.
A space to buy LGBTQ+ books or join a dance party
Founded in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the first ever queer-focused bookstore in Canada, which also makes it the oldest queer bookstore in the world. Over the last 50 years, Glad Day has provided customers with a wide selection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit and queer literature. The bookstore also hosts a number of events in their space including drag brunches, dance parties, and more. We love Glad Day Bookshop because beyond their books and events, they work with local queer makers to sell art prints, greetings cards, and clothing to support fellow businesses within the community.
Unapologetically reclaiming ‘Operation Soap’ while giving back
Operation Soap is a Canadian queer-owned apparel company with a social mission to give back to the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The brand creates small batch products using state-of-the-art production and socially conscious manufacturing, whenever possible, with a portion of their profits going to queer charities and advocacy groups such as Maggie’s, The 519, and the Black Youth Helpline. We love Soap because they have reclaimed the name “Operation Soap”, which was the Toronto police code for the 1981 bathhouse raids, with a simple mission: “to recognize, re-imagine, and gayify Canada”.
Undergarments made to help you feel more comfortable in the skin you are in
Founded in Toronto, Toni Marlow is an undergarment brand that creates high quality products focusing on comfort and inclusivity. Some of their current products include T.O.M. Period Boxers for people who menstruate, as well as bras and t-shirts. Their gender inclusive, gender affirming underwear is available in sizes ranging from 24” to 49”, and Toni Marlow even happily accepts custom orders for additional inclusive sizing. We love Toni Marlow because the company donates $1 from every purchase to Egale, an organization that provides Trans Allyship workshops to corporate clients and the community.
These entrepreneurs and businesses are just a few of our favourites that we wanted to highlight. We’re inspired by the passion and resilience of these founders that led them to translate their creativity into thriving businesses.
Pride, Community, Inclusion,
(Photo description: Couple holding hands in suits holding pride flag)