June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the vibrant and diverse 2SLGBTQ+ community and their resilience in the face of adversity. Join us in honouring their history, recognizing the challenges they have overcome, and acknowledging the progress achieved.
We are thrilled to highlight six of our favourite 2SLGBTQ+-owned businesses and entrepreneurs and share why we adore them. Let's show our support for these incredible ventures not just this month, but throughout the entire year.
A welcoming haven for connections, storytelling, and indulging in delightful desserts
Flor and Mari's incredible journey began in 2020 with the founding of Geladona. In 2022, they opened their vibrant physical store in Toronto, becoming a cherished haven for connection and storytelling. With 30 Geladona flavors, they've evolved into a beloved neighborhood shop specializing in Brazilian coffee, pastries, and unique desserts. Geladona's inspiring story emerged from financial struggles, with Mari using her last dollars to create the first batches. Through community support, Geladona expanded to bakeries and markets, showcasing the power of connection. It embodies resilience, shared joy, and crafting extraordinary culinary experiences. We love Geladona—a true success story, a haven for people, and a delightful destination for treats!
Virtual admin assistants with inclusivity at the core
Bobbie Racette, the visionary founder of Virtual Gurus, has revolutionized the remote work landscape by connecting businesses with skilled virtual assistants. Through Virtual Gurus, Bobbie empowers remote professionals worldwide, providing flexible support to companies. Raised in Regina by two moms and identifying as Cree-Métis, Bobbie values inclusivity. At Virtual Gurus, the majority of virtual assistants are from diverse backgrounds, including stay-at-home mothers, individuals with disabilities, and members of Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ communities. Despite facing obstacles due to her identity, Bobbie's transformative approach challenges and overturns negative aspects of the hiring system. We admire Bobbi's transformative approach with Virtual Gurus, where they effectively challenged and reversed the negative and unjust elements of the hiring system.
Jessie Pruden - Bead n’ Butter
Beautiful Métis Beadwork
Jessie's beading journey began amidst the quarantine of 2020. Seeking connection with her family and combating isolation, she dedicated countless hours to beadwork. It wasn't long before she discovered a supportive community that ultimately led her to Bead n' Butter. We are truly enamored with Bead n' Butter for its deeply inspiring work, rooted in Jessie's personal life and narrative. As a queer, disabled Métis woman, Jessie finds solace and vibrancy within these communities, beautifully reflected in her exquisite designs. Beading has become Jessie's daily practice, and she now shares her creations online. We hold Bead n' Butter in high regard, as it blossomed from Jessie's passion into a thriving business.
Beyond makeup – an inclusive-first makeup brand
Jean-Luc Palumbo, the visionary behind Jean-Luc Cosmetics, launched the brand in April 2021 while working as a dedicated Social Worker. Having spent years empowering others to rebuild hope, Jean-Luc realized the importance of doing the same for himself. It was in 2018 that he discovered the transformative power of makeup—a creative outlet that ignited his passion and connected him with a supportive community. With a strong commitment to inclusivity, Jean-Luc founded Jean-Luc Cosmetics as a makeup brand that embraces and celebrates all individuals, including those historically marginalized in the beauty industry. We admire Jean-Luc for seamlessly blending his passion for social work with his longstanding interest in makeup. By fusing these diverse passions, Jean-Luc has crafted an innovative cosmetics venture that captures our hearts.
Intertwining Art and Legacy
Patrick Hunter, an esteemed 2Spirit, Ojibwe artist, and award-winning entrepreneur, hails from Red Lake, Ontario. Renowned for his distinctive woodland art style paintings, Patrick's impact extends beyond the art world into the corporate realm. Collaborating with organizations such as Rogers Media Company, Staples, Ontario Power Generation, TD, and RBC banks, he has left an indelible mark on the corporate landscape.
Rooted in intention, Patrick contributes to a better world through art and ensures the representation of future generations in mainstream culture. His creative endeavors have expanded into the sports industry, where he has engaged inartistic collaborations with prestigious partners like the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canadian Olympic curling team, and APTN's new Bryan Trottier award, celebrating Indigenous excellence in the NHL.
Patrick's passion for raising awareness of his Ojibwe heritage and nurturing creative confidence is evident in his in-person and virtual paint workshops across North America. We love Patrick for his unwavering commitment to his heritage through art and education.
These highlighted entrepreneurs and businesses are among our favourites, showcasing their passion and resilience in translating creativity into thriving ventures. We are continually inspired by the achievements of 2SLGBTQ+ founders. We would love to hear about other 2SLGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and businesses that inspire you. Please share your recommendations with us!