Now that queer culture has caught the attention of corporations and culture vultures, we’re getting inundated with false endorsements and an influx of Rainbow-marked merchandise, particularly during Pride Month. Because big-box businesses serve items at a lower cost and frequently ship in under two days, folks are sidestepping smaller enterprises. Still, there are many conscious consumers who really cares about where their money ultimately lands.
The LGBTQ community is full of talented small businesses and artisans making unique products. They’re constantly working to better themselves and their lives by offering beautiful products and services. Let’s not forget about our LGBTQ micro-business owners; let’s spend where we think it will do the most good and positively impact our world.
In honor of Pride Month, we’re bringing you a hand-picked list of stellar queer artists and makers from all walks of life. Let’s celebrate LGBTQ micro business owners who both need and want your support — and you’ll enjoy what they’re selling, too!
Abby Sloan (she/her/hers)
Abby Sloan Art
Abby Sloan creates original prints and paintings to elevate personal space and help others express unique style.
Amithyst Starr (they/them/theirs) | VioletandSuds
VioletandSuds is owned and operated by a team managed by Amithyst Starr. They create vegan bath and beauty products, high-quality soy wax candles and more. Ten percent of monthly profit is donated to Tiny Paws Kitten Rescue in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Chris Paul (he/him/his) | Chris Paul Ceramics
Chris is a hobby potter based in San Francisco, creating dynamic works, including raku-fired and experimental pieces, using varied clay bodies, glazes, and techniques.
Finch Bertram (they/them/theirs) | brightlyart
Brightlyart is a Chicago-based business creating handmade crochet stuffed animals, stickers, and other unique creations.
Jessica Neill (she/her/hers) | Bourbon and Spark
Jessica is a Chicago-based artist and designer creating bold and splashy stickers, prints, and paintings.
Jolene Sage (they/them/theirs) | Jolene Sage Photography
Jolene is a skilled photographer based in Chicago, bringing high-quality experiences to all of their clients. During their session, Jolene offers posing guidance, photoshoot prep, and endless encouragement.
Josh Maj (he/him/his)
Josh is a Chicago-based DJ/producer who routinely brings together hip hop, R&B, house, and world music. Josh has been performing as a DJ since 2002 and producing since 2009.
Kaitlyn Johnston (she/her/hers) | Kaitlyn Johnston Photography
Kaitlyn is a Chicago-based wedding, portrait, event and boudoir photographer, taking fun, romantic, delicate and whimsical photos.
Keaton Belli (he/him/his) | Keaton Belli Pottery
Keaton creates truly unique textured, mixed media vessels for plants, candles, and libations. All of his work is produced by hand at his home in Berkeley and his pottery studio in El Cerrito.
Leo Fletcher (they/them/theirs) | Chicago Queer Creations
Leo creates one-of-a-kind hand-stitched and painted embroidered pieces. Primarily, Leo creates art that makes their heart happy and completes new projects and commissions on a case-by-case basis.
Natalie Przybylo (she/her/hers) | Nats___tats
Natalie is a tattoo artist who’s been tattooing for more than five years. She does stick-and-poke tattoos from her home studio, creating designs with clients in mind and adding extra details to bring ideas to life.
Nicole Akoukou Thompson (she/her/hers) | Dark Bodies Pottery
Nicole is a Chicago-based ceramicist who creates Afro-bohemian ceramic tableware and home goods. She produces small-batch pottery, using rich colors and dark clay bodies. She makes everything from her home-based studio.
Mariana Vasquez-Crede (she/her/hers) | MVCeramics
Mariana celebrates the simplicity and spontaneity of clay, specifically focusing on wheel-thrown pieces.
Ryna Jerrick (she/her/hers/theirs)
Ryna is a Chicago-based stylist at Wicker Park Salon Lofts, specializing in haircuts and colorings.
Ray Elliot (they/them/theirs) and August Willow (she/her/hers) | PA
Sono is an herbal apothecary, plant-based smoke shop, and art design project. Ray is the creative mind behind Sono, tapping generational folk recipes, while August manages production, customer care and technical support.
Rianna Sprague (she/her/them/they) and Samoan Eliza (she/her/hers) | New City Craft
New City Craft is a workspace for intermediate and advanced artists who have outgrown intro-level ceramics settings. The space is owned and operated by a trained ceramicist.
Kelly Lenza (they/them/theirs) | Kelly Lenza Photography
Kelly Lenza Photography specializes in artist and client-led creative portrait photography, family photography, and boudoir photography. They serve up sessions in-home or in public locations within an hour’s drive from Lake Zurich, IL, and provide free photos to BIPOC, disabled, and trans folks.
Stephanie Oliver-Young (she/her/hers) and Chrissy Oliver-Young (he/him/they/theirs) | Stubbs Sniffs & Suds
Stubbs Sniffs & Sud provides all of the delightful smelling goods! They craft and offer scented candles and wax melts. Also, they create artisan soaps that are handmade in small batches.