10TH APRIL 2023

By Holly

Want to know some brilliant LGBTQIA+ small business to support? The colourful artwork below was created by the brilliant Sophie Green, who is a resident artist at MerseyMade — a unique creative hub for local makers in Liverpool and winner of ‘Ally of the Year’ at the LGBTQ+ Business Awards. 

Sophie believes her career as an artist has allowed her to expand her activity as an LGBTQIA+ activist. She works relentlessly, year-round, organising Pride banner workshops with young queer people, hosting a drawing club and trans meet-ups, and working within the community for local charities, because she believes that without people and purpose, her work wouldn’t be as powerful. 

And this got me thinking. Just before Pride 2023, the usual ‘rainbow claims’ popped up. Yet how many LGBTQIA+ small businesses are we actively supporting in our daily lives? So I’m sharing this once again in case it’s useful…


Ultimately, if we want UK artists and those thinking about starting a business to be able to see themselves represented, we want to ensure that the world of UK entrepreneurship is an inclusive space. That means we need to support those who are being unfairly held back, simply because of their gender or sexuality. Pride month offers us an opportunity to shine a light while the world is watching, but there are things we can all be doing year round, including…

  • Supporting LGBTQIA+ small businesses and voting with our money for the kind of world we want to live in (you’ll find some of my favourites below)
  • Sharing recommendations for LGBTQIA+ small businesses with friends and family so others can support them too
  • Leaving positive reviews for products you love (and when you see the below, I’m sure you will!)
  • Donating to LGBTQIA+ charities (our time, money, services, voices or even just a little love)
  • Becoming an active LGBTQIA+ ally and speaking out if people around you are being idiots

With that in mind, here’s a reminder of some excellent small businesses from the LGBTQIA+ community…

First up, there’s an award-winning, low-alcohol craft beer company, with beer brewed by Joelle and Sarah, a couple from Swansea who founded Drop Bear Beer — the only LGBTQIA+ alcohol-free beer company in Wales (and I have it on good authority it’s delicious by the way).

Then we have luxury, hand-poured candles made entirely from recycled wax (saving 40 tonnes of the stuff from landfill every year!), by the founders of The Recycled Candles Company — proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community who donate 10% of sales from their Pride candles to Stonewall and 10% of sales from their Home Sweet Home candles to support missing people.

You could try these ‘Fluffy Marshmallows’, by Refuge Chocolate — Refuge donates proceeds to Flourish to give survivors of human trafficking an opportunity to get involved in the business, plus all products are handmade using ethical ingredients and packaging.

This is well worth a read — ‘An Opinionated Guide To Queer London’ written by Frank Gallagher for Hoxton Mini Press, who says, “If it’s queer, it’s definitely here: culturally and historically, London is one of the premier cities in the world for LGBTQIA+ life. With so much on offer, it can be hard to know where to go. This is where we come in.”

Introducing the ‘Caramel Beanie Hat’, by Feel Good Club who are on a mission to create online and physical spaces where people feel safe, comfortable and feel good being themselves. As well as the online shop, the wonderful wives who founded it have a flagship coffee shop and bar in Manchester, and are passionate mental health campaigners.

This ‘Totally Turquoise T-shirt’ is made of Fair Trade certified organic cotton by Soup Can — a small business trying to make a big difference. They don’t believe in having gender specific clothes as surely anyone can wear whatever they want (music to my ears). Their promise? To stop the world labelling people like we’re soup cans.

This ‘Queer Joy Is an Act of Resistance’ riso print features the wise words and vivid, three colour patterns of Rachael House, who has also sold these wonderful pieces via the Queeriosities Art and Makers Fair (an art and makers fair led by LGBTQIA+ creatives and businesses, curated by Davy Pittoors). Rachael’s work focuses on Feminist and queer politics and resistant histories / herstories, aiming to reach as many like-minded people as possible.

‘Handmade Yorkshire Raspberry Gin Liquor’ by The Little Red Berry Co which is female founded and female run. They hand-make a range of ‘accidentally-vegan’, real-fruit, small-batch spirits in Yorkshire (apparently, most spirit companies use ingredients such as fish bladders and crushed bugs in the production of their spirits but not here — who knew?!).

‘Love REMILL T-Shirt’ — a fresh new design from the LGBTQIA+ collection by Bohemia Organic. All clothes in this collection are made from the old products people have sent back to them, recycling the material and making it into beautiful new pieces, which really is something to LOVE.

‘Bright Rainbow Taper Candles Set of Eight’ made with a luxury blend of soy and beeswax, and hand-dipped in the UK using a traditional technique meaning no two are alike. Inspired by founder Tony’s love of setting tables, Fairholme Studio was set up during lockdown 2020.

‘The Cup of Courage’, designed to provide the boost of bravery one needs and is perfect for turning worriers into warriors. The mug was created by Katie Abey who is passionate about making people feel proud of their individuality and all of the things that set us apart from others.

This ‘Corita Kent X Maya Angelou Quotes Print’ is a signed, dated, open edition A3 Giclee print created by Pea (founder of Lucky Budgie), whose work reflects their love of words and belief in our power to change things because words offer us infinite possibilities to be seen, felt and heard. Hear, hear!

This ‘Self Love Mirror Decal’ was created by queer illustrator and artist Sophie Kathleen who makes illustrated prints and gifts celebrating feminism, positivity and LGBTQIA+ empowerment. It’s designed to apply to your mirror and bring a smile to your face (with several different messages available).

Now I’m a patron of this excellent charity so if they weren’t absolutely magnificent, you’d be forgiven for calling me biassed. But ARTHOUSE Unlimited work with talented artists living with complex neurodiverse or physical support needs like Stephen here. He is a big advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community and feels passionately about helping people to be proud of who they are, whatever their sexuality, which is what his card represents.


I recently shared that 57% of small businesses are at risk of closure in 2023. Now add to that all the LGBTQIA+ small businesses who are statistically less likely to get funding or support. Is that fair? Supporting this community can’t be a once a year thing for Pride. Bookmark this page to support these businesses year round and please do share any other independents that you know and love. 

If you’re looking for other ways your shopping habits can help move the world forward, take a look at my 2022 article Why I’m Celebrating Pride This Year, All Year, or the social enterprises in my ‘Celebrating businesses that do good’ post. Remember, things will only change and improve if we get off our arses consistently to make it happen. Are you with me?


  1. Stonewall website 

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