It’s pride month and we know you are looking for all things queer or we should say inclusive stuff. So, we thought to bring to your attention that you might miss otherwise. These queer-made small businesses may not be very well-known but are making an impact in their little ways and it’s time to support them.
Run by Shaivya Ramani and co-founder Raj, Tilt is a shop for gynaecologist-recommended underwear that reduces the risk of infections. These undies are made from Naturally sourced fibres with 3X absorption, absorb sweat, pee, discharge, and more, and eliminate post-toilet use wetness. Ramani, who identifies as a bisexual woman, says that they initially faced challenges in funding due to biases against women-led businesses in the intimate category but she is now proud of who she is and what they create at Tilt.
Check out these sizes and skin-friendly undies on their Instagram page and website. Well, the name Tilt comes from the fact that vaginas and boobs are tilted in nature, says the founder.
If you like all things natural then this queer-made startup is the place that will make you turn heads right away. From naturally flavoured lip balms which taste exactly like their natural flavour (PS: I applied their peppermint balm and loved it) to amazing Khadi shirts that are perfect for all seasons, they have crafted all products with all their heart and mind toward mother nature. Started by Kabir and Shubham, this is a small business you must check out right away if you’re looking to buy perfect for summer/spring and sustainable kurtas, corsets and footwear.
“Our brand is the derivative of Sant Kabir’s poems. Like his poems, we aim to design all-inclusive outfits. We don't have a store yet but we aim to have a Sant Kabir themed store in the near future,” said the founder duo.
Roots Production (Zenzulaonstreets)
Lalith Choyal, a 23-year-old BMM student, left engineering to promote the Zenzula, a little-known musical instrument. He is part of Roots Productions, which holds the patent for manufacturing and selling the Zenzula. The instrument is made from used sardine cans and steel spokes, producing a sound similar to a xylophone.
Choyal aims to make the instrument accessible and easy to learn for everyone. He spends his evenings in Andheri, Mumbai, convincing passersby to buy the Zenzula. Despite not having a background in music, Choyal has become a skilled player and salesman. Choyal emphasizes the transformative power of the instrument and aims to raise awareness about it. Check out their Instagram page to peek into their cute zenzulas on the street!
Mansi, who also represents the small business, said, "Zenzulas have a history and we want people to know about zenzulas and play them anywhere, even on the streets of Mumbai. Especially, these handcrafted zenzulas."
Quire Studio, led by Jesmin Ahmed, is a sustainable lifestyle brand that specializes in handcrafted, gender-neutral statement pieces. Starting with jewellery, they have expanded their product line to include candles and home decor items.
Inclusivity is a core value for the brand, as they aim to cater to all customers and promote queer identity. Jesmin emphasizes the importance of organizations being allies to queer businesses by actively listening and addressing their needs.
Letitia Mendes, a graphic designer and tattooist, joined forces with their friends Ali and Kaushik during the lockdown to create a unique tattoo and piercing studio called Needle Monkey in Malad, Mumbai. Their goal was to establish a safe and non-judgmental space where individuals could freely express themselves through tattoos and piercings. They believe that tattoos are a reflection of one's soul, and their studio not only provides artistic services but also supports talented artists by offering them a space to work without any restrictions.
As a nonbinary person in business, Mendes values having supportive allies as partners who see and respect them for who they are as human beings rather than focusing on their gender or sexual orientation.
This is a super queer-made startup by Utkarsh and Syed. If you’re looking for a genderless fashion and lifestyle brand from where you can get super cute tote bags, check out Cosmic Jalebi products on their website or Instagram. You’ll find bags with tags, including “queer as fuck”, “emotional baggage”, and “daddy cool” among other cool things. As per their website, they aim to build a community where everyone celebrates each other regardless of their gender identity, age, shape, and size.
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