I. Love. Shopping.
I used to be strictly a major retail store gal until a few years ago when my dad moved to Austin. There, indies reign. As a result, I got really into supporting small businesses. But now living in NYC, while small businesses certainly do exist, I work in Soho so it’s pretty easy (if I ignore that I live on a publishing salary) to walk into my “local” chain, get what I “need” and get out. Fortunately, thanks to my job I’ve also attended some really cool conventions where I’ve met some greet queer shopowners of color. Many of these artists and creators also happen to be WOC and/or young people. As a result, I wanted to share some of my favorite online shops that will hopefully appeal to the queers in your life… just in time for the holigays (but are also available year-round)!
Happy (online) shopping <3
The One-Stop Shopper
Provoke Culture sells artwork for a collective of artists that celebrate culture and identity through their work. I first discovered Provoke Culture at their Flame Con booth earlier this summer and have been in love ever since. All artists receive 75% of all sales and 25% of all profits is donated to organizations that help women and youth dealing with homelessness, violence or are living under difficult circumstances.
The Skincare Queen
When I was younger, I had the worst case of eczema that only got better after years of using “thick lotion” aka Eucerin “Original” cream. It did the job, but it wasn’t the fun, cutely-packaged, smell-good lotion I craved. I discovered BeeLux Goods last year and their “Bumble Butter” is great for dry skin without feeling like you have on thick layer of, well, thick lotion. They have a wide variety of (colorful!) products in affordable prices. Add in the fact that I share a name with its founder, Ashley Patrice, and BeeLux Goods is hands down my favorite all-natural beauty company.
The Hand-Lettering Obsessed
I’m obsessed with hand-lettering. Blame my day job in which I spend hours analyzing “fun fonts” and cover typography as well as the fact that I never mastered cursive myself. For those who love a framed inspirational quote or art print with a pretty-script caption, look no further than these southern WOC-run shops. Mi Chiquita is run by Theresa Michelle Flores, a North Carolina-based Latinx artist, and Jade & Serif is run by Jade Pilgrom, an Alabama-based Black graphic designer and illustrator.
The Fandom Fanatic
It’s impossible for me to name my favorite fandom. I grew up on a steady diet of Star Wars and Star Trek. My Netflix queue is filled with The CW and Canadian SFF shows. And, I’m a total YA book nerd. These two shops — Little Corvus, the brand of queer latina comic artist & illustrator Sara DuVall, whose items have been fueling my Finn & Poe love, and FanMail, an amazing bimonthly subscription box for “lady geeks” founded by Rose Del Vecchio and Jenny Cheng, two twentysomething women who I met earlier this year at Flame Con.
Who Rule the World? (Colored) Girls
I only recently discovered these two shops and I’ve already bought merchandise. Colored Girls Hustle (top) is a dynamic organization (re)defining hustle as passion-filled and purpose-driven work. Its founder, Taja Lindley is an unapologetically proud Black queer femme feminist woman. Dorcascreates’ owner, Dorcas Magbadelo is a UK-based visual artist passionate about creating work that people can identify with and, in particular, celebrating strength and beauty in black women.
The Fashionably Minded
I love all four of these brands. Ambiance Couture Bowties is my go-to bowtie shop. Its founder Silki Harris is a twentysomething lesbian event promoter and fashion designer. Rebirth Garments are designed by Sky Cubacub, a gender queer person of color. They make gender non-conforming wearables and accessories (in vibrant colors!) for people on the full spectrum of gender, size and ability. Luna Sangre is run by Latinx artist & designer Aubrey. All items are hand-sewn with inspiration drawn from Aubrey’s ancestors, neighborhood, and southern California barrio clothing of the 1940s/50s. And then there’s Burkinabae, a shop founded by Karen Chatelain that sells gorgeously intricate jewelry and accessories.
The Badass Witch
The Indie Comics Lover
Last but never least, independent comics artists: Wendy Xu, Mildred Louis, & Queer Indigenous Girl. Wendy is a dear friend of mine, the co-creator of Mooncakes (which, though I’m biased, is so freaking amazing), a fierce diversity advocate, and pretty much my go-to source for indie artist info such as the best cons to attend to meet diverse illustrators and cartoonists. I met Mildred through Wendy, at Flame Con, and I have several pieces of both their art (including Mildred’s amazing graphic novel Agents of the Realm (middle right) and Wendy’s super hilarious Terry Shin print & zine (top left). I recently discovered Queer Indigenous Girl aka Se’mana, through a search to find more indigenous creators. Se’mana is an Akimel Otham, Hopi, Diné, queer disabled neurodivergent femme.
For more queer creators, check out Mey’s roundup of “Queer and Trans Women and Nonbinary Creators To Support This Holigay Season.”