In this month’s Follow Your Arrow, Klara shares the story of her gender-neutral barbershop business, how she made the leap from office-worker to sole-trader, and the importance of building trust in the community she serves.
“Being queer isn’t something that I can separate out from being a writer, astrologer, artist or entrepreneur and I would never want to.”
“Generally in life all I want to do is: good work for good causes with good people. I want to be a good designer, I mean truly, deeply good at my craft; everything else is semantics.”
“I wish there were more LGBTQ food writers, though — it can be a pretty stiflingly traditional (read: heteronormative, and very white) world. Find a network of like-minded queer women to work with, seek advice from and befriend! We gotta stick together.”
“When I started out, people knew me as the ‘girl growing mushrooms in her caravan,’ which was perhaps not the most flattering anecdote to have attached to your name.”
“Why do I do this? Because it needs to be done. Our schools and communities need to be safer for our young people, we are losing too many of them. I’m not going to sit and wait with naivety that our government or schools are going to lead that.”
“I offer products that strive to act as feminist propaganda, as a reality disruption. To pay my gargantuan monthly student loan debt by selling weird feminist gear? It seemed like an awesome joke on the universe.”
“I’m psyched that I invented a thing, and I don’t wish to make money from it. I just want to try to retain a little influence over it with the support of fellow taboo-busters so we can make some changes around here.”
The line between work and life is definitely blurred. Work events become social events, chance meetings become networking and because we are always wearing Hinterland gear and up to no good, theres always an opportunity for a photo shoot!
“After 13 years of corporate work I just needed to do something that felt like it mattered to me and to the communities that I was part of. I’m passionate about self expression, human connection, building community, and subverting the status quo by creating environments and experiences where women, POC, and queer and trans folks are prioritized.”
“In business, especially when starting out, you need to be able to embrace risk with open arms, which is a nice way of saying you have no idea how to swim but are jumping in the deep end anyway.”
“I’m doing something I really believe in, that can change people’s lives for ever, that’s good for the planet. I never get tired of talking about how to use natural materials, why they work, and looking at how they were used in the past.”
“An integral part of my business is to create and cultivate positive, meaningful, supportive relationships with everybody from my clients to my colleagues, people I’m renting space from, potential clients, etc. It’s important to me that my actions demonstrate my values that every person and every body deserves love, respect, and care.”
“I didn’t get any funding until year three and it came from a member who truly believed in me. Now in year six, funding opportunities are coming from multiple places, thank you baby Jesus, but all of those opportunities are coming my way from relationships I have formed, not from banks or investors.”
“I knew I wanted to train animals by the age of 3. I didn’t know that I wanted to start this business until 3 years ago.”
“I think a lot of us [queers] have turned to art as a place to find meaning and access other realms. Art explains the unexplainable and gives us a space to explore the mysteries we are so fascinated by.”
“It’s the kind of work that makes me look forward to eight hours on my feet holding five pounds of camera in my hands with another seven pounds slung across my back. It’s wonderful to create not just art, but art that makes people feel special and good and beautiful.”
“There’s no denying that women writers are affected by systemic, institutionalised sexism in the media and publishing industries, but women who are queer, trans, of colour, disabled, sex workers, from low-income backgrounds and/or otherwise outside the mainstream are inevitably impacted more than most.”
“Own it, grrl. The world is getting queerer and queerer, and all the big businesses that refuse to acknowledge that are in their death throes. Your time is coming. Follow your heart. Do what you love. Start now.”
“About half our plumbers are lesbian or bisexual, but that is by accident, not design. We think that women living outside the dominant box are probably more likely to also work outside of it.”
Will this be the year you finally quit that job and launch your own project? Or the year you plan to up your game in your existing business and outshine all of your competition? Wherever you’re at, let these awesome queer entrepreneurs inspire you to follow your own arrow in 2016.