Happy Pride Month, beautiful readers! As I’m writing this, I’ve got a progress pride flag hanging out of my window facing my very conservative street and no doubt pissing off my very conservative neighbours. We love to see it. I was thinking about what to do to mark Pride Month on the blog this year, when this idea came to me: I want to share some amazing LGBTQ-owned businesses with you all.
Rainbow Capitalism is a real problem at this time of year. Companies turn their logos rainbow coloured and stick pride flags on all their merch for 30 days and think they’ve done enough, while totally failing to actually support the LGBTQ community in any real way.
One easy way you CAN support the LGBTQ community, whether you’re one of us or an ally? Spend your money with queer-owned businesses where you can. Here are a few you might want to know about!
Scarlet in Chains
I adore Scarlet in Chains and always love seeing them at my favourite fetish market. I own two of their pieces, a gorgeous collar with a purple crystal and a limited-edition rainbow one from a previous Pride collection.
Scarlet in Chains creates jewellery and accessories from stainless steel chain. Their work is strong enough for kink, and allergy-friendly thanks to hypoallergenic 304 and 316 stainless steel chain. As everything is handmade, they are fully inclusive – no matter your shape, size, or mobility, they will adapt their designs to suit your needs.
Scarlet in Chains is owned by couple Sophie and Drew, and started its life when Drew designed the Valkyrie collar as an everyday piece for Sophie. The chain bra soon followed, and friends started seeing the designs and wanting their own. “Now we get to take our stall to amazing places like Download Festival, which I was going to as a jewellery student back in my teens… never in my wildest dreams did I think 30-something me would be back with my own stall with my wonderful wife and the best festival crew in our amazing friends Krystal Peeks and Noctifera Creations!” says Sophie.
As a trans woman and intersex woman couple, Sophie and Drew have a unique perspective on how to design for a variety of body types and how to assist in affirming and enhancing the identity of the wearer. “We also regularly consult with our customers of different identities, too, so we can see how our designs can help them feel more themselves,” Sophie says.
Scarlet in Chains has a Pride range available all year round. “We like to think our work helps people celebrate who they are all year round, so our Pride range is always available… and if we don’t have your flag, just ask and we will do our best to create it!”
Bosk and Blossom
Bosk and Blossom is a kinky woodworking business dedicated to “bringing a unique new aesthetic to people’s toy collections.” Owner L makes wooden spanking paddles and play knives by hand in a light, airy style with beautiful colours and often decorated with floral and plantlife motifs.
“The kinky toybag is almost stereotypically dark, heavy, intimidating colors and materials. I have nothing against that – my own toybag is all black and dark red tones, thick leathers and dark woodstains or steel, and I’ve got some gorgeous pieces – but that meant there was an opening I could explore for people who aren’t necessarily attracted to that aesthetic,” says L. “There are a few niches in kink that allow for items that might be considered cutesy, frilly, colorful, dainty, elegant, soft, etc, but impact and edge play aren’t usually those places, so I decided to go there.”
Bosk and Blossom paddles are made of a light wood that is then white-washed even further, and finished off with a colorful floral design burned in. The play knives are a mix of various wood species in a spectrum of colors. They have a convincing edge and point, but are much safer than real knives.
Bosk and Blossom’s customers say that they love the look of these pieces that are more typically feminine and whimsical than the traditional “old boys club” kink aesthetic with all its associated cisheteronormativity and toxic masculinity. “I think of my work as challenging a cishet masculinity status quo in kink,” says L. “I love knowing there are people of all sorts with all different aesthetic styles entering their dungeons, swinging around paddles covered in pink and purple flowers and getting the exact same results as if they stuck to the traditional styles and colored within the lines of gender norms to make sure they look “tough.””
Personally, I’m desperate to get hit with a pretty paddle with a flower engraved into it. Sign me up!
The Radical Celebrant
Have you ever felt as though your lovestyle wasn’t represented in the types of celebrations and ceremonies traditionally available to you? Vicky, AKA The Radical Celebrant, provides celebrant-led ceremonies where “poly love and family is recognised and celebrated, where kink or BDSM lifestyle ceremonies are understood, and where queer love of all kinds is centred.”
Whether you’re after a wedding, commitment ceremony, collaring ceremony, memorial or celebration of life, or naming ceremony (either for a child or for a trans or non-binary adult reintroducing themselves to their family), your ceremony will be unique and built from the ground up to reflect who you are.
“I’ve been a celebrant for a while, but found that it was hard to see poly, kink and BDSM, and alternative or less mainstream queer relationships centred in the wedding (and funeral) industries,” says Vicky, who came out as queer at 17 and has been an activist and ally for as long as she can remember. “Why shouldn’t our relationships shouldn’t have the opportunity to be centred in the same way? Why should we have to settle for fudging and hiding our relationships and identities to fit into a prescribed mould
for these things?” The Radical Celebrant was born from this desire to offer celebrant-led ceremonies
for people whoever they are and however they live and love.
“I believe that I should be doing this year round, and in every month and not just in June. Pride in ourselves, our identities, our relationships and out love is at the heart of what I do – every day of the year!” Vicky says. The Radical Celebrant is offering naming ceremonies for trans and enby people free of charge at the moment, and dreams of setting up a “ceremony tent” at Pride one of these days!
The Gay Glass Stall
If you read my recent post about the fabulously femme things I wore to Eroticon, you’ll have seen my gorgeous sapphic pride necklace from The Gay Glass Stall. This company, run by owner V and her sister, sells handmade fused glass items (coasters, jewellery, homewares, and decorations) in an astonishing 40+ different LGBTQ pride flag colours. They’re constantly expanding their range and can even custom-make things for you.
“Our coaster stands all carry a 2-3 sentence explanation of the meaning of each flag,” says V. I absolutely love it when people thank us for educating them and leave knowing far more than they did when they
arrived. Seeing their faces light up when they find ‘their’ flag is also lovely.” She adds, “one recent occurrence impressed on me just how important a stall such as this is. A lady came up to the stall, saw a particular flag and burst into happy tears saying, “I thought it was just me, I didn’t know that how I feel is
actually a real thing.” Moments like that make all the hard work (and punctured fingers) worth it!”
The Gay Glass Stall started life as a ‘vanilla’ glass business. After adding some LGBTQ+ flag themed items to the stock, people started requesting pieces in their own flags. The business was named by the local LGBTQ+ young people in V’s hometown of Rochester in Kent, who started referring to it as “The Gay Glass Stall.”
The Gay Glass Stall believes that pride in one’s identity should be a constant thing, not just for June. They’re appearing at many Pride events throughout the summer and also trade regularly at fetish markets such as the Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar.
Snake Shed Art
This one is really different and fun! At Snake Shed Art, owner AJ makes jewelry and decor using real snake shed. This doesn’t hurt the snake and is something that pet snake owners usually just throw away when they clean out their snake’s enclosure. All AJ’s shed comes from pet snakes and every piece is labeled with the name and species of her snakey co-artist.
AJ started doing snake shed resin art back in 2016. She was volunteering for an exotic animal shelter at the time, and they wanted unique items that visitors could take home in exchange for a donation. The shelter closed in 2019, but AJ loved making the snake shed pieces so much that she decided to open her own Etsy shop. She now makes ornaments, pendants, pins, earrings, and many more.
Snake Shed Art releases a Pride collection every year at the beginning of June, but the shop is stocked with Pride items all year long. AJ tries to represent a wide range of identities and finds that items with the asexual flag are particularly popular.
The 2023 Pride collection has just been released. This year’s new items include pronoun rainbows and super-cute polyam heart keychains as well as pendants, earrings, and more. There’s currently a 20% off sale on all Pride items, including custom order requests in case your preferred Pride colors or pronouns aren’t in stock.