We Love Wednesday: Queer Gear
Hey y’all! It’s been almost a year since we’ve written a “We Love Wednesday” and what better time to bring these back than Pride month? We’re excited to share a brand that is rather new (but growing quickly) in the LGBTQ+ space: Queer Gear!
Queer Gear is a queer woman-owned apparel brand dedicated to bringing high-quality, inclusive, and empowering clothing and accessories to the queer community. We make must-have pieces that are perfect for Pride parades, date night with your partner, political events, awkward holiday dinners with the family, or anywhere else you want to be uniquely, proudly, and unapologetically you. Especially during Pride Month, we think it's so important to support LGBTQ+ small businesses instead of big companies that are just trying to make a buck off the queer community.
1. How did Queer Gear come to be? Was there a defining moment that made your idea a reality for this business?
It took me a long time to come out and even longer to feel comfortable in my own skin, let alone wear “queer clothes.” Once I finally started snooping around for some cool gear to represent my identity, many of the products I found were still exclusive to certain identities, tacky, gaudy, or low quality. Why was LGBTQ+ clothing often sold by sketchy online vendors who also sell beer pong sets, bottle openers, and whoopie cushions? Shouldn't LGBTQ+ clothing be made by LGBTQ+ creators? I knew there was a market for this kind of apparel and thus, with the passion for producing Pride clothes to be proud of, my knowledge of the ecommerce space (I work in ecommerce software sales by day!), and my disdain for the 9-5 grind, Queer Gear was born!
Today, I’m honored to work with members of the community to produce high-quality products that aren’t only cute but also make a difference in individuals’ mindsets and confidence. Finding stylish queer-related clothing is a minor struggle compared to the discrimination and isolation that millions of LGBTQ+ people continue to face. Queer Gear is about bringing representation and awareness to this tenacious fight without stereotyping and helping every person show that there is unity in diversity.
2. Can you summarize your business and what makes y'all unique? Give us your best Twitter pitch (you can do the extended 240 character limit)
We are a queer woman-owned apparel brand dedicated to bringing high-quality, inclusive, and empowering clothing to the queer community. We make pieces that are perfect for Pride parades, political events, awkward family dinners, or wherever you want to be unapologetically yourself!
3. Can we have a quick bio of your team members?
Sarah Weiss: HBIC
Hailing from Orange County, California, Sarah is an entrepreneurial and spontaneous spirit whose passions include music (she was a music industry major at Chico State University), spontaneity, daydreaming about new business ideas, and her chocolate lab, Gouda. An ecommerce sales Account Executive by day and an amateur t-shirt folder by night, Sarah has loved the adventure of starting a business and finds great joy in seeing people wearing Queer Gear!
Alex Goots: Unpaid Intern Extraordinaire
Alex is an Ohio native whose studies have brought her to Michigan, where she is currently working towards a PhD in forensic anthropology. She didn’t grow up seeing herself being involved with a business, but she has surprisingly enjoyed her odds-and-ends roles as social media manager, brand ambassador leader, head t-shirt folder & handwritten-note-writer (among many others) for Queer Gear!
4. Do you have a favorite design that you’ve put out thus far? Why?
Our favorite design thus far is our newest: “This is What a Lesbian Looks Like”! This sentiment seems to have really resonated with a lot of our followers, particularly femme lesbians who often struggle to feel visible and valid in queer spaces. It’s our mission to remind women that their sexuality has nothing to do with their appearance and to validate and make every lesbian visible within the LGBTQ+ community. We also wanted to break the stereotype of what a lesbian “should” look like by showing that lesbians come in all different shapes, sizes, and gender expressions!
5. Why is it important for businesses like Queer Gear to exist for people within the LGBTQ community?
What we find most important about our business is the same thing that we love in businesses like FLAVNT: the fact that it creates an opportunity for LGBTQ+ people to support one another. Who wants to buy LGBTQ+ merch from some online merchant who also sells gardening equipment? We are so proud of the fact that when someone purchases from Queer Gear (instead of any one of the many huge companies selling Pride apparel for one month out of the year), they are not only supporting queer business owners, but giving back to the community at large through our donations to LGBTQ+ organizations!
6. We think giving back to the community is so important, how do you give back and to who? Why is this important?
Even before we launched Queer Gear, one of our top priorities was selecting an organization that would allow us to give back to the queer community. Millennials may catch a lot of flack, but one thing we are really great at is creating businesses that give back to the community! We currently donate 5% of proceeds to the Trevor Project, an organization whose mission is to provide crisis counseling to LGBTQ+ youth in an effort to reduce suicide among this vulnerable population. As queer humans who struggle with anxiety and depression, the Trevor Project has a mission that is especially important to us!
7. What are your plans for your brand in the next 6 months? The next year? 5 year plan?
Our immediate goal for Queer Gear is to increase our inclusivity and to involve queer people of various sexual orientations and gender identities in our design process to ensure that we offer apparel for every member of our community! We are also excited to begin working on clothing for kids so that queer families and their allies can attend Pride completely decked out in Queer Gear! Our five year plan, if we should be so lucky, is to partner with brick-and-mortar stores to sell our gear in their shops, to build a robust brand ambassador program, and to maintain our quality, personalization, and small-business feel. And maybe we’ll make some clothes for dogs. Wish us luck!