5 LGBTQ+-owned businesses to support this year

Kristen Kish’s list of LGBTQ+ businesses you can support this Pride Month and beyond.

Capital One believes in the importance of uplifting and celebrating the LGBTQ+ voices that help make our communities richer, stronger and more diverse. In honor of Pride Month, we connected with Kristen Kish—co-host of Netflix’s Iron Chef, winner of Top Chef, cookbook author, partner at Austin’s Arlo Grey restaurant and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community—to learn more about how to support and celebrate LGBTQ+ businesses this Pride Month and beyond.

“Pride means celebration for who we are, honoring those who paved the way for us, and continuing to work and advocate for our futures,” Kish says. “It’s not simply just for those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community—it’s also for our allies, families and friends to celebrate and advocate.”

Intentionally engaging with LGBTQ+ businesses is one way to provide tangible support and invest in their futures. To kick things off, Kish pointed us to some of her favorite LGBTQ+-owned businesses.

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A box containing Japanese snacks, cakes and teas from Bokksu, a monthly subscription box.

Bokksu

Japanese delights delivered to your doorstep

Bokksu is a monthly subscription box that delivers sustainable, authentic Japanese snacks, cakes and teas to your front door, with favorites like mochi, senbei and anpan. Each box has a theme and includes 20+ carefully selected delectables, paired tea and a guidebook to your treats. 

Founded by LGBTQ+ community member Danny Taing in 2016 after he moved back to the U.S. from Japan, Bokksu started as a small endeavor fueled by Taing’s love of Japanese treats that weren’t available in America. Since its founding, Bokksu has grown from Taing packing snack boxes in his own home to a cohesive team of makers, cultivators and creators striving to empower and honor Japan’s rich tradition of snack-making.

Bokksu has even expanded to add an online boutique of snacks and decor and a separate online grocery, giving more Americans access to unforgettable Japanese treats and treasures.

A meal starter pack from Omsom.

Omsom

Loud, proud Asian flavors right at your fingertips

Omsom embraces the untamable spirit and fire of Asian cuisine and culture with its meal starter packs that feature favorites like Thai Krapow and Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ. Bursting with flavor, their starters contain unapologetically authentic and delicious blends of spices and seasonings, with recipes to guide you—just add your preferred protein and veggies and get transported to taste heaven.

Sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham launched Omsom to elevate Asian cuisine in the U.S. Named after the Vietnamese phrase that translates to “rowdy and riotous,” Omsom aims to bring the bold flavors of traditional Asian cuisine to U.S. consumers without watering it down. Kim champions the importance of shifting how people view traditional Asian cuisine and culture, celebrating its fierceness and joyfulness—a vision that aligns with her outspoken pride in her queer identity.

Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce

Natural heat meets bold taste

Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce turns nature’s flavors into something even more beautiful. Shaquanda’s hot sauces—like Oooomami and Mx. Green Sass—blend high-quality chili pepper varieties with onions and goodness to create a mouthful of flavor with less sugar, less salt, no fillers and no starches. It’s just a carefully crafted bouquet of natural, delicious heat that’s perfect for cooking and dipping.

Named for the drag persona of cook and performance artist Andre Springer, Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce started during a drag performance at the Bushwig festival in New York in 2013. Shaquanda refused to perform unless she could do so with food. The creative result was Shaquanda’s first special hot sauce, crafted specifically for the event, that also pays homage to her Barbadian heritage. After a smash performance, Shaquanda served the sauce to anyone who wished to try it, and the rave reactions fueled the creation of her business. There are now four mouthwatering flavors to check out, as well as special merchandise such as a signature tea towel and hankie collection. 

Jen Zeano Designs (JZD)

Empowering Latina pride

From soft tees and totes to stylish stationery and jewelry, each product in the JZD lineup encourages Latinas to embrace their roots and recognize their power. JZD’s creative and spirited designs feature beautiful color palettes and phrases like “Not Your Mamacita” and “Mas Feminismo Menos Machismo.”

2014 proved to be an inspirational year for Jennifer and Vero Zeano. Jen and Vero got married and kick-started JZD into the thriving business it is today. The uniquely designed pink “Latina Power” tee—which began on Etsy—would go on to become an icon of Latina empowerment, community and cultura, worn by notable figures like Dascha Polanco and Camila Mendes. After years of growth, JZD is now a team of eight and is a queer, Latina-owned lifestyle brand that uplifts the Latina community and heritage, with plans to grow even more in the future. You can shop their pride collection online now.

Finnegan Shepard, founder of Both&, sustainable, high-quality clothing for transmasculine, gender-nonconforming and non-binary people.

Both&

Transform the way you feel

Both& designs sustainable, high-quality clothing for transmasculine, gender-nonconforming and non-binary people. With thoughtful designs informed by personal experience and community feedback, Both& offers soft, comfortable garments in distinct styles to accommodate a range of body types and style preferences. From T-shirts to swimwear, each piece is designed to help you truly express who you are with comfort and style.

Launched in 2020 by Finnegan Shepard, Both& was created with the dream of providing clothing for an audience whose unique needs were being overlooked or ignored in mainstream fashion trends and designs. Beyond garments, Both& has cultivated an experience that puts the community at the heart of everything they do, with 24/7 custom fit support and a donation program to provide clothing to those in need. They always welcome personal experiences and feedback to help inform their products and grow and support the community.

How you can support LGBTQ+ businesses

Celebrate pride and support the community throughout the year by shopping with these and other LGBTQ+-owned businesses. Explore your area to discover local and diverse LGBTQ+-owned small businesses you can support close to home—and continue to uplift, and rave to your family and friends about, the ones you love. 

“Beginning close to home is a great place to start. Word of mouth is powerful, and a little goes a long way,” says Kish. “One person learning about a new business can inspire many others to do the same, and it’s important to act on it. Shop, share and support!”

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