Pride Guide: LGBTQ+ Owned Brands and Neighbourhood Hubs We Love

by Leah Eyles June 09, 2021

Pride Guide: LGBTQ+ Owned Brands and Neighbourhood Hubs We Love

Featured photo from @blairimani

Pride Month is steeped in historyin demonstrations and riots, celebrations and movements, complexities, reflections, and so much more. There are gains and unfortunately, there are losses each year for the LGBTQ+ community. While we want to celebrate the good, we must acknowledge there is still much work to do to show up for LGBTQ+ folks, to demand lasting equity, to make reparations, to stand alongside, to listen, to amplify, to honour. There is much work to do individually and systemically.

This Pride Month, while we do this work personally, we also want to celebrate some of the brilliant and beautiful makers we stock year-round who are members of the LGBTQ+ communities, as well as some amazing local LGBTQ+ owned businesses. These brands and people offer strength, support, comfort, care, and kindness for their communities. While we shine this spotlight this month, we want to underscore the importance of supporting these movers, makers, creators and community hubs year-round and state our support in ensuring that we maintain a safe space here at Scout where all are welcome and celebrated for their sparkle, their passion, their grit, their softness, their fire, their contemplation, their love, their kindness, their everything, always. Come as you are. We hear you, we see you, and we celebrate you.

As with any listicle, we are bound to miss someone but we want to ensure we include many! So, we encourage you to offer a shout-out in the comments for LGBTQ+ businesses and/or makers you know and love and add a little note about why you hold them so near and dear so we can get to know a little more about them and you! Let’s keep building bridges and connecting communities.

LGBTQ+ Makers You Can Find at Scout

Hello Clementine (@helloclementine__)

New to Scout this past Winter, Hello Clementine is a welcome brand to our roster of Canadian jewelry makers! The maker, Leanne, started working with polymer clay as a quarantine hobby and it has quickly grown to become much more!

Each piece is mixed, shaped, baked, sanded and assembled by hand in her Toronto studio (aka her living room). We love seeing the playful colours and shapes Leanne creates in earrings and hair clips.

We just got a big, beautiful restock from Hello Clementine that you can browse here. (We may have bought most of the hair clips last time, so now is your opportunity to dive into these new arrivals before staff swipe them up!) We also encourage you to browse Leanne’s website as she makes so many more one-of-a-kind, unique pieces that are only available directly. 

Rcboisjoli (@rcboisjoli)

Rcboisjoli has been a staple brand at the shop from our early days. From ceramics to textiles, every stage of production focuses on everyday domestic objects and each piece is created in their Toronto design studio. 

Rcboisjoli is inspired by the low-tech, the old, and the everyday. From plaster models and silk screened decals to their own hand-printed textiles, the founder Alexx prides himself on putting thought and care, and his own two hands, into every part of the creative process. Browse our offerings from Rcboisjoli here and stay tuned for a restock!

 

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A post shared by Alexx Boisjoli - rcboisjoli (@rcboisjoli)

 

Skipping Stone (@skippingstonesoap)

Soaps from Skipping Stone are handcrafted in Burlington, ON using a cold-process technique. The cold-process method uses only low temperatures so the nutrients in the natural ingredients are preserved, which highly benefit your skin.

Founder and maker Masa makes his soaps in small batches using locally sourced, all natural ingredients. Not only are his soaps made with the environment in mind, so is his packaging. Minimal, recyclable packaging is used on all of Skipping Stone’s soaps and we’ve also recently begun stocking their shampoo bars for a plastic-free alternative to hair care! Have a browse at Skipping Stone on our site. (Not to pick favourites, but Frozen Lake is a staple in my home.)

Queeriosity (@queeriositygame)

Queeriosity is a Toronto-based, proudly Black- and trans-created, -owned and -operated card game company. After noticing a lack of LGBTQ+ representation in party games, friends Kai and Eli decided to take matters into their own hands.

The queer experience can come with many nuances, and they’ve done their best to create an inclusive game that works to facilitate deeper connections with the community at large. It’s suggested for 2 to 8 players to leave space for tender moments, but there is no maximum group size. The game includes 110 cards covering 6 categories to play with friends, first dates or (soon to be not) strangers. Be sure to follow Queeriosity as it looks like they have some new product ideas up their sleeves!

Frug (@frugjewellery & @tamarasteinborn)

Frug holds a special place in my heart as I have known the maker, Tamara, for close to 20 years! We have seen each other grow and evolve in our careers and brands since the early 2000s. Tamara has birthed two jewelry lines, Frug and Tamara Steinborn, two stores, and is constantly adding new art mediums to her repertoire, all while tending to her yoga and meditation practices. 

Frug has been offering sustainable jewelry since 2000, up-cycling vintage and dead stock components for their pieces as well as keeping all the assembly local and in-house.  

In 2015, after working behind the Frug brand for 15 years, Tamara decided it was time to attach her name to some of her work that felt more in line with her own obsessions. Tamara Steinborn works with original designs that are hand carved in wax and then cast in bronze or sterling, and hand polished.

We currently only have Frug in stock, but check out their website to get a feel for the mystical, magical vibe Tamara Steinborn offers!

Ash and Chess (@ashandchess)

Our only non-Canadians on the list! Ash and Chess are a queer- and trans-owned stationery company in Richmond, VA. We met them at the National Stationery Show in New York (RIP travel work trips) a few years back and loved their bright, neon, retro-inspired, always-inclusive aesthetic.

We’ve got a selection of their greeting cards, art prints, pins and stickers, as well as their amazing and informative book The Gay Agenda in store and online. We highly recommend you visit their site as well to see all their offerings, including tees and sweaters, many of which are only available directly through Ash and Chess and some with limited runsso if it’s love at first sight, hop on that buy button. 

For Pride 2021, they teamed up with Trans Figure Print Co, a trans- and queer-owned print studio in Michigan, for an amazing, collaborative Pride collection, most of which sold out in one day!! Check out their site or follow them on Instagram to stay on top of restocks.

 

LGBTQ+ Positive Books

At Scout, we try to consider all the many experiences in the world outside of our own to be sure we are offering inclusive perspectives for our customers. Though we tend to let our wonderful bookstore neighbours (shout out to Another Story and Queen Books) take on a much more extensive adult book offering, we do carry a small selection of LGBTQ+ positive books for adults.

But when it comes to our selection of children’s books, we love looking for unique stories for kids that teach and guide kids to understand experiences and perspectives that differ from their own while also offering a space to see themselves in a story. Offering a wider selection that represents more diverse stories supports these two reading experiences and encourages positive conversations between parent and child. 

Here are some of our favourite books currently at the shop:

For the Kids

Peanut Goes for the Gold - By Jonathan Van Ness

Ages 4-8

“Peanut Goes for the Gold is a charming, funny and heartfelt picture book that follows the adventures of Peanut, a gender non-binary guinea pig who does everything with their own personal flare.”

It Feels Good To Be Yourself - By Theresa Thorn

Ages 4-8

“This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity.”

Rainboy - By Dylann Glynn

Ages 3-5

“Toronto-based debut author and illustrator Dylan Glynn's colourful and evocative illustrations colour this book with all the emotions of the rainbow in this universal story of reaching out to those who look different from you, making new friends, and learning to love yourself.”

Families Can - By Dan Saks

Ages 0-3

“This charmingly heartfelt board book is for families: families who cook together and families who sing together, families with lots of members and families with a special few, families who live together and families who live separately–for all families. Celebrate the differences that make each family unique and the similarities and love that connect us all together.”

Being You: A First Conversation About Gender - By Megan Madison + Jessica Ralli

Ages 2-5

On sale July 13, 2021! “Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.”

For the Youths and Adults

The Gay Agenda - By Ashley Molesso + Chess Needham

“A joyful celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s development, history, and culture, packed with facts, trivia, timelines, and charts, and featuring 100 full-colour illustrations.”

How to They/Them: A Visual Guide - By Stuart Getty

“In this charming and disarming guide, a real-life they-using genderqueer writer unpacks all your burning questions in a fun, visual way. No soapboxes or divisive comment-section wars here! Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, always human, this gender-friendly primer will get you up to speed. It’s about more than just bathrooms and pronouns–this is about gender expression and the freedom to choose how to identify.”

The Pronoun Lowdown - By Nevo Zisin

“Woven together with author Nevo Zisin's own pronoun journey, this colourful hardback sheds light on the complicated history of gender around the world, in language and across time. Nevo shares their ideas for how young trans and gender diverse folk might begin to navigate their identities, as well as simple suggestions for friends and family on how to provide the best support possible. And, as well as Nevo's own anecdotes, these pages also salute the tireless work of other LGBTQIA+ trailblazers and activistswithout whom this joyous book could never exist.”

Whether you’re within the LGBTQ+ community, finding your way, or want to be a better ally, this is just a teeny tiny selection of books to encourage more learning and growth. We highly recommend browsing your local indie bookstores, like Glad Day Bookshop, the first Queer-owned Canadian book store, to introduce yourself to more queer authors and literature from LGBTQ+ writers.

Local Businesses We Love Owned by LGBTQ+ Folks

We want to send some love to our friends and neighbours that are LGBTQ+ owned! Be sure to check out some of these local businesses and add a new neighbourhood haunt to your regular routine or to show your support year-round!

We hope this guide provides you with some new found ways to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round! Sending so much love out to our LGBTQ+ Scout family members! We see you, we love you andwhen we’re able to do so againwe can’t wait to welcome you all back into our space, teeming with warmth because of the diversity and beauty of our community. If you have any favourite local businesses within this community, please share them with us in the comments below and Happy Pride!

Leah Eyles
Leah Eyles

Author

Leah (she/her) is a lover of all things handmade, especially that perfectly imperfect ceramic mug for her daily cup of tea. Scout gives her a place to house the objects and cards she loves and wants to share with others. She does her best keeping her work life balance in check with regular yoga and at least two trips a year, she is a Libra after all!

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