6 queer-owned businesses that ought to be on your radar

Businesses that you can support all year along with or without rainbows.

Harper's Bazaar India

We may be just a few days old after Pride Month, but one of the biggest lessons that we've learned this year is that "Queer Joy is Resistance." Let's not forget that Pride was born out of the need for resistance, with each year's celebration being a defiant expression against limiting social norms and ongoing oppression. Amongst the many things that one witnesses is a host of businesses leverage this opportunity to push forward their brand narratives, which unfortunately make no difference in the lives of people from the LGBTQ+ community. While it might be tempting to buy from big companies that partake in “Rainbow Washing” or “Pinkwashing”—a practice where brands display exaggerated support for the LGBTQ+ community—it is important to recognise and support brands that care about the community year-round. 

For small LGBTQ+ businesses, Pride was and will always be much more than just a month; it represents their ongoing contribution to the industry. Increased exposure for these brands can bring new allies, not just new customers. Here are some of the best queer-owned brands and businesses to support year-round. 

Cosmic Jalebi 

What better than totes to lead the way in gender-neutral fashion? Syed Mohammad Anas and Utkarsh Tripathi founded Cosmic Jalebi as an attempt to break free from societal expectations. Unable to find prints that truly embodied their creative spirit, they decided to take matters into their own hands, thus birthing the idea of Cosmic Jalebi—a queer-owned, genderless fashion and lifestyle brand. Drawing deeply from their personal experiences as queer individuals, Anas and Tripathi aim to create a sense of empowerment through their unique and inclusive products.

Quire Studio

Think luxury, think affordable. Now combine the two and you get Quire Studio, a sustainable and handcrafted lifestyle brand offering artisanal candles, home decor items, and budget-friendly statement jewellery pieces. Founded by Jesmin Ahmed,  A queer visual artist from North East India, Quire Studio pays homage to her free-spirited nature and desire to break the monotony of everyday life. Her journey began in 2021, as someone who’s always found solace in painting, but she never thought about commercialising her art. Her exploration of new art forms led her to candle making and aromatherapy. What started as a humble endeavor of making candles as gifts for friends and family soon blossomed into Quire studio. 



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Founded in 2019 by brothers Ashish and Vishesh Chopra and Simmi Nanda, Beunic is a community-driven e-commerce platform that enables LGBTQ+ artists and designers to offer their products and services. While it may not be queer-owned, BeUnic is dedicated to bringing queer entrepreneurs into the spotlight and ensuring they receive the recognition they deserve. Aspiring to be like “Amazon'' for queer designers and artists, the startup currently collaborates with 27 entrepreneurs, offering a diverse range of products including clothing, footwear, accessories, self-care items, books, and BeUnic NFTs. Recognising the need for more consistent and holistic support for LGBTQ+ businesses, BeUnic aims to be that support system for the community throughout the year. 

Nukkad Studios

Nukkad, a small business based in Mumbai, was established by Akash Chaudhari, a former UPSC aspirant and BA student from Surat. The main motivation behind the brand's inception was Akash's desire to support his family during a financial crisis, coupled with his passion for art. Initially specialising in printing and customising posters and T-shirts, Nukkad has now expanded its offerings to include high-quality products that resonate with Millennials and Gen Z. Embracing the essence of being unapologetically yourself, Nukkad Studios prides itself on creating designs that stay true to its unique aesthetic, regardless of changing trends. The brand celebrates India's beautiful art and culture, offering products that encourage self-expression and individuality. 


Anisha's foray into entrepreneurship with PetWale began as a personal goal motivated by her passion for her dogs and the demand for better pet accessories in the Indian market. After over eight years of experience in branding and marketing for other businesses, she decided to use her knowledge to create high-quality pet training equipment and accessories. The inspiration for PetWale came from the challenges Anisha faced when she adopted her first dog, Pebbles, back in 2002. Since its inception, PetWale has grown significantly, establishing itself as one of the leading brands in the Indian pet industry. 


Mae, an indie clothing label based in Delhi, is the brainchild of Jayeta Rohilla, who founded the brand with a clear vision of blending traditional fabrics and pieces into modern, comfortable clothing. Mae's core essence lies in the art of upcycling conventional garments such as the ghoongat and saree, skillfully converting them into contemporary pieces that resonate with modern design sensibilities. Mae's website demonstrates a strong commitment to inclusivity by prioritizing representation. Instead of relying on traditional models, Jayeta opts to feature community members to showcase her designs. Through upcycling and reimagining traditional fabrics and embracing diversity in representation, Mae is setting a progressive example for fashion brands in India. 

Lead image: Netflix

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