Happy Pride Month! This June, Clover celebrates all of our LGBTQ+ merchants and allies.
It’s been a tough year for members of the queer community. Several recently introduced bills and laws passed in states across the U.S. is setting up 2021 to be the worst year on record for legislative discrimination for this community.
Yet LGBTQ+ employers and entrepreneurs play an important part in driving the economy upward and deserve every opportunity to keep creating and innovating in the marketplace.
To celebrate Pride Month, revisit these stories from some of our LGBTQ+ business owners, and don’t forget to check back every Thursday for our newest merchant profiles.
Andrew Han opened Kouign Cafe in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the pandemic. His queer identity has been integral to his journey as a pastry chef and business owner.
“Being LGBTQ+ means you’ve lived through and survived a lot of difficult experiences that don’t exist for others,” Andrew told Clover. “I’m very proud of the LBGTQ+ community and how far we’ve come over the years. It’s part of my brand. I try to bring attention and awareness to the community and our cause in my social media whenever I have the opportunity or feel compelled to say something. I’m really proud to be a gay Asian man living out his dreams, and to promote visibility for the LGBTQ+ and gay Asian population.”
Jay Spencer and his husband originally came to Needham for the opportunity to open French Press Bakery & Cafe, and they have since championed diversity and inclusion in their community. Jay’s endeavors in the kitchen are also informed by his diverse team of chefs and his own family roots, which extend across Africa, India, and Ireland.
Jay takes pride in serving on Needham’s diversity board and in helping the town develop into a more inclusive place.
Jay told Clover: “We need to change, and we need to evolve, and we need to look more like our community of not only today, but tomorrow, because we know that it’s going to change in a very positive, inclusive way.”
Ricky Barragan and his husband, Jose Zerpa, run Ricky Styles Studio, a non-binary, non-gender-specific salon. Ricky is the master stylist and Jose manages the business side of things. While some couples might not have the patience to work together professionally, Ricky and Jose have gained deeper respect for one another during the process of opening the salon.
For the couple, inclusivity is a top priority that informs all their business decisions, from hiring to customer care.
“I’m all about creating a culture that’s inclusive,” Ricky told Clover. “We’re not only offering great service, but a great experience for absolutely anybody that comes into our establishment. We take pride in hiring people with a great attitude. Technical work can be learned, but attitude can’t.”
Join us in celebrating all our LGBTQ+ merchants this month!
Read more of our Meet the Merchant stories for real-life stories of small businesses in action all over the country. Want to be featured in this series? Fill out our questionnaire, and if we can include you in a future interview cycle, we’ll send you an invitation!
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