Business management

Celebrating Pride 2021, this month and beyond

The coronavirus pandemic may have put the traditional Pride festivities on hold this June, but people are still finding inspiring ways to celebrate. Three LGBTQ+ business owners reveal what Pride means to them in this year of disruption.

However, the LGBTQ+ community and those supporting it are still finding inventive and inspiring ways to celebrate this important month, which aims to break down barriers and increase visibility and acceptance for LGBTQ+ people worldwide. We spoke to three LGBTQ+ small business founders about what Pride means to them and what they’re up to this June.

Pride month is the perfect time to reflect on how far we have come, and an opportunity for us to all reach higher in the months ahead

Harvey Morton
Harvey Morton Digital

Harvey Morton started his business eight years ago, aged just 15, as part of a school enterprise competition. It originally offered on-call IT support and website design services, and evolved into Harvey Morton Digital, which specialises in social media management, influencer marketing, website design and SEO. Morton is also a public speaker and hosts a podcast called The Social Sanctuary, interviewing influencers and business founders about their relationship with social media.

“I only came out in the first lockdown last year, so this year offers my first opportunity to celebrate Pride. At the moment, I haven’t got any plans to attend a Pride event, but I would love to if the easing of restrictions allows. I’ll be making the most of celebrating with my friends and family, having lots of catch-ups after not being able to see those close to me for so long.

“Pride month for me will always be a symbol of making the most of every day, embracing your true self and being proud of who you are. It’s a reminder not to worry about what others think of you, and an opportunity to celebrate and spread kindness and happiness. After the year we’ve all had, Pride month marks the light at the end of the tunnel and brighter times ahead. It is the perfect time to reflect on how far we have come, and an opportunity for us to all reach higher in the months ahead.

“Pride month is all about celebrating equality, inclusivity and individuality – values that should be important to us all year round. Being an LGBTQ+ advocate means educating others, celebrating your peers and speaking out when change is needed. You can be an ally by supporting and empowering those whose voices aren’t always heard as loudly so that all genders and sexual orientations can celebrate and support each other openly – because we’re all stronger together.

“When I rebranded my business, I wanted to reflect my individuality, so I refocused my offering around premium, personal service and took an informal approach to selling my digital marketing services, adopting a chatty tone to my website copy and including lots of quirky quotes and references to things I enjoy. I also wanted to lose my corporate head shots and focus on bright imagery, full of colour like the Pride flag.

“I’m really proud of the business I’ve built and if you would have told me 10 years ago that in 2021 I would be running a successful business, 13-year-old Harvey wouldn’t have believed it. My business is the result of overcoming years of bullying throughout my education, and I channelled my frustration and anger into building something successful for myself.”

We need organisations who stand with us, 365 days a year

Adrien Gaubert

Adrien Gaubert is co-founder and CMO of myGwork, a business community for LGBTQ+ professionals, graduates, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. myGwork aims to empower the LGBTQ+ community by offering its members a safe space where they can connect with inclusive employers and find jobs, mentors, professional events and news.

“For us at myGwork, Pride month is all about uniting the community, sharing experiences and knowledge. WorkPride, our virtual pride event, aims to do this by bringing the community together to learn, connect and celebrate the spirit of Pride together. It runs from June 14 – 18 and has a different theme every day. This year, we’ll be discussing workplace inclusiveness, networking, improving skill sets and mental health – four important topics for everyone, especially post Covid.

“It’s important to be LGBTQ+ advocates all year round, not just in Pride month, because your organisation has staff who are members of the LGBTQ+ business community all year round, not just in June. While we are celebrating during Pride month, we are a community and a minority who face challenges from January 1 to December 31. We need organisations who stand with us 365 days a year. myGwork is here to help you learn, connect and grow, in Pride month and beyond.

“For our business, there’s such a diverse cross section of the LGBTQ+ business community from all over the world represented in our membership, it’s really heartening to see. The brands and organisations we work with too are an inspiration, showing that more and more are committed to inclusivity.”

Supporting the LGBTQ+ audience isn’t just a summer thing; it’s who you are all year round

Deborah Breen
Wilde Mode

Deborah Breen (below) founded Scottish clothing company Wilde Mode in 2018. It produces award-winning underwear and accessories that are disability and sensory friendly, gender free, vegan friendly, size inclusive, sustainable and carbon neutral. The business began after Breen started sewing for her baby nephew, and the original print she designed, Born Wilde, is available from her store. ‘Wilde mode’ means ‘wild fashion’ in German and pays homage to Breen’s late grandad, Leslie Wilde, who was an artist in Dundee, and was one of the biggest influences in her life. After three years in business, Wilde Mode now has an estimated annual turnover of £130,000.

“This year, we have teamed up with [chocolate] company Buttermilk and we are doing a giveaway, with the hope to raise money and awareness for an LGBTQ+ charity in Cornwall and one in Dundee called Art Angel.

“I have also launched a new print called Love is a Rainbow to celebrate all the wonderful people of Pride. It features lovely little hand-drawn hearts in all the rainbow colours, on a white background with our trademarked rainbow bands. Supporting the LGBTQ+ audience isn’t just a summer thing, it’s who you are all year round, so that’s why we cater for our customers all year round.

“I am proud of all I have achieved thus far and the people whom we support with our products. We do this for our customers, and nothing makes us happier than when a customer finds something that works for them.”

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