LGBTQ2S+ entrepreneurs and allies are making positive impacts on Canadian communities – and on the world stage – in numerous ways. In celebration of Pride Month, we are featuring three small businesses whose commitment to success is both empowering and uplifting.
Karla Cordova and Kelly Anderson, FoundersGinger Roo Shop
Ginger Roo Shop of North Vancouver, B.C., is a proud LGBTQ2S+ run business, creating stylish handmade accessories for furry friends everywhere.
As proud ‘pawrents’, founders Karla and Kelly were first inspired to create Ginger Roo Shop by Ginger, their Goldendoodle. They now offer an exclusive line of 100 per cent handcrafted bandanas and bows.
“We started out creating our own bandana and accessories for Ginger to make her the envy of the dog park. Now we get so much joy out of seeing our furry customers wearing our creations with pride. Achieving this goal has brought our diverse family closer and we are very proud of what we have accomplished together. ”
Karla and Kelly encourage others to step up and achieve their dreams. “Don’t be afraid of trying new things, you never know where life is going to take you. Stay open-minded and do whatever makes you happiest.”
What advice do they have for other Canadian businesses looking to become better allies to LGBTQ2S+ communities? “There are a number of organizations and information about the LGBTQ2S+ community where you can educate yourself, your business and others to be more inclusive, open, and diverse. Pride Month is the perfect opportunity to show your support and speak out as a brand about how important it is to be diverse.”
Ginger, the inspiration behind it all, currently occupies the title of CEO, or Canine Executive Officer. You can explore Ginger Roo Shop’s line of accessories, including hand-stamped keychains and a special Pride Month Collection, on Etsy.
Jamie Alexander, FounderRUBIES
Launched in 2020, RUBIES is a line of form-fitting active clothing for trans girls and non-binary children and teens. The business has quickly gained a sizable – and loyal – international following, especially among grateful parents and kids.
RUBIES was conceived when Jamie Alexander and his 11 year-old daughter Ruby were packing for their first adventure in Central America. As a dad, Jamie felt nervous: what should she wear to the beach in a country that may not be ready for a girl like her?
And with that came a bigger question. How could he help other girls like Ruby enjoy the same activities as their friends – with the same level of comfort and confidence, and no matter where they went?
Each pair of RUBIES bikini bottoms and underwear features a soft compression that provides worry-free comfort and helps keep everything in place. It’s designed for the beach, the gym, the pool, or the dance lessons – without the slightest compromise in style.
RUBIES also believes in giving back directly to the community they serve. They have been able to donate over 15 per cent of all bikini bottoms to families all around the world through generous donations from their community and other sponsorship and awareness initiatives.
As the word of RUBIES continues to spread worldwide, the inspiration for its launch continues to be Ruby.
“I am proud that Ruby has been an inspiration to both me and so many other kids. That we have created something so simple but life changing.”
Dr. Gavin Armstrong, CEOLucky Iron Fish Inc.
Iron deficiency is the world’s largest nutritional deficiency, affecting one out of three people. Lucky Iron Fish Inc. is an impact-driven e-commerce company that is on a mission to make iron deficiency a thing of the past.
Born out of a doctorate research by students from University of Guelph, the Lucky Iron Fish is a simple cooking tool made from pure electrolyte iron powder. Designed to release easy-to-absorb iron particles when added to any boiling liquid for 10 minutes, it is perfect for daily meals like soups, stews, oatmeal, or even just your drinking water.
“I am a firm believer that businesses have a responsibility to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges,” says CEO Dr. Gavin Armstrong. “I am incredibly proud of the fact that the work we do at Lucky Iron Fish has positively impacted the health and wellness of almost 900,000 people worldwide!”
Today, Lucky Iron Fish ships to over 90 countries and also uses a portion of every sale to provide free units to undernourished communities around the world.
When asked about the key to success in life, Dr. Armstrong’s perspective is as inspiring as his company’s product. “While it is a lifelong journey for most of us to achieve this, my advice would be to always know your worth. People may try to put you down or make you feel worthless, but know that you have the power to change the world. One person has the power to make a difference.”
He encourages entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ2S+ community to find the inspiration and resources they need to get to the next level. “There are some incredible organizations and communities available to support you on your entrepreneurial journey. Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) is one such community that I personally have really benefited from. I wish I knew about them sooner!”
Celebrating LGBTQ2S+ Community
June is Pride Month, dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ2S+ communities all over the world, and especially right at home. Ongoing progress in diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of Canada.
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