Small Business, Big Success
We hear about it all the time: small businesses are the heart and soul of America. They make up our favorite artisan jewelry shops, our go-to coffee spots, our favorite place for Wednesday-night Trivia, and so much more. They’re the local places that make our home, well, just that: home. If small businesses are the heart of the United States, then small business owners are the backbone. Two local success stories, Brave Bear and Queen On The Scene, show us that creating your vision for your own small business is not only possible, but it can also be wildly successful—and great for the community too!
One great small business, Brave Bear, is causing quite a buzz among the queer community. According to founder of Brave Bear, Abe Dickison, “The goal of Brave Bear is to create moments of connection through the celebration of the unique milestones in LGBTQ people’s lives.” He adds, “We all deserve to know where we can turn to for support and connection when we need it.” Dickison, a trans man, understands the struggle of loneliness after coming out, and doesn’t want any other children or adults to experience that feeling. These adorable plush teddy bears have either a rainbow flag tail or a trans flag tail. And right now, their website has a live vote for the next flag tail! If you want to vote for your favorite, vote HERE! They also have other merch if a bear isn’t the right gift for your loved ones: T shirts, hats, fanny packs and stickers.
There are lots of reasons to get your loved one a Brave Bear. Their website says it best, “Show your kid you support them in coming out, starting hormones, and their legal name change. Celebrate your friend’s official gender marker change, E-birthday or T-birthday, and finding their one true love. Send a Brave Bear today and build a connection, not a closet.” Dickison is passionate about creating a system of support for queer people, and a way for allies or other queer people to show their support. He says, “I decided to become a vendor at TC Pride to increase visibility of my organization to LGBTQ folks and their loved ones.”
This year, you can find Brave Bear at the Twin Cities Pride festival and get your fix of their adorable and brave bears! Dickison says, “As a transgender small business owner I also want to help to create a TC Pride that amplifies what we can do as a community to support one another… Deciding to be a part of the TC Pride Festival can be a challenging decision. Even more so when sharing something as personal as art or craft.” He adds, “For me, it was important to understand the vision that TC Pride has for the future. That amplifying what’s going on right here, the work the community itself is doing needs the spotlight was crucial.” Understanding the spaces that will contain and sell your art is a deeply personal decision, and Dickison encourages other artists who are considering Twin Cities Pride as an avenue for their work to, “get to know the organization. Have the conversations and then decide what’s right for you.”
If you want to learn more about Brave Bears, check out their website: www.bravebearpride.com/our-story/ – and make sure to pay them a visit at Twin Cities Pride!
Another small business that’s making big waves is Queen On The Scene, which sells delightful enamel pins that have everything from pronouns to pride flags to snarky quotes about pride and living fiercely. In their own words, founder, Quinn Kathner-Tucker (they/them), started Queen On The Scene, “because of an interaction that I had with a vendor at Twin Cities Pride back in 2017 when I learned that the vendor was just there to make money and not to give back to the LGBT community. This was my introduction to rainbow capitalism. In that moment, I decided that I needed to make a difference. Over the next year, I went to work and combined my love of enamel pins, fierce passion for the community, and created Queen On The Scene.” And make a difference they have! Kathner-Tucker brings an immense amount of queer joy and passion to their art. Their company is built on three main values, which can be found on the Queen On The Scene website:
- Promote visibility within our LGBTQIA+ community.
- Unapologetically create pins with the purpose of empowerment.
- Fiercely give back to non-profits and organizations who support the community.
Queen On The Scene will be at Twin Cities Pride this year as well, ready to meet everyone and sell some adorable pins! Kathner-Tucker says about Twin Cities Pride, “It’s everything! Twin Cities Pride attendees have come out fiercely to support the mission, vision, and growth of the business since Day 1. Additionally, sales from the Twin Cities Pride festival helps sustain my business for the rest of the year.” They also encourage other small business owners and artists to get in on the fun! They say, “If you’re considering becoming a vendor, you’ve already taken the biggest step. It can be very scary taking that big leap, but your community will catch you.”
Wanna see for yourself how amazing these pins are? Check out their website: www.queenonthescene.com
Twin Cities Pride is so excited to host both Brave Bears and Queen On The Scene this year, which have both been tremendously successful in the community. TC Pride is also excited to have so many other incredible artists who are also dedicated to creating a safe space for queer people to enjoy themselves at this year’s festival. There’s no better way to support queer artists than by enjoying their work and buying their products. Get yourself or a loved one a little prize today, and treat yourself! It is Pride after all!
To learn more about the other small businesses that will be set up at Pride this year, or learn more about Twin Cities Pride in general, check out their website: www.tcpride.org