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AD Editors Share 24 of Their Favorite Businesses by LGBTQ+ Owners

May 28, 2023

By Audrey Lee

Illustration by Soleil Summer

All products featured on Architectural Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It's no secret we love a good shopping spree here at AD and Clever, and if we get to learn about innovative creators and entrepreneurs while we do it, all the more reason to splurge! To kick off Pride Month, we’re sharing some of our favorite LGBTQ+ businesses to shop for decor, wellness essentials, accessories, and more. From stylish scents to vibrant reads and candles galore, read on for the full exclusive on a few of the products that we know and love (or have added to our personal wish lists). There are so many ways to tastefully decorate your space with pride⁠—and without all the rainbows. Happy shopping!

"Truly clean and nontoxic beauty products can be hard to come by. Alder New York, founded by friends David Krause and Nina Zilka in 2016, one-ups it by also creating products that are vegan and FSC–certified. Not only that, they smell divine, and are great to look at." — Rachel Fletcher, senior commerce editor

"I love a good hydrating mist, especially since my skin dries out so easily. This one from Alder has ultra-calming ingredients like calendula, plus 10% of sales will be donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York City, an organization that's protecting LGBTQ+ youth from homelessness by empowering them with the tools and skills needed for independent living." — Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"Bokksu's sets make such thoughtful gifts for serial snackers or that friend who won't stop talking about their recent trip to Asia (a.k.a. me). There's savory treats like sweet potato crisps and tempura seaweed that’ll easily knock your basic Pringles and pretzels out of the water, but I think I enjoy the sweets most of all. If you’re anything like me, do yourself a favor and snag this all-sweets gift basket from the brand, which include chocolate-filled sandwich cookies and innovative candy bars." — Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"Boy Smells candles are some of my favorites. They are all developed and designed in Los Angeles and feel status-y and design-forward with their sleek black glasses and pink labels while still maintaining an accessible price point. My old roommates exclusively burned Kush—their collaboration with Kacey Musgraves is as excellent as you think it is. But Red Head is underrated in my opinion." — Kelsey Borovinsky, contributor

"Candles as gifts aren't exactly groundbreaking, but I’ve never met anyone who's disappointed by one from Boy Smells (myself included!). While Cedar Stack, Prunus, and Cowboy Kush are all standouts in my opinion, lately I’ve been gravitating towards Les, a soft and fruity scent that's absolutely perfect for summer in NYC." — Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"Catalina Cheng's cheeky work never ceases to put a smile on my face. While you might have to save a few paychecks to spring for one of their gilded blue-and-white vases, this ‘These Horses Are Lesbians’ crewneck is the perfect placeholder for the time being." — Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"I’m admittedly not a big coffee drinker myself but Couplet's packaging and merch make me wish I enjoyed it more. I’d gift this espresso kit to any caffeine-obsessive who's also got a penchant for cute kitchen appliances, since it also comes with a very charming cow print moka pot (a.k.a. a moo-ka pot)." — Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"Founded by Lady Gaga and collectively led by the Haus of Gaga, Haus Labs cosmetics marries science and innovation with artistry and experimentation. My most favorite products (out of my many beloved Haus Labs products) are the Atomic Shake Lip Lacquer in Ruby Shine and Le Monster lip crayon in Scarlett Matte. I’ve never seen a liquid lipstick with the Atomic Shake's texture before —it really does make my lips look like they’re coated in red patent leather, as Gaga promises." — Livia Caligor, content operations associate

"This inclusive and empowering tarot deck comes from the brilliant mind of Jerico Mandybur, a self-described ‘neuroqueer weirdo’ that identifies as a neurodivergent creative and queer witch native to Australia. When you call out to the universe for answers around how to heal, your fate is in good hands while shuffling these cards. Your higher self will thank you!" — Sydney Gore, digital design editor

"Emergency prep is something we should all really have a plan for, and thankfully Judy takes some of the guesswork out of navigating those scary ‘What if?’ situations. The brand's stylish line of go bags and home disaster essentials are easy-to-spot in the event of an actual emergency and include crucial supplies like bandages, food, tools, and more, so you can have some piece of mind knowing your loved ones will be ready for what you can't control." — Audrey Lee, commerce writer

"3.1 Philip Lim is a ready-to-wear label known for its sleek, contemporary designs. Phillip is an avid advocate of LGBTQ+ rights, as well as a prominent voice against anti-Asian hate in the AAPI community. I thrifted this pair of combat boots last winter and immediately fell in love—they’re so warm and cozy with their shearling lining yet still effortlessly chic and easy." — Livia Caligor, content operations associate

"Bluestockings is a cooperatively worker-owned bookstore and activist center on the Lower East Side that serves as a sanctuary for NYC's queer communities. Its goal of creating space for gender non-conforming and LGBTQ+ individuals is manifested in its book and art curation, as well as its queer history walking tour of the Lower East Side and queer book club. My favorite book from Bluestockings is Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines, which explores the personal and artistic relationship between Haring and Basquiat, as well as their lasting legacy on the art world." — Livia Caligor, content operations associate

"Founded by bookseller Hannah Oliver Depp, Loyalty Book Stores is an independent book store in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, Maryland, that strives to diversify the book industry to create more space for queer communities. The concept was born out of Hannah's experience as a Black and queer-identifying woman, as she struggled to find extensive representation in the literary world. My favorite book from Loyalty is All About Love by cultural critic, feminist theorist, and writer bell hooks. The first volume in hooks’ Love Song to the Nation trilogy, All About Love, offers a path to love for individual relationships and our nation alike." — Livia Caligor, content operations associate

"Design is at the heart of the beauty enterprise founded by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz in 2004. Yes, I love the natural ingredients and the fact that their products are locally-made in the New York area, but it's the fab packaging, designed by the graphics maestros at 2x4, what first caught my eye. I’m also crazy about their signature shops—many designed by Messana O’Rorke Architects—which faithfully conjure the brand ethos of a modern apothecary. The Eucalyptus Body Wash is my absolute staple, but I also go in for the yummy Peppermint Shampoo, despite the fact that I have six hairs left on my head." — Mayer Rus, West Coast editor

"Though I’m decidedly team woody scents, Malin+Goetz's strawberry perfume has me second-guessing myself. Packed with vibrant notes of fresh-smelling bergamot, strawberry, and pink pepper, I feel like my day is already off to a wonderful start whenever I wear this fragrance." —Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"I must admit, I’m a real sucker for some cute ceramics. I’ve been obsessed with Neenineen since I first laid eyes on its Checkered Tobogan Pipe, and its new releases have yet to disappoint! Its vibrant collections include mugs, planters, pipes, and even lighting, all made by hand in Los Angeles. Neenineen even has a collection of more affordable pieces, called the Pal Club, designed to make beautiful, handmade ceramics more accessible." — Lizzie Soufleris, associate visuals editor

"Does a love of plants, sustainability, and conscious labor practices make me a queer stereotype? Sure. Enter Object Lover: This queer-owned, Austin-based brand uses 3D printers and sustainable, corn-based bioplastics to create a whole host of colorful, unique home goods. Their adorable wavy planters (+ drip trays) are a perfect foil to the monotony of terra-cotta planters currently lining my window sill. Plus, they operate via the Austin Workers Syndicate, a worker-owned co-op that ensures equal pay and shared growth between members—exactly the type of brand I love to support!" — Lizzie Soufleris, associate visuals editor

"These acne patches from Peace Out have saved me on multiple long car rides and flights when I’m looking to protect active breakouts from further irritation and simultaneously treat them. I like that these little dots are packed with salicylic acid, which target zits directly and aloe vera, which helps to soothe any redness or irritation. They're also so easy to throw in your purse or tote so you'll always be able to have them on hand" —Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"I literally swear by the acne dots and pore strips from Peace Out, a forward-thinking skin care brand that strives to treat skin issues with one-step solutions. Whenever I feel a cystic zit emerging, I put one on before I go to sleep, and by morning it's disappearing before it's even gotten to the grossest stage. It quite literally zaps your zit overnight. After such a positive experience with the acne dots, I also tried the Peace Out pore strips, which are hands down the best pore strips I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot of pore strips). Unlike traditional pore strips, they don't leave my skin with a papier-mâché-esque residue, as they’re gelatinous in texture and slimy against your nose. Not going to lie—my favorite part is inspecting the strip the morning after. You’d be shocked by the pools of oil and excess of gunk residing in your nose pores." — Livia Caligor, content operations associate

"Founded in LA in 2013, Phlemuns is a unisex fashion label that strives to minimize the disparity between high-end fashion and accessible, everyday clothing. Though many sustainable fashion companies lag in the fashion aspect of their designs, Phlemuns is innovative yet nostalgic with its grungy, downtown-cool aesthetic." — Livia Caligor, content operations associate

"I’m really hoping to get my hands on some porcelain pieces from the ceramicist Laura Chautin this year. She’ll be relaunching her shop this summer with items like these duck incense holders, so it will be worth the wait. I’m currently holding out for a restock of the mushroom tumblers, they’re so cute I could explode!" — Sydney Gore, digital design editor

"Everyone knows that an absolute staple of Pride Month is a flag. And I’m happy I stumbled upon Pride Flag SD so my queer dollars can go to an actual queer-run flag company instead of a major corporation. Based out of San Diego, this Etsy shop sews their own high-quality pride flags in the style of Gilbert Baker, the activist and artist who created the very first Rainbow Flag in 1978. What I love about Pride Flag SD's products is that they are made with super sturdy construction and feature a wide range of inclusive flags (including the pansexual and demisexual pride flags) for those of us who get cozy in the plus part of LGBTQ+." — Elise Portale, contributor

"I discovered Queer Candle Co at a local coffee shop where they had a few for sale, and immediately had to try them out. Not only are the smells extremely pleasant, they’re not overwhelming (basically the formula for the perfect candle, IMO). The discovery kit is a great option for anyone looking to try out a few scents, which is perfect since they have so many good smells. Personally, I’m a fan of the Morning Dew candle; however, I’m an even bigger fan of the fact that 10% of all profits goes to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project." — Katherine McLaughlin, associate digital features editor

"Reisfields cement candles have to be one of the more chic products I’ve come across in recent days. Made of recycled materials and using natural pigments, founder Reis Chester designed a vessel for the soy-based, chemical-free candles that will stand the test of time. The brand even offers a DIY candle kit if you’d like to refill with one of their signature oil-based scents over and over again." — Rachel Fletcher, senior commerce editor

"Snif is another candle brand that makes one of my fave spicy scents: Instant Karma (think the perfect warm blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and vetiver). What's cool about the brand is that you can order all their scents on a trial basis—meaning if something's not your taste, it's easy to just keep what you like and return what you don't." — Audrey Lee, commerce editor

"Long live the Wiggle Queen of New York! I love Sophie Collé's interpretation of Memphis design for our ~strange and uncertain~ times, she's one of my favorite up-and-coming designers. I also fully support her reclaiming the title of ‘dyke carpentress.’" — Sydney Gore, digital design editor

"Animals for everyone! So declares Voutsa in its new line of wallpapers, an array of joyous animal prints that cleverly riff on tried-and-true tropes of favorite fauna. Zebras prance as if grooving to the beat. Leopards stand on hind legs, their front paws extended à la Alexis Rose. And tigers gingerly touch tails (meow, meow). Voutsa, of course, has long celebrated inclusivity, both in an ever-expanding product line that champions charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent, and through active contributions to LGBTQ+ organizations in Los Angeles and New York City. This latest collection is a safari in style." — Samuel Cochran, global features director

"When Holland Denvir isn't wheeling and dealing with their B2B design agency, Denvir Enterprises (which reps cool brands, like Amigo Modern, Gantri, and Baux, and produces its own custom rug line), they can be found behind a carpenter's bench. This cat couch is one of Holland's genius creations for their brand Work in Progress, and it's been a fixture in my living room for almost two years. Riblet, my Maine coon cat, posts up in it nearly every evening while I binge Forensic Files. For its cushion, slide in a scratch pad (Riblet's favorite) or a totally charming Block Shop–printed seat." — Lila Allen, AD Pro senior editor

"If you are a fan of wild textiles and maximalism, spend some time admiring the work of interdisciplinary artist and designer Zoe Schlacter. Zoe founded their namesake textile and home goods in 2020, and the covetable designs brighten my mood every time I see them. I’m particularly into the Checker Floors blanket, which makes me think of Twin Peaks and—like Zoe's inspiration—childhood kitchens." — Zoë Sessums, digital design editor