At Lorals, we have pride about being queer-owned all year round. And June seems like as good a time as any to introduce you to some of our other favorite queer-owned brands! The products and brands on this list were created out of the founder's necessity -- they saw products that they felt needed to exist, and they brought them to life. And by creating products that solved their own needs, these LGBTQ-owned brands have brought joy and happiness to other communities as well.
Founded by powerhouse entrepreneur Andrea Barrica, O.School is an educational platform that offers medically-accurate information and advice about sexuality. It’s candid, open, and at times a little blunt -- ensuring that everyone has access to the information they need, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, or background.
Barrica grew up in a conservative first generation Filipino-American family. As a kid, she received limited and often shaming sex education. After struggling with her own sexuality and finding so few trustworthy resources, she started O.School to clear up the mystery, wipe away the shame, and spread sex positivity with a pleasure and enjoyment focus.
2. NiK Kacy Shoes
Finding gender neutral shoes that fit can be a feat worthy of the greatest personal shopper. But gender-fluid and transmasculine footwear designer NiK Kacy is out to make it easier to find the shoes you want in the sizes that fit you. They couldn’t find men’s styled shoes that fit a smaller foot size -- so they designed their first collection of "masculine of center" gender-neutral shoes.
NiK makes everything from casual sneakers to boots and dress shoes, and they even have leather holsters, belts, and cuffs. Next up? NiK is working on their first “feminine of center” line coming soon. We can’t wait!
3. HER App
HER app is a dating app specifically designed for lesbian, bisexual, and queer people (including trans and non-binary folx), that offers more than just dates and hook ups. Tired of predominantly-straight dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OKCupid, founder and CEO Robyn Exton saw what Grindr did for queer men, and wanted to create something for queer women too.
HER has a bunch of innovative features that make it easier for queer women specifically to connect and build relationships -- regardless of style (romantic, sexual, platonic, professional, etc). HER is a community and relationship-building tool that allows you to find LGBTQ+ events near you, read queer content, join smaller group chats in your community, and just have fun in a safe, inclusive environment.
4. Play Out Apparel
Play Out Apparel’s gender-equal clothing doesn’t fit into a “men’s” or “women’s” section. Instead, the queer and trans-owned brand focuses on “flat front” and “pouch front” designs for their bottoms and entirely unisex tops. They want everyone, regardless of how you identify, to have the opportunity to shop your style, not your gender.
Like many founders, Abby Sugar (CEO) and E. Leifer (Chief Design Officer) didn’t see themselves reflected in mainstream clothing brands, particularly when it came to underwear and streetwear -- so they made it themselves. And in the process they have created a tight knit style community that snaps up every new clothing drop and supports each others’ style journeys every step of the way.
That’s right! Us! Lorals founder Melanie Cristol had the inspiration for our sexy latex lingerie when she was looking for a better way to give and receive oral sex while protecting against STIs. She knew about dental dams, but she wanted them to be sexy, and hands-free...like your favorite lace or silk panties. Thus, the idea for Lorals was born -- ultra-thin latex panties that give you all the good sensations but without the skin-to-skin contact. After coming up with her initial idea, Melanie realized that there were so many other ways a sexy barrier panty could be used (and in fact, Lorals shouldn't be used for STI-protection yet!). As of now, Lorals can be worn for mess-free period oral, to protect against beard burn on your vulva, for exploring anal play and rimming, or dozens of other sex adventures. We’re clearly obsessed, so get yours here now!
Written by Sarah Brown, a sex and intimacy educator with 10 years of experience designing and marketing intimate wellness and pleasure products.
Reviewed & Edited by Melanie Cristol, the founder and CEO of Lorals. Melanie studied Sociology at Columbia University and received her Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School. Prior to creating and patenting Lorals, Melanie was a healthcare and consumer products attorney, and she was part of the legal team that secured gay marriage rights for the western United States. Melanie also fought for LGBTQ rights in California and Ohio as a field organizer with the National LGBTQ Task Force.