Happy Pride, Explorers! As an LGBTQ-owned small business ourselves, we are proud to support our fellow LGBTQ-owned brands not only during Pride Month but year round. There are so many incredible LGBTQ-owned businesses - it was a challenge to narrow our list down to only five.
Founders Elliott and Harshit are inspired by traditional Indian cuisine when creating their chocolate bars, as well as traditional Indian textiles when designing their packaging. However, the biggest inspiration for Madhu is the namesake itself: Harshit’s mother, Madhu. In Hindi, Madhu means “honey” or “sweet.” This not only refers to their delicious chocolate, but also the company mantra: “Be Madhu to one another.” These chocolate bars make incredible gifts for friends, for loved ones, and for yourself. We love pairing Madhu Chocolates with our Honey Oat Iced Latte for a sweet afternoon treat.
Founded three years ago in San Diego, Paru Tea Bar sources their specialty loose-leaf teas from family owned tea gardens in East and Southeast Asia. Founders Amy Truong and Lani Gobaleza aim to “share moments of calm through tea” - and having experienced Paru Tea Bar ourselves - we’d say they’re succeeding! Their approach to tea is deeply personal: "Blending is my way of creating and remembering. I tend to develop nostalgic blends that remind me of a specific time and place," founder and primary tea buyer and blender, Amy explains.
Missy and Krissy Koefad founded 18.21 Bitters in 2014. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, these handcrafted premium cocktail bitters, tinctures, shrubs, syrups, old fashioned tonics, ginger beer, and craft cocktail mix are perfect for elevating any at-home cocktail creation. The 18.21 in 18.21 Bitters refers to the 18th amendment - which enacted prohibition - and 21 refers to the 21st amendment (which repealed prohibition!)
The practice and philosophy of gongfu cha made a huge impact on founder Annie Chen, when growing up in Guangdong, China: “The farther I am from home, the more I find comfort in reconnecting to simplicity, to a feeling that predates a description with words.” Teaphile’s consciously-sourced single origin artisan teas are grown and harvested with care in small family-owned farms in China.
Founder Hans Schrei’s love of baking began at four years old. Born and raised in Guatemala, Hans grew up baking alongside his family during the holidays. Wunderkek began when Hans decided to finally use his vacation days and spend them making different cookies for every day of Advent. By Christmas Eve, Hans had made over 1,000 creative, delicious cookie creations, and thus Wunderkek was born a few months later. Wunderkek is all about embracing your inner child. Hans met Luis Gramajo on a tinder date, and they have been working together ever since. What Luis first lacked in baking experience, he made up for in his deep understanding of the spirit of Wunderkeks - to preserve childlike joy and innocence. These baked goods are to LIVE for.
Happy Pride Month!
The Explorer Team