Rainbow capitalism (n.) 1. Pandering to the LGBTQ community, often with rainbow merchandise and LinkedIn avatars—and typically exclusively during Pride Month—in order to make a profit or advance a business interest. 2. Not these local businesses.
Looking for a way to directly support Seattle’s queer community (and maybe even get some rainbow cupcakes out of the deal)? We’ve compiled a list of some LGBTQ-owned businesses in town that stay gay even when July 1 rolls around.
This list is not exhaustive, and we’ll keep updating it throughout the year. Please reach out to [email protected] with any suggestions for businesses we should feature.
Seattleites entrust the expert framers at this LGBTQ- and woman-owned Madison Valley shop with framing some seriously precious cargo, from an original powdered wig to a set of Hermes scarves. Discounts available for art students, interior designers, and artists framing their own art.
A gender-affirming salon with locations around the city and stylists who get that you want a turquoise mullet, not an aqua shag.
Shelves stocked with indie magazines, a fridge stocked with indie beer—print is living in this new-this-year Capitol Hill newsstand co-owned by Queer/Bar’s Joey Burgess.
South Lake Union
Seattle's go-to for clever, thoughtfully sourced, food-based gift baskets that look more at home in a boutique market than a corporate boardroom.
Coffee snobs and aesthetes will recognize Broadcast's distinctive bags of top-notch beans, but Barry Faught's beloved cafe and roastery prioritizes love, hospitality, and inclusion over exclusivity.
Lower Queen Anne
Husband-and-husband duo Kevin and Zac Cooper each run a niche passion project in the brightly lit space across from Climate Pledge arena: Coopers Optique brings high-fashion eyewear (including Zac’s own recently launched line) to the succulent-filled table it shares with Rori Blooms.
Self-described "crystal wizard and professional weirdo" Michelle Ferris runs a metaphysical shop that couldn't be more down-to-earth, with an entirely LGBTQ management team and a space so welcoming that it recently played host to a lesbian proposal.
Seattle’s LGBTQ-owned cupcakery serves The Gay (a cute confetti cupcake) each year in June—because an aversion to Pride Month displays in big box stores shouldn’t preclude anyone from tasting the rainbow.
Cofounder Alyssa Kaliszewski’s passion for sourcing gender- and size-inclusive vintage clothing colors the selection at this West Seattle shop: “I'm plus-size, and also bisexual, and wanted to find a way to offer vintage clothing for folks that are like me,” Kaliszewski says. “Folks who don't necessarily follow the normal gender prescription of what people should wear.”
Ballard, Capitol Hill
Seattle vegans have lost their collective mind for the food-truck-turned-doughnut-shop slinging photogenic treats, including an edible-glitter-topped Pride doughnut that's available year-round. Owners Christopher Ballard and Sean Willis, also the couple behind plant-based magazine Outbound Herbivore, are equally sweet.
Seattle has no shortage of proudly queer-owned bars and restaurants (and they're just the place to celebrate Pride). Here are a few we love:
- The Flora Bakehouse, Beacon Hill
- The Lumber Yard, White Center
- Marination, various locations
- Queer/Bar, Capitol Hill
- Stoup Brewing, Ballard
- Two Doors Down, Madison Valley & Pioneer Square
- The Velvet Elk, Mount Baker
Indian Summer sits on a corner in residential Capitol Hill, a jewelry box of slinky ’60s dresses and shimmery ’90s crop tops nestled next to a convenience store with a bright red Coca-Cola sign. Look here for a size-inclusive lineup of the mind-bogglingly glam finds that drew you to vintage in the first place.
With a houseplant outpost in its tiny Fremont storefront and an enormous, warehouse-style space for rare varieties just down the street, the shop run by Neil Silverman and his green-thumb partner has grown into the best spot in Seattle—maybe the nation—for collector's plants.
This isn’t your typical auto shop. With a mostly queer, trans, and female staff, Repair Revolution and founder Eli Allison are combatting the boys club of auto repair. The car maintenance shop offers diagnosis, service, and repair on all makes and models, and holds workshops on car-owning basics.
Lower Queen Anne
Failed cactus ownership doesn’t really mean you’re less nurturing than the desert—with a little education, Kevin Cooper says succulent life is for everyone, and he’s equally enthusiastic about showing off otherworldly imports as he is about getting newbies started. This is a true family business: Kevin's business shares a space with Coopers Optique, a high-fashion eyewear shop run by his husband, Zac; Rori is the name of their daughter.
Seattle’s legendary queer-owned barbershop, founded in 1993 by David Petersen and Wade Weigel, now boasts 19 locations—including one in Manhattan!—where you can get a beer with your buzz cut (in normal times, anyway).
A ceramics studio works double duty as a shop of striking-but-useful planters, mugs, and glassware from artists in Seattle and beyond.
Come for the personality—Wallingford's rare plant purveyor more than lives up to his name with suggestive plant selfies, branded booty shorts, and the elusive Penis Cactus (Trichocereus bridgesii). Stay for plants of all varieties that are so obviously loved.
Owner Karyn Schwartz told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog in 2013 that the AIDS crisis, and the death of a friend, sparked her interest in holistic healing. A trip to Sugarpill, with its selection of natural remedies and organic treats, feels restorative.
Broadcast Coffee owner Barry Faught teamed up with detail-oriented baker Christina Wood to build a shrine to laminated dough: croissants, cruffins, and, of course, complementary beans roasted in-house.
Founded by married couple Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez to address a lack of gender-neutral underthings, TomboyX has since morphed into a worldwide outfit with cute, comfortable cuts for every body.