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Pride 2024: Celebrating Our LGBTQ+ Business Heroes & Friends

Pride 2024: Celebrating Our LGBTQ+ Business Heroes & Friends

This summer, we celebrate Pride, and we're shining the spotlight on some of our fave LGBTQ+ makers and allies.

This summer, we celebrate Pride, and inspired by Dublin Pride’s theme for 2024, we decided to ‘SHINE’ the spotlight on some LGBTQ+ makers and allies in our network.

Our interviewees shared their thoughts on diversity in business, their journey so far, and what Pride means to them. 🌈


Ryan McSorley - co-founder of neat. 

Ryan is the co-founder of neat, who produce eco-friendly, fantastic smelling and beautiful cleaning products. Neat products are effective without single-use plastic and remove the need to ship unnecessary water.

Ryan, how has your identity informed how you approach your business?

I would say my identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community has hugely informed my approach to business. I would like to think it has given me an open mind when it comes to the type of people we expect to see in positions of leadership in business. I don't have the same preconceived ideas of who should be in which roles, which has led to us having a diverse team of people and I hope a company where everyone feels they can be their authentic self. 

What does diversity and inclusion in business look like for you?

For me it is about a culture where everyone, and I mean everyone can feel comfortable to be themselves and to bring that to work. I believe we can only get the best out of people when they are living authentically and not second guessing themselves. This is easy to say, but in order to actually make it a reality it needs commitment and focus. It requires policies and a strategy within the business that reflects the objective of diversity and inclusion. 

What does it mean for you to be out at work?

This is hugely important for me. I see being a business founder as a way to create change in the world and to play a small role in creating the future we want to see. For me that world would be one with equality and diversity as a given. 

It was not and is still not easy for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be out in businesses without worrying about how it might impact their opportunities. I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who support and celebrate my identity, but in order to get here you have to be open and honest about who you are and own that identity. I hope by being proudly gay and showing it is possible to be out and still pursue your dreams of starting a business that I give others the courage to do the same. I am fully aware that the opportunities I have today were made possible by those who went before me, and I hope I can help pave a way for those who are coming out now.



Harry Colley - chef and creator of Harry’s Nut Butter

Harry is a chef and creator of Harry’s Nut Butter. He has worked in The Fumbally café in Dublin 8 since 2015 as a cook, tipping away in the kitchen, doing the odd workshop, organising catering events and working on tonnes of different food projects. In that time, he came up with the original Harry’s Nut Butter. 

How has your identity informed how you approach your business?

I’m not sure I’ve thought about that in relation to my own identity, but being part of and learning from queer communities around me allows me to pay close attention to how I approach relationships in my professional life, and I always try and do so with openness, care, and respect for difference.

Have you faced any challenges as an LGBTQIA+ business owner?

I contend with casual homophobia the same way I do in work as I do in the world and I deal with those incidents as they come. I’m lucky to have avoided any serious challenges in this respect, as I’m a white, gay, cis man, and with that comes a lot of privilege. Homophobia, transphobia and bigotry are still serious threats to so many other queer people and so I feel it’s important for people in positions like mine to advocate for those who don’t have the same level of security or safety. 

Who from the LGBTQIA+ community inspires you and why?

I look at the staff and organisers of GMHS, HIV Ireland, MPower, ShoutOut and TENI and think that they do incredible work for the community. They’re all working effectively to provide services for queer folk and educate everyone else about LGBTQIA+ issues. 

What does Pride mean to you and how do you plan to celebrate?

Pride’s a protest. It’s a chance to celebrate the struggles we’ve overcome so far, and a chance to think about all of the struggles we’re still facing. It’s also about recognising and amplifying other struggles for freedom and recognition across the world beyond the queer community. Pride is calling for a free Palestine. Nobody's free until we’re all free.

What does it mean for you to be out at work?

For much of my career working in kitchens I was not out at work. They were chauvinistic environments and I was young and not so confident in myself then.These days, being out at work is the very least I can be, and now that I’m the boss I want to create a space in Harry’s Nut Butter that welcomes and celebrates all kinds of backgrounds and identities.

What advice would you give to an LGBTQIA+ person thinking of starting their own business?

Avail of your community! Establishing a network in business is hard to do at the best of times, and requires a lot of persistence. But you already come with a group of people who want to support you and your business so engage with the other LGBTQIA+ business owners and take it from there. Some of the first champions of Harry’s Nut Butter were Daddy’s Cafe, The Cupcake Bloke and, of course, Faerly.

What LGBTQIA+ owned businesses do you love to support?

I love love love Valentia Island Vermouth. I think Orla and Anna have done a fantastic job making an incredible quality product but also making a really interesting brand who’s journey I follow closely. I also try to support Irish happenings and events run by and for queer people like Quirk Market, Tender, Gaze Film Festival & Outburst Queer Arts Festival.

Chris Rowan - BelongTo

Chris is the fundraising officer at BelongTo, Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ youth organisation. BelongTo works to empower young people through youth work, education, changing attitudes and research and our Pride range including our new Bród Rainbow Soap are raising funds to support BelongTo's fantastic work.

What does Pride mean to you and how do you plan to celebrate? 

Pride is so important to me because it is a chance for everyone to be reminded of how big, diverse, welcoming and celebratory this community is. It’s so exciting for us this year because BelongTo is celebrating being 21 and we were honoured to be made the grand marshals of Dublin Pride. For so many young people, it will be their first Pride. Getting to lead the parade and to see how incredible and supportive their community is. I am so excited to see that and to celebrate with them. 

If you could speak to your younger self, just starting out, what advice would you give?

I’ll try not to cry with that one because that’s an emotional question to ask. Most importantly, I would say be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with people that make you feel safe, with people who you feel safe to talk to and share, and to be there for them. Build those relationships, find your support network, find your tribe. Build your confidence so that you can live your life authentically. It is so important to have those supports and allies and to have those great people in your life. These are the years to do that.

Benoit Nicol - founder of The Nature of Things

Benoit is the founder of Dublin-based company The Nature of Things who make organic and ethically produced aromatherapy products. Benoit spent twenty years in New York working with two of the best oil producers in the world. The name ‘Nature of Thing’ is inspired by the belief that happiness can be found by living a simple life, surrounded by friends and in harmony with nature.

What does diversity and inclusion in business look like for you?

I think I have learned early on, in my late teens, that prejudice against women, people of different colours or sexual orientation, language and nationality stems from ignorance. Once you know and engage with people that are different from you, you quickly realise that we are not all the same fallible and wonderful human beings, and that we can enrich ourselves by learning from one another. Bringing that into business creates a more inclusive and diverse workplace and network of stakeholders, from suppliers to customers to communities.

What does Pride mean to you and how do you plan to celebrate?

Pride is a way to affirm that the LGBTQIA community is strong, doesn’t need to hide and should be celebrated. And although progress has happened in recent years in Ireland, we should not take it for granted and other countries still are in a dark place. So the fight is far from over, prejudice has not gone away and it is important that we collectively, as a society, reaffirm our support.

If you could speak to your younger self, just starting out, what advice would you give?

If you show motivation and team spirit you will eventually succeed. But stand also for certain values that are important to you, do your part to protect the environment, do your part to be more inclusive in the workplace. 

Thank you to our fellow business owners and allies who took part in this blog! We want to add more queer-owed businesses to our Faerly family - we would love to support new potential suppliers and we'd especially love to hear from women, trans and minority makers. Please get in touch.

This year, 20% of the sale price of everything in our Pride range is being donated to BelongTo Youth Services & Unicef's Gaza Appeal. Our Pride gifts are made with love and all of them are giving back to the LGBTQI+ community, and doing their bit for the planet, thanks to our amazing suppliers and allies. Check out our collection here

Tags: Pride