PRESS & MEDIA
From Plants to Beauty Products, Here Are 7 LGBTQ+ Businesses to Check Out This Pride
Happy Pride Month! As we all spend time celebrating the LGBTQ+ community’s courage and love, let’s use some of that effort into supporting LGBTQ+ Latine businesses. LGBTQ+ businesses work all year long to produce quality products for their consumers, which has little to do with their identity.
The owners just happen to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Latine community also happens to be one of the largest and fastest-growing populations when it comes to new businesses, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. And as more people start their own businesses, consumers want to be more intentional about where they spend their money and who they support.
That’s why, for Pride, we want to highlight some LGBTQ+ Latine businesses you can support during Pride and beyond. We pulled together an array of businesses to give you, the reader, a look at how diverse our communities truly are.
Pursuit of Purpose: Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Kalani and Wolf Founder, Joanis Duran
“Never Apologizing, Never Conforming ™” has such a deep connection with our BIPOC and Queer Community. Due to a broken system that had no intention of including “US,” we wake up every day only to deal with hair and name discrimination, dress code violations, oppressive language, racist jokes, subtle-to-not-so-subtle racism, and hiding behind closet doors (just to name a few).The phrase comes from the experience that no matter what’s going on in our daily lives, we’re no longer apologizing for who we are, and we’re never conforming to anyone’s ideology but our own. Our mantra exists to serve as a public service announcement to our community (and our team) to be no one other than themselves every day. It’s like what Beyoncé says in her song, “Alien Superstar:”
As a Queer Afro-Latina founder, we’re [Kalani and Wolf] creating visibility for other Queer and Afro-Latina/e/x entrepreneurs. When you shop small, you’re investing in your local economy, validating our existence, tangibly supporting Queer and Afro-Latina/e/x communities, demonstrating solidarity for workers’ rights, and helping mitigate climate change— all while making an active choice to shop unique, exclusive items not found in big retail stores.
Let’s Address the Pay Gap for Black Women
By CHANTELLE BACIGALUPO
“My advice to Black women who are tired of the nonsense is quit! I did it and turned in my immediate resignation because I don’t have time for two weeks notice when my value and power is ME.”
FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS OWNER SEEKS SAFE SPACES AND MORE FOR LGBTQ ENTREPRENEURS
Thursday, June 9, 2022
During this Pride Month, Joanis Duran and other LGBTQ small business owners in Florida are fighting to be heard as their state policymakers enact anti-LGBTQ legislation.
“We feel that we have a government that is trying to remove us.”
In fact, the Miami-based designer has been working for better representation of people of color and queer voices in fashion for nearly 20 years. Joanis spent her career in fast and slow fashion feeling undervalued and tokenized. In 2017, she decided to break away and start her own brand, Kalani + Wolf.
The name is full of meaning for Joanis. Kalani means the "Royal One" in native Hawaiian and the wolf is represented as the feminine animal.Joanis explains, "The name symbolizes the power we pose as BIPOC and queer people to elevate our communities, take control of the narrative, advocate for diversity and inclusion, and champion human rights in our country."
However, Joanis finds that while there is support within her community, there aren’t many resources for women of color, queer and immigrant business owners like herself in South Florida. She says, “There isn’t a retail and gathering space that is safe for our community where we can have open conversations and empower each other.”
Particularly when it comes to access to capital, Joanis highlights the lack of traditional funding options for business owners like her. Small Business Majority’s own research shows that while 1 in 5 (19%) small business owners overall obtained less financing during the pandemic than they sought, this number is higher among AAPI (36%), Black (31%), and Latino (26%) small business owners. Joanis is among the swaths of business owners of color who were under-funded by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Joanis says, “I need the help. I need someone that believes in me and wants to support my vision and support my community.” Joanis has completely self-funded her business until now. After learning about the lending gap, she has decided to seek alternative funding options so she can expand her business into a retail space. She hopes to crowdfund the money she needs.
AAccording to a study by the National Association of Women Business Owners, 42 percent of businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, with more than 1,800 new businesses being started every day. However, according to the same study, women-owned businesses are growing at only half the rate of those run by men, namely because women struggle to access capital and other resources to help them succeed.At Comcast NBCUniversal, we are committed to supporting women business owners through a variety of initiatives. In late 2020, we launched Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” to provide underrepresented small business owners with access to the digital tools and funding they need not just to survive, but to thrive. The program also invests in ongoing mentorship and resources to help businesses succeed over the long-term. Earlier this year, we expanded eligibility to all women-owned businesses and the program is on track to support 13,000 businesses by the end of 2022.
Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day provide the perfect moment to shine a spotlight on women entrepreneurs who inspire us as they pursue their passions and bring their vision to life. We’re thrilled to share three stories of incredible women entrepreneurs who were recently selected as recipients of the Comcast RISE program:
Joanis Duran, Founder of Kalani + Wolf, As a Queer, Afro-Latina customer, and sustainable fashion entrepreneur in Miami, Joanis recognized that her communities lacked representation, accessible retail, and creative safe spaces. The result was Kalani + Wolf, a sustainable fashion brand that is locally handcrafted from vegan fabric. Through Comcast RISE, Joanis received complimentary creative production for a TV commercial
Kalani + Wolf: Sustainable Fashion with a Real-World Mission
Kalani + Wolf is a sustainable fashion brand with a mission to champion inclusivity throughout the industry.By noissue — 11 November, 2021
Sustainability is essential — there’s no doubt about that, especially in the world we’re living in today. But diversity and representation are equally important as we start building a better and more sustainable future. Allowing for more people of all backgrounds to be part of this movement should be a priority, and one of those spaces that we can start with is the fashion industry!As it stands today, there’s still an undeniable lack of diverse representation within the industry, especially for Queer, Afro-Latina individuals. And this problem extends beyond the fashion industry, too. Within the sustainability movement itself, mainstream attention and press is seldom focused on BIPOC entrepreneurs. Many BIPOC business owners are already leading powerful sustainable initiatives all on their own, within their own communities. Click here to read full editorial
Female bosses impacting the World
By Vanessa K. Oct. 21, 2021
When I began working on Greether, I knew three things: Women empowerment is fundamental to creating positive change, it is also key to reducing safety risks and increasing income opportunities for us. Other female entrepreneurs are my allies and not my enemies, their success doesn’t take away from mine, we are in this together. If someone isn’t going to open a door for me, I will keep on knocking, because being a woman, a woman of color nonetheless. This means I have a higher responsibility of showing my sister, nieces, and younger women; That it’s possible to follow your dreams, it is possible for you to create change, no matter what you look like, where you come from, or what your expertise is. As the founder of Greether; a travel and safety platform for women. I have learned so much by trusting my gut, following my vision, and being persistent. However, it is still a journey, one that I love to share amongst other hard-working and ambitious women.
Why did you start this business?
What I’ve experienced firsthand, as a Queer Afro-Latina customer and a sustainable fashion entrepreneur in Florida, is the lack of accessible retail and creative safe spaces for BIPOC, LGTBQ+ brands that mirror our community under one roof. We’ve spoken with designers, our community and it became concrete, we want and need representation in Florida. After seeing no one couldn’t offer, nor fulfill the void of our community, I decided to become that person.
How does your business create social impact?
Located in Sunny Miami, Kalani + Wolf is a Queer Afro-Latina-owned sustainable fashion brand. Our entire collection is locally handcrafted from high-end vegan dead-stock fabric.
Tell us one advice you have for women that want to start a business?
If your company's ethos doesn't reflect your personal life then you can't expect anyone to build trust nor invest in your business. People forget that a business is created and run by humans for humans. Employees, consumers, and clients are more powerful than any corporation, no longer accepting greenwashing and expecting businesses to act ethically.
Celebrate Pride Month with These LGBTQIA+Latinx Fashion Brands
By V. Alexandra de F. Szoenyi -June 22, 2021
Pride is here, and throughout the month of June, you’ll see LGBTQIA+ pride displayed everywhere, in the form of the rainbow, and its hues, empowering messages for the community(ies), and brands showing their love and support. In addition to brands that show solidarity as allies, many brands are created by, and for, LGBTQIA+ people. And several of those are from Latinx folks.
We want to help you celebrate Pride today, this month, and every day after that. And what better feeling than to rock an LGBTQIA+-brand T-shirt, phone case, or hat, knowing that it also came from someone who is Latinx, just like you? We found several brands that are not only LGBTQIA+ but also Latinx, and we are definitely here for that. Have a fabulous Pride Month, everybody! Click to read editorial
Latinx Entrepreneurs to Know and Support During Pride Month
HipLatina By Nicole Young June 17, 2021
Pride month is in full effect and there are many ways to support the LGBTQ community, not only this month but all year round. Not only are members of the LGBTQ community standing up for what they believe in by participating in marches and various organizations, but they are spreading their love and support for one another through their art, personal experiences, and entrepreneurship... Click to read editorial
A Conversation With Queer Afro-Latina Designer Joanis Duran
By Guisell Gomez -May 26, 2021
For the queer designer, Joanis Duran, fashion is a love affair she has nurtured for years; she was drawn to all of its permutations — from the way the pieces were created to the people behind the craft. But once she entered the world where fabric and texture are the reigning queens, she realized two key factors were missing: sustainability and authenticity. That is when her vision bloomed into the reality it is now.In a society where fast fashion is the norm, Duran knew she had to walk a different path (march to the beat of a different drummer, if you will) to create what she envisioned for herself and her community. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Florida, she was lucky to have parents who taught her to have high expectations from life, no matter what.
For the most part, Miami is known for its diverse palette of cultures and innovation, but it is also complicit in white-washing some industries — fashion being one of them. Early on, the South Florida designer understood the intrinsic importance of promoting workspaces that were ethical and conscious of the environment. Sadly, she wasn’t seeing those values when she entered the world of fashion. “I felt like I was letting my community down, I was letting my future generation down, and future generations of other communities down just by being part of that culture,” Duran told BELatina News. So, she realized that she didn’t fit in and decided to launch her brand in 2017, Kalani + Wolf.
COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Farmworkers Wages, Sustainable Fashion
Published March 8, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
Duran also stated that the pandemic has halted her business moving to an in-person store. Her business is sustainable, as opposed to fast fashion.“Fast fashion means more discarded goods, more stuff that ends up in landfills. There's more cheap fashion, cheap labor," said Asanyah Davidson, the chairperson at the Miami Fashion Institute in Miami Dade College. "Fast fashion has sort of become like the bone of contention within the industry. The fashion industry is the number two polluting industry in the world."
11 Black Latinx-Owned Vegan Businesses to Put on Your Radar
Published October 7, 2020 by Elena Waldman. Last Updated May 19, 2021.
Tired of the fashion industry’s relentless exploitation of animals and the environment, Joanis Duran created Kalani and Wolf, a vegan, sustainable accessory business. The company’s items are unique, using upcycled materials for the creation of handmade kimonos, turbans, headbands, crowns, and, more recently, fashionable face masks.
11 Compañías Veganas de Personas Negras Latinas que Debes Conocer
Published October 7, 2020 by Elena Waldman. Last Updated May 19, 2021.
Cansada de la constante explotación de los animales y del medio ambiente por la industria de la moda, Joanis Duran creó Kalani and Wolf, una compañía de accesorios vegana y sustentable. Los artículos de Kalani and Wolf son exclusivos, ya que usan materiales reciclados para hacer productos a mano como kimonos, turbantes, bandanas, coronas y, recientemente, tapabocas a la moda.
Miami Business Creates Masks Out Of Military Uniforms
By Meag Taylor May 22, 2020
Although its Memorial Day Weekend, one local Miami business has created merchandise to honor and help our nation's veterans. As a sister I of a U.S. Navy know just how complicated it can be for those who served and protected us to get the support they need.Thankfully, there are people like, Joanis Duran, the Founder and Creative Director at Kalani and Wolf. She is making face masks that are prewashed and handmade from 100% upcycle military uniforms. Not only are the masks beautiful, but proceeds go towards military care packages. Joanis plans to send more than 400 care packages to those who are currently serving and veterans. Kalani and Wolf have even received custom face mask orders from active members to add the branch emblem and soldiers' last name. The custom masks also work great for soldiers nurses who are on the frontlines helping patients heal from the COVID-19. You can check out the face masks here.
Published May, 25, 2020
NBC 6 IN THE MIX "MASK MADE FOR OUR MILITARY" Johanna spoke with one successful businesswoman who has gone beyond to honor those who serve. Click to Watch the interview
Published July 7, 2020
Miami News Times "Here Are Eight Locally Made Facemasks to Help Us All Stay Healthy" by Carolina Del Busto
The local design team behind the Kalani & Wolf brand has shifted from making dreamy kimonos out of sustainable materials to making facemasks from recycled military uniforms. Each cover is handmade in Miami, and a portion of the sales goes toward care packages for veterans. (You also have the option of gifting a mask to a veteran.) Mask options include the U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines. Kalani & Wolf also sell reusable Pellon filters that you can wash and reuse for up to 30 days. Masks are priced at $13 plus shipping and are available via kalaniandwolf.com.
Published August 12, 2020
"LOCAL FACE MASKS THAT SUPPORT GOOD CAUSES" Kalani & Wolf established a beautiful way to connect veterans and civilians during a pandemic. Each mask honors our soldiers and veterans by keeping their stories alive. The masks are made from upcycled uniforms for Army, Navy, Marines, JROTC and more. A portion of sales will go towards the purchase of Military Care Packages.
Published April 2020
Kalani and Wolf's designs are inspired by women and made by women. Our design process is simple "Quality over quantity." We seek to reduce our environmental footprint by using what's already created by using beautiful deadstock fabric. That means all of our designs are limited edition and one-of-a-kind when possible. Each garment takes approximately 2 weeks to create from scratch. All of our packagings are recyclable, bio-based biodegradable wrap paper, and if you love flowers our hangtags are plantable and after 20 days watch it bloom. All pieces are connected to an organization, which means a portion of your proceeds is donated to a non-profit organization around the world.