Ashish Chopra, a 27-year-old entrepreneur and a drag queen, was looking for heels one day for himself but couldn't find any of his sizes. His mother, who was already working at a footwear brand, was unhappy with her job.
An idea sparked, and Ashish asked his mother why doesn't she start designing heels for men.
Supporting LGBTQ Entrepreneurs
With this, they started BeUnic in 2019. It is a community-oriented e-commerce platform that enables LGBTQ artists and designers to offer their products and services. It also works with some of India's best NGOs, support groups and queer folks to provide any kind of help the community might need in the country. From entrepreneurship to mental health support, community events to legal advice, queer literature to mentorship, BeUnic has something for everyone.
"We help these entrepreneurs by listing their products on our website for free and promoting them to people worldwide. They get orders from countries like Croatia, Norway, the UK, the US, Canada etc. We also offer them small loans if they wish to come up with a new collection and do not have the resources for it," Ashish Chopra, co-owner of BeUnic, told The Logical Indian.
"We also help in getting them B2B sales and corporate orders, setting up pop-up stores with them at various venues, and running paid ads on their behalf," he added.
BeUnic's collection includes a wide variety of footwear, clothing, home decor, stationery and self-care items. Over 700 products are listed on the platform, made by more than 27 LGBTQ entrepreneurs and designers from India.
Misconceptions About Platform
However, Ashish believes that people still have certain misconceptions about the platform. "They feel that this brand is only for the LGBTQ community. The products are made by queer people but are for everyone," he shared.
Also, he said, people prefer buying rainbow t-shirts from renowned brands as they have more prominent names with more marketing budgets.
"These are brands that barely do anything for the LGBTQ community, whereas we prefer to hire such people, donate a part of our sales to NGOs working on queer issues, and are trying to create awareness through our events as well," he added.
Talking about the plans, the young entrepreneur said that BeUnic plans to get into a lot more events to start conversations about problems faced by the LGBTQ+ community in India, get more entrepreneurs and designers on board, partner with NGOs to support them and also (hopefully) raise investment to be able to hire more folks and scale faster.
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