Trans IRL - Christopher Rhodes - Open for Business
Hello. And thanks for joining us tonight I'm Thomas and I'm. Samantha and, this. Is trans IRL. We. Have a great show for you tonight so we're not gonna waste any time at the beginning we're gonna get right, into it tonight we're gonna be talking about life transition. And starting. And operating a, queer. Small, business, with our guest Chris Rhodes. Chris. Is a transgender, advocate. Social-media, influencer. And owner, of flaunt Street where a queer apparel brand he co-founded with, his twin sister which, is dedicated to giving back to the transgender, and queer community. Welcome to the show Chris. Hey. Anyways. Thanks so much for joining us here tonight. Thanks, so much for having me. So. Let's start, things off easy would, you like to just tell a little bit more about yourself, to, the audience here. Yeah. Sure. So. I am, a. 27. Year old trans guy originally, from San Antonio Texas. But. Now I live in Austin I'm. An identical, twin you'll, mention that I run, flaunt with my twin sister her, name is Courtney she's, a lesbian. And. Really. Helping. The LGBTQ. Community because. We're both. One. Of those letters in. LGBTQIA. But. So. Yeah, I, have flaunted. My day job and. I'm. Also, like a social-media influencer. Trying to break into doing that a little bit more full-time because, I have this large platform, so if. I could use some of that to make. A little bit of money here and, there and create content that I care about and that people who follow me care about that'd be really cool so I've, been sharing my journey online. Since. Like the. Days when tumblr was cool so. Since. The beginning of my transition I, started. My physical. Transition, in. 2000. And what. Year is it now 2019. 2015. So. I'm like four years on T I've had Top surgery and. That's. Where that's where I'm at I don't know if I hit all the things I. Think. You did yeah I mean and it's. Probably a good place to start is right where you kind of rounded.
Things Out with. Your transition, and your, coming-out process I mean what did that look, like for you. So. I. Originally. Came out as a, lesbian when, I was 18 a week, before my twin sister came out as a lesbian and. So. I was out as a lesbian throughout. College, and, then, around, age 19. I. Realized. That there was something more going on there with my gender identity and. So. I did a lot of like research on. YouTube. And, Google. And Tumblr, and blogs and, everywhere and things started to like add up and make a lot more sense. So. On. My 21st birthday, I. Accidentally. Came out to my mom while in Vegas, which I wouldn't recommend to anybody, don't. Do that I'm a birthday. In. A casino, bathroom. And. Then I, didn't. Start. Testosterone. For, about another year. And. That. Was while I lived in New York City so that was easier, I think for me to transition. And come out because, my mom was a little bit adverse to my transition, at first and now she's, come full circle but. It took a little while so it was um, nice. For. Me to be about two thousand miles away and be able to like feel. Like I was. Making. My choices for me and so just the people around me so. Yeah. That's. How, I came out and then. Did. I answer it. I know, the feeling like, when when. Someone asks me to be like coming out question I'm like oh my gosh where do I begin like this. Happen and this happened and these people. But. Yeah I totally feel where you're coming from I mean in terms of like there's. All the family, dynamics, and friends. And just. Processing, processing, processing, like you mentioned, like searching, on tumblr. And YouTube and. Everywhere. For all the information I mean when, did you I'm wondering when did you start, like. Your platform, like in Instagram, like for me I kind, of started. My. Instagram, page right around like they're slightly before I came out and I, kind of had that community, building. And growing around me the whole time that, I was kind of coming out to other people in my life was yourjourney, similar.
Or How, did you find your ways in the queer. Social. Media world. So. I've actually I've, touched on this a few times stuff like I kind, of went about things slightly like I wanted. To say, bizarrely. But I don't want to like say that it was like weird or anything because it's totally valid anyway you want to do something but I. Was. I had a bigger platform on tumblr before, Instagram. Kind of started. Becoming like the, like. It social. Media which it is now and. On tumblr I made a. Separate. Like profile, for, myself, as Chris like before I came out to anyone in my life so I kind, of developed this online community, that knew. Me as Chris and like I got to feel out how. Like. How that felt like identifying. That way and being, spoken. To as Chris and that. Sort of thing and so I. Think some people like once I had, an Instagram throughout, that but I wasn't nearly. What the platform though the platform that I have now is but a. Lot. Of people that followed me on Instagram were from tumblr, so I feel like, there. Wasn't a whole big coming-out. Process. That had to happen and I, feel like the majority of people that followed me were. Already like within the queer community because. I was out. As a lesbian on my twin sisters a lesbian, and like everyone in our community was like some sort of queer so. It. Wasn't, that hard to feel like I needed to. Seek. Out anything, particular, on Instagram or anything, it. Just kind of. Developed. Around me and then. My. Platform like really. Started. To grow a lot more, once. I had Top surgery and, I think a lot of that comes hand-in-hand with. People. Kind. Of enjoyed, that, the. Shock factor of, before-and-after photos. I. Think we've all seen a certain types of photos that like trend on Instagram, so I'm. Not, not. Thankful for like getting that, reach. And following from that sort of stuff but definitely after Top surgery people, like people. Are drawn to that the people that wouldn't necessarily be on your page to begin with so I, think definitely, like transformation. Tuesday's brought. A lot of people in. I'm. A fan of the transformation, Tuesday posts, I've, done a couple a couple just. A couple. I. Want, to talk a little bit more about about. Your sister though I think that's a really unique situation that you're in you have a identical, twin. I am, curious how, your, relationship, with your sister, how. You how, close you were with her growing up and how that relationship was affected, after. You came out as trans. So. Me, and Courtney are identical. And we. Shared. A room until we were. 19. So. All, the way growing up our first dorm room and our first apartment was the first time we had a separate, room, we. Were the same major in college played, the same sports. Scored. 10 points apart, on the SAT like, super, like. Super. Super identical, like some people when they say they're identical or not like. Actually. Like two attea for some reason being corny or like carbon, copies of one another. And so like when I got as a lesbian. It, like made so much sense. Then she came out. But. Then when I came out as, trans. She, actually had a pretty hard time with it at first because it was the first thing that we didn't agree about we. Always like. We're on the same page and, so there. Was a lot of confusion surrounding. That and then also she told, me like later on that. She sort of beat herself up about how could this. First thing that was her best friend and, like who. Had been in the same room as her her whole life and had like, we've been like attached at the hip how could she have not like. She beat herself up about like how did she not know that, like I was trans and I was like well I didn't know until I was like 19 so like how would you know but, so there was definitely some like learning her learning.
Curve There and at first she kind of was really adverse, but I think it maybe took her all of like 48 hours like she was like adamantly, like no, this isn't like the, right thing for you and then like very quickly turned around and most like Who. Am I to decide like, what's right for you I'm just here to be like your, person like I have been your. Whole life and then now she's like the world's biggest advocate, for. Men like all of my trans friends and obviously helps me like run this brand that like gives back to the trans community just, because like she's seen like firsthand. Like. What I've gone through and, like wants to help and give back and, she's. Just like a super super great person. And supporter of just. I feel like all of my trans friends and she was just really great she's actually like the person that came up with the idea for our bare skin binders like she's, not even the trans person in this partnership and she was the one that masterminded. That so. Yeah. Coming out it changed, our dynamic, a little bit and that like. Now when we meet people we, either get that we look exactly alike and people are confused, or people don't understand. How we're, twins. At all or related they don't see it at all but, then when we tell them that we're identical, we get they're like well you can't be identical, that's not possible, because. You're a boy and she's a girl and then that leads them to felt like well like it didn't really start out that way but. It's. Just changed things a little bit but like we still like, identify, as identical. Twins because that's. Genetically where we are and we're. Still like we still live together we run the business together we play in multiple. Sports leagues together we just have to play at the co-ed ones now I can't, play in the women's leagues obviously, so there's. Been like some hard parts of, my. Transition, with us being identical which I also think. Was. A huge reason why it, took me a while to figure out that I was trans because my identity, was so.
Engrained. And intertwined with another human being that if, I didn't see it like reflected, in her then, I I didn't really understand, it because for so long that was like everything, that I identified. With or liked or like. Aspired to like, Courtney and I were just always. Mirror, images of each other so I. Think it made things kind of convoluted but also it's. Just turned into this really great thing because I have this great support system and. I've. Had a ton of people come forward obviously. I share my transition, online and you'd, be so surprised the number of people that like DM me or message me or comment that are like oh my gosh I have a twin sister too and like I didn't realize there were so many like trans people. With like twin siblings, out there who didn't transition, so. Yeah. There's a lot more people out there in that same scenario and I think that that's. Part of why I kind of share it because I think that like I was in this like headspace, of like, we. Were so much alike and, I think that's like a twin thing but also like it's. Hard enough to figure yourself out if you're about like, someone. Else so, much like you and like your family always treats you as like a unit, and like people like you have all the same friends and all the same basically. Expectations. And then if. You want to like stray from that you kind of like question. Yourself doubly. So like am. I am. I doing the right thing it's like my person is not doing the exact same thing but it's. Been mostly good I think that I was very lucky to have this, like amazing. Sibling. And like lifelong, best friend that I've had. Yeah. I think it's a really unique perspective, not. Many people have someone, that close to them when they transition, especially. So when they grew up with that, closely I am curious what, it's like now to run. A business with your sister. There's. Really good days and there's really bad days I mean like me and my sister pretty much treat each other like I think that like some married couples treat each other like we know that like she's. Like. I mean we're, like around each other so often so, we're.
Like At once, like the most kind to one another and also like the hardest on each other because we just. Know what we're both capable of and like we're just even, though we're very alike. Courtney's. The dominant, one of the two of us like there's usually a dominant, twin in a more. Submissive. Twin and Courtney is definitely more dominant and like very like keeps me on a schedule, and like has a very like I don't. Know she's just very strict about things which is so funny cuz like I'm like really anal and neat but like I'm more of like a go with the flow and do things when you're creative, and like that drives her crazy, but, it's really really good that we complement. Each other in those ways that we are different so. Courtney. Right, now has a 9 to 5 as, a graphic designer that's, what we went to school for and. I have at one, time there's. Only been a period. Of time since flaunt was formed, of. About a year and a half that I had a day job but besides that flaunts been my full-time job and then Courtney. Has had. Jobs on and off in between men so she's a graphic designer here in town so since. She's at work like 9:00 to 5:00 most days she does a lot of this stuff that's like on the computer that she can do like between. Work and at work or like, when she gets home like. She does like our bookkeeping, our payroll. Places, orders for, shirts. And stuff and whereas I take on more of the like, physical, like labor of like printing shirts packaging, shipping that sort of stuff so, yeah. Running. A business with, my. Sisters. For. Me and Courtney I feel like it works because most of the time our goals are the same we want the same things, and. We're, usually on the same page and it's something we're both really proud of and care about and, so. Far I mean sometimes you want to give up because you're a small business, but luckily. Like it's easier when you're running it with someone I think if I ran it by myself there, would be times where I wouldn't, be, able to like push. Through when it's difficult but. I think, having a partner, when you're running a small business is like really important, because like as long as you're both not wanting to quit at the same time then you're probably running. The business. Yeah. So. Let's dig into fly, a little more than what. Was your inspiration and. Motivation, when, you first started. A company, when you first sort, of jumped. In. So. Flaunt. Was actually, born, at Austin, pride in, 2013. I made myself a, shirt with a stencil and spray-paint that. Said pretty boy and I went to pride and I, had like dozens and dozens and, dozens of people coming up to me asking me where the shirt was from and this. Was pre-transition. Me that lived in a very androgynous, like, wasn't, really embracing, lesbian, as an, identity but wasn't quite through, the trans threshold, over, here so I was very much identifying, as like pretty, boy was like my thing and. Then I realized, that oh like all these other people identify, with this term or this like, identity or just even just the shirt like maybe it's not that deep but, it was like lesbians, and transgendered and. Straight, guys and, everyone, me. And Courtney kind of just like looked at each other and we're like oh like should we like make t-shirts we like learn to screenprint when we were in college we made shirts before the Obama Romney, election.
To Try to gauge how. The. Votes were gonna go like we made shirts for like our rugby teams and Harry Potter premieres, and like stuff. Like that super, nerdy but so. We knew how to make shirts and we were like oh well maybe this could be a practical, way to, like. Apply our graphic design like, skills in a way that like our friends would like to buy these like, I, don't know that we thought like, people. All across like the world would end up buying them but so, the. Pretty boy shirt was the initial idea and, then. About. Four, months later five, hundred dollars and one, order to a local. Screen printing shop got us our first run of shirts mostly. Our friends bought them at first but, we. Were lucky to be in a time of Instagram. And other social media, so. Just, certain, pictures, got a little bit of like. Momentum. Online, that's free advertising, and, people. Started to like what we were doing and, by the time that, flat was like six months old we decided, that we wanted it to mean something more than just. Cool. T-shirts, even if it was shirts that I. Mean. They were cool there was more than cool t-shirts cuz they were made by queer people for queer people and, like had these, well. At the time just a pretty boy shirt but like something that queer people could maybe identify with and see people that look like them modeling it but we. Wanted to create something that somehow gave back so we're in this like day and age of Millennials, really liking, to buy things that are for a cause and we. Know how well things like TOMS shoes do, by giving back and we. Had, seen a few people you know like Aiden Dowling had done like. Selling. Shirts for like his own Top surgery and then started, doing like a scholarship, fund for people. Fundraising, for surgeries. And so we. Wanted to do something similar to that but not the, same so we decided to. Partner. With just, individuals, and we thought that this was kind of important, because a. Lot of trans people when, they're transitioning, don't. Necessarily, have the support, of maybe their family or even the community so the idea of all of our customers being able to get behind one campaign, at a time and like lift up this one individual, felt like. It could be really essential to certain trans people and. So. Yeah. Our fundraisers, are open to any, person. Who's seeking gender, affirming, surgery, as. Long as they're over the age of 18 just because as of right now we don't want to have to deal with minors, and parents, it's just very complicated, legally. And. We're. On our twelfth partnership, we've. Partnered. With ten. Trans masculine, people, one of which identified. As non-binary, but, all on the trans masculine spectrum, and then two trans feminine people, and. We've. Done, nine. Top surgeries, one phalloplasty, and. One. Breast augmentation, and this is our second dress documentation, that we're fundraising, for in. The. Last five years I think we're at like 20. To $1,000. For those partnerships. So that's. That was a pretty long run down a lot. But I, think. That's a really incredible thing that you're doing, it's, you, know part of your corporate, culture your business culture there and, supporting the queer community and I think that's so important, that for a company, that you, know associates, very closely with the queer community that, you're you know paying. Back to it or supporting, it it's, not something we see everywhere and I. Think it's very commendable and something.
That You know I keep in mind when, I work. With other businesses, I think that's a really great thing I think, it's amazing what you're doing, no. Thank you. It. Is amazing, so, Chris. You mentioned that Courtney, actually, came up with the design for your bare skin binder. You. Want to talk a little bit more about, that. Design and what, kind. Of inspired, you both. To walk down that road with. The bare skin binder and, begin that journey. Mm-hmm. So we. Live in Texas and we used to go to the lake like, my, parents had a lake house for most. Of my life, and, we, would spend weekends just out on the lake swimming, in, corny, just I guess. Picked up on before even I really picked up on that like me, and my other like, trans. Friends, slash just even just, some of our like masculine. Of Center more, masculine presenting, androgynous. Friends like don't. Have. Anything. To wear, sometimes. If especially if you're a chest binding, person, in the, summertime and, I. Was. Like small chested so I would. Wear maybe like a sports bra or like KT, Tape or whatever but Courtney, just looked at me like one summer when I was wearing like a black Nike sports bra shoe and she knew that I like wore a binder day-to-day and she said to me which at the time this was like, 2014. I guess, or. 2028. 15, maybe I have to remember what year we did our Kickstarter, but I think, it was 2015. But, she looked at me and said why aren't binders, made in skin tones and I, was like why. Aren't binders, made in skin tones like there. Was like one company, out at the time under, works, which made one skin tone which we all know like the dilemma of like you know band-aids, are only made in white people's skin tone and like there, was just like this like one peach colored, underworks. Binder that, like wasn't there. Was no range of binders that like fit multiple. People and multiple identities. And multiple skin colors and I was. Like wow like that's, a hole in the market and like she was looking at it as like oh you could like look shirtless from afar and I had looked back at her like well, binders are supposed to be subtle anyway, so if it was skin tone and blended in with you more you could wear it under more clothing or like it wouldn't be as noticeable if, like you. Could see the strap of it slightly or like you're, wearing a light thin, shirt so we, kind of both. Met in the middle and this her idea of her is that we should make this skin tone, binder. But then she. Asked. Me because she didn't wear binders, like well if we're gonna change something like what else do you want to change about the binders you're currently wearing so for, me I live in Texas and it's hot here nine. Months of the year so I was, like I want thinner straps, so I can wear tank tops and I want a slightly no a slightly. Lower neckline, so that like. I can maybe wear my, top button unbuttoned, on a shirt and not see this crewneck like coming way up high near my collar bones or whatever and that and then we both were like well we've, been athletes our whole life why wouldn't you put a racerback on something to make it more comfortable, for a range of motion and people are out there wearing these binders, doing activities, they shouldn't anyway but, make it more comfortable for them like if you're lifting things. At work or if you're just an active person or walking around so we just put together all these things we thought we should change about. Binders. We. Went to my mom who. Very. Dumbly, at one point in our lives. Told. Us she could sew so we made her make us some prototypes. And. So. She made us the first prototypes, that we that, I then wore at the lake to see if it worked my friend Caleb wore a different way because. We have slightly different body, types just to see how it would work. We sent like a prototype, to one of my other trans friends who was a larger chested so that we could see if it worked on a different chest and, then we were like oh this is cool, maybe, we should find a way to raise money to make, this, a reality because, it costs a lot of money to manufacture, something. So. We decided to do a Kickstarter, which. Was the most stressful 30 days of my life and I would never recommend Kickstarter. Or any crowdfunding, to anyone unless you just are. Ready to be panicked, for 30 days. But. It ended up being great because we raised the money for our, first round of production, we raised our goal was $25,000. We ended up raising about, $26,000. Which. Allowed us to produce our first range of binders which was from size. Extra. Small to extra. Large in. Four. Colors which. Now we have extra extra small to extra extra, large in five colors. Yeah. But so Courtney. Came up with the ideas saw a hole in the market i. Piggybacked. Off that idea wanted, to change some things while we were already in there redesigning. Made. Some prototypes, made a Kickstarter, campaign. Somehow. Sold. The idea to 700, people that helped back it and make it a reality and.
Now. We've had them on the market for, I. Think. Almost 3 years now we're in between manufacturers. Because we just weren't giving, the volume that we needed from our current manufacturer. And we. Were having a few issues with stitches, popping and just. Production the cost was a little bit high so right now we're trying to fix some of that and get them back on the shelves because they've just been unavailable. Since about I think last August. But. When they've been in stock they usually sell, out within the first like 48 hours they're like really and high demand and I'd. Say that. At. Least 90% of our feedback on them has been pretty, positive which i think is, good. Anytime, you're creating something especially, an undergarment I mean it's. Hard to make something that everybody likes but it's been almost. Multiple. Mostly, positive so, we're, really proud of it I mean I feel, like it's it was a really cool product at the time that we did the Kickstarter. Other. Brands didn't have like tell. It like I said multiple. Color options. And. In the time it took us to finally get them out on the market another binder company did will out some but. That's the nature of. Making. A product so. But. I mean, so. Far so good it's really, I mean I'm very much, a designer, creative, person, the backend part of business is like all learned through trial and error so. If. Anyone, runs a small business and has it all together I envy them because we're just, oh. Man. That actually, perfectly. Segues, into my next question which is, what. Are some things you wish you would have known, when. You first started, off thought, thinking. Back and, on. Your you, know day to day adventures. Or misadventures. But, what sort of things do you wish you but I. Have. Some really dumb ones like. First. Of all for like the first two years we just, I just guessed, how much our packages, weighed do you know how much money we wasted on postage, because, I was like I think this is a pound get. A postal, scale weigh, them actually, because it is just not that hard I don't know why it took us so long to do that also, get, a label printer, we just got one in the last year it makes life so much easier. Slowly. Things like that when. I lived in New York I used to walk among I almost office, Google. If there's postal. Like stores, nearby, likes USPS. But like just where you can drop off, post. Office packages or, UPS or FedEx there happened to be one two blocks from my house in Brooklyn that I found out after, months of walking a mile things. Like that there's like easy business things that you can figure out I. Mean. We were kind of silly about like, our first two partnerships, we gave 15%. Of, our. Entire. Sale. And I mean like it is of our sales but it wasn't of just. The profit, so. That's. Just not a smart thing as a business because you're not you're, not making like we weren't deducting.
What It cost us for the shirts so. That, was something we learned. Always. Have a contract. Always. Even. If it's I mean I think as, a business, owner I should probably tell you to actually get a lawyer to do it but, as long as you something. Written down with both people agreeing to it like then, you can cite back to that just because we didn't have any, sort, of agreement for our first few partnerships, and luckily, like all but like one of them went spectacularly but. Had they gotten poorly, you. Know you need people. All on the same page I mean even. When I just like, do. A sponsored, post on Instagram, I signed something so just make sure you're being legit, um, oh. I. Don't know I mean those. All those are all probably like really self-explanatory business. Things that like these two art students, were like huh like, we'll just make DJ. But. Yeah. Any advice in there I think that's all in case, you've touched on and things you learn along the way right, yeah. There's no I mean, sometimes, that's the best way to learn as long as you're not losing too much money. Flan. Is now in its fifth year right this is this is your fifth year you're founded in 2014 originally. I am curious you know what your your next five years looks like what sure plans for the company as it continues to grow. Well. Eventually, one day we would love to have a store fret I mean that would be the dream we. Would, love for it to be in Austin Austin as this kind of queer little mecca and the South that. Happens to be pretty liberal I mean it's still in Texas there's, still lots of crap going on here but. It's. A pretty great place I feel like the LGBT, community here is pretty thriving, and there's a lot of good, things happening so we think this would be an awesome spot, to have eventually, some sort of brick and mortar storefront. Me. And Courtney's actual like a little bit of a dream as to like have a multi-purpose, sort. Of storefront, where like maybe the friend is like a coffee shop, be like you, know a space, where like where people come hang out and it, could be like not, just a bar cuz we know that there's not a lot of queer spaces that aren't centered around alcohol so if it was maybe like up front a coffee shop and in the back was like our, storefront and then could be like a cool space for like small events, and like display. Are done by queer, and trans artists and like just be like something, that could feel a little bit like home to queer people, but. Like that would definitely be like the coolest thing in the whole world. Besides, that I mean probably sooner, than that we, would love to get a space that wasn't justice like right. Now we print in like this studio behind our house which like we're lucky enough to have found this house on the east side of Austin that has, what. Isn't really a detached, garage I, don't know what it could be used for besides, like. Storage, my. Dad's an electrician, so he rigged the electricity, to work out there so now we have an AC unit and that's, where I print, but. Eventually. We'd like a space bigger than that so we could get a multicolor, press so we could do more intricate designs right now we're pretty limited, as like. You know one color ink on a shirt anything, that's multicolor, we have to dropship and that's just like, limits. I'm. Not a prophet you can make on those items and also we like to be really hands-on it's fun. Eventually. Maybe one day someone who wasn't me would grant, this, stuff, but. I mean I really enjoy actually, printing shirts but. We'd love to be able to like pay. Some interns to want to learn how to run that clothing liner whatever. As, a as. A person who's done, creative. Internships. For free, in. Places, like Brooklyn which, is really expensive to live I would love to not, do unpaid internships, so but, we would love to be able to employ other people or just be able to have people come in and work. With us and learn. From us so. Yeah. I just want pelant to grow we want obviously keep expanding the binders, right now I think we're tackling, some of the issues with manufacturing, that we had before but.
Once We get that nailed down hopefully, get. Manufacturing. Running smoothly we want to keep, expanding sizes. At, minimum. Get up to a 3x, and. Then we. Can always add more, in between so we can be more inclusive so, things like that. Yeah. One. Day maybe have. Stuff. Besides just, t-shirts I mean there's all sorts of like I mean I rep. Fraction area which is a brand for like shorter guys but, like what about like shorter guys with wider hips I know there's certain brands, that like you know make button maps or make like nicer clothes that aren't just tees like for like. Different body types but it'd be pretty cool to one day like have. Our own like label of clothes like I mean we our own brand, but like actually. From. Scratch. Have a say in how the sizing goes on on just a basic t-shirt or maybe like. Shorts. And boxers or maybe, button-ups one day who knows I mean it'd be really cool to just keep catering, to this community, that I think, gets overlooked, a lot when it comes to clothing. Yeah. I think that's amazing, I love all those things I'm like yes do. Them all and, I will come and like clothe myself and. It'll be amazing. We. Do have some more questions from. The viewers tonight, that we do when I get to and I just want to say that. If you're watching live on YouTube, or Facebook and have a question for Chris, Samantha. Or myself put it in the chat and we'll try to answer as many as we can but. First we have a few questions that, were submitted earlier this week through Instagram, the, first one is what. Are the biggest challenges, you face as an lgbtq+. Business. Okay. So. I have to find out I kind of the right way to word, this one so like bear, with me a little bit if it's a bit rough but so. I, have. Found that something that's really difficult being. An LGBTQ. Business owner is that the. People buying from us are also within the LGBTQ, community so, a lot of those people are often disenfranchised. More, often experiencing. Homelessness. Or. Like having a harder time getting jobs, usually. Like we. We, know that a lot of queer, people like, just. By. Default. Don't. Maybe have as much money or because they're transitioning have to put their money towards different things and different priorities, if, they don't have the support of their family that also can lead to like less. Money in their pockets to be able to support businesses, so, because, of that the people we tend. To sell to a. Lot of times kind of will. Question, how much. Question. Maybe the pricing of things. Have. Be adverse to spending, money on things, people. People, live in this culture that's used to. Amazon. Where you can buy anything for two dollars and get free shipping, everything, we make is made in the States it's all ethically sourced it's all printed by hand so the, cost of those sort of products is gonna be more 15 percent of those sales goes towards helping someone so the cost is gonna be slightly more than buying a shirt from, somewhere that mass-produces, and has the capabilities, like an Old Navy or an American Eagle which. Actually, our t-shirts, are probably cheaper than like an American Eagle but getting. People to understand, what goes into making. A shirt and then being. Willing to spend. The money on that and. Also, understand. That queer. People should be allowed to make, money. We. Run a business, me, and my sister are both obviously in the queer community and, people. Should not be I, think, made. To feel bad for trying to be successful, and running a business and, profiting. Like at the end of the day we all want to have a roof over our heads and, obviously. Like I want, to give back and do good and I want my. Ways. Of making a living to mean more than just making, money but also I mean I do want to be able to like feed myself and do the things that I want to do so I, think. Supporting. Queer people that own businesses, is. Important, it's kind of hard when, you're in that this, group that can. Be a little bit critical of spending, money and. Not. Realizing that you. Are, doing, other queer people a disservice by, not expecting. That they should be able to thrive, and succeed even. If it is through, some sort of consumerism. Hopefully. It's an educated. Good. Consumerism. That is, I. Don't know helping. People. But. I think that, the work that you're doing with your partnership program shows, your commitment to the community I think. That's important. So. I do have another question here, this, is short and sweet but. Are. You hiring. Question. Right. Now or not but like I said that's something that's like on our, on. The horizon, we would love to be able to especially, if people are local. We'd love to be able to get a helping hand now and again printing, and packaging and.
Then Also I mean eventually right, now. We're. Not hiring but we do have people that are able to come on as ambassadors, and reps and we've, been divvying, out I mean we. Have a sort of a program where like certain people can, be. Like a ref lead so you can kind of like help be in charge and making sure people are like posting and you can have some sort of responsibility, we have we. Did bring on our friend drew who does some of our customer service emails which, was. Helpful when, Courtney went back full-time, to work so we. Have expanded our team from just me and Courtney to, Drew. Helps with customer service emails the, girlfriends, get roped into helping package. Unpaid. But paid, with love and but. Yes hopefully, eventually we, will be able to hire people well we do get that question kind of kind. Of often I don't have enough to be able to like say. Yes but. I want to be able to pay people fairly. So one, day. Yes. One, day yeah, so, we have one. More viewer, question that's already been submitted and I'm thinking, we maybe should have asked this to Courtney, given what you've told us but any tips, for managing. Your time and, priorities. Yeah. Courtney's gonna be like why did yes. I. Mean. I, make. Lists, but I also make lists to ignore my list it's just a bad things but I. Think, that if. You can narrow it down the things that. Are important, to you too that make you happy and three are gonna help you get where you want to go figure. Out which things in your day you. Want to put the most time towards, and. There's. Time in your day for most things if you, set your mind to it so you just gotta carve that time out, it, can be hard I mean there was times when I was working at nine-to-five I would come home and I would print from 7 to 10 I would package from 10:00 until 1:00, I'd, go to sleep and I'd do it all over again and. Part. That's part of why I left my job and I make a lot less money because I don't have a nine-to-five salary, but I was. Getting to a point where I was burnt out on everything and I would rather be able to put my time into something and not feel like I was resenting, the stuff that I'm passionate about so, for. Me it was finding a balance of. Doing. What makes me happy but not doing, things to an extent that I was burning myself out and. Trying. To implement good habits trying to get up earlier I'm not a morning person, trying. To find the time that I can, do certain things I mean, social. Media like my girlfriend happens to be in social media so like it's easy for us to sit down and create content together or like edit photos together, but. When I have to sit down and do, packaging. Or whatever I try to make sure that that's on a day that can't be spent on a like, else ways elsewhere. Like. Better. But, I guess, mostly I just figure, out which things are most important, then make the time for them and. Just make. It a routine if. You do something enough it'll become pretty natural. Build. A habit out of it and. Maybe get a business partner that will make you do it that's. Good for. I. Need. To. Alright, so we are also taking questions live in our YouTube and Facebook live streams here and we do have one question that came in from the chat so far and the, question is when it comes to business, partnerships, have, you ever run into a situation where, you were treated poorly being.
Because You are representing, an LGBTQ. Company. Um. I, mean. Acai it's like I don't, think that this really would count like besides, like. Internet. Control here and there no, not really because we, pretty. Much operate, within and, care to like. The audience that we're, always dealing with so. We're kind of like lucky in that sense I mean we don't tend to like go vend, at an event that's like also like. Doubling, as like a trump rally or, like we, just start really in those spaces I. I. Can't, even really think of a time that we've had any sort of like. Negative. Reaction because we are a queer. Brand. Know. Which is really lucky I mean besides on the internet but like you'll find anybody on the Internet that wants to get on something, but. So far no we haven't done I mean everything's. Been like out of our own pockets I'm not really seeking and. Besides Kickstarter, also but, we haven't really done any like seeking. Investors. Or, that sort of thing so I, mean I think if we were more out, there and more business dealings that could be. A topic of, like. Contention but for. Us we really haven't been and that was like very like. Professional. Corporate arenas, or somewhere that I feel like we would get that sort of negative, feedback luckily. That's. Good so far no yeah. So. That is the extent. Of our questions here tonight, so. What is this debate thank you so much for giving, up so we are evening to talk a little bit about your business I think. That you're doing out there and, wish. Jesus. Thank. You so much for having me that's really fun, yeah. Thanks so much and I'm actually gonna ask you to hold on tight for just a moment because I, do want to get a second here to talk about next week's show next. Week our guests will be re. Dennis, and Ari, is a parent, of two who, identifies, as gone binary, and, has gotten a lot of attention for how they're raising their youngest child Sparrow. That's. Right, Ari is raising Sparrow using Bay them pronouns, the, idea is that doing, so will allow them to explore their, under identity, without pressure, or bias and then when they're ready they'll, articulate, their gender I. Think. It's gonna be a great interview so, we hope that you join us back here next Thursday same, time same place, 7:30 p.m. Pacific, 10:30 p.m. Eastern right here, on YouTube, and Facebook and. Before, we go if you haven't already please don't, forget to subscribe to, our YouTube channel trans. IRL, all, of our past episodes are, available there, were also on Facebook, as trans IRL, show and Instagram, at trans.
IRL, Where, we just, passed 3000, followers this week so thank you so much be. Sure to like us and follow us on all those bits. Alright, I'd like to thank Chris again for joining us here on the show tonight this is a really enlightening conversation about, what it's like to run a small business and. Again I'm just so thrilled with what you've done with the community and the support that you've provided back to your people. You're working your partnerships with. No. Thank you, thanks a lot yes, it, was so fun thank you so much for joining us Chris it was a true. Pleasure to chat with you tonight. All. Right thanks y'all ah thanks, Thomas, thanks Chris and thanks Addison for running our show until, next week this, has been trans I rel have a great night everyone bye.