July is Disability Pride month and I want to shine a light and celebrate businesses owned by Disabled people.
Disability Pride Month celebrates and is inclusive of all kinds of disabilities but isn’t limited to: physical disability, cognitive disability, invisible illness/disability, neurodivergence, psychiatric disability, and undiagnosed disability.
As you may know I am Disabled - I have Crohn’s Disease, an ileostomy, EUPD and ADHD. All of these affect my daily life, each day is different as I have what is known as a dynamic Disability, this means my symptoms and abilities vary. Some days I can walk my dog, sew some orders and do housework, but other days I am lucky if I can make myself breakfast.
Running a small or independent business can be hard, but being Disabled can create extra barriers that non-Disabled people don’t face. That’s not to say we can’t run businesses - trust me when I say us Disabled business owners are innovative and adaptable.
I am constantly in awe of and inspired by so many artists and small business owners, and I’m so f*cking proud of my friends and what we achieve, and that’s why I want to shout from the roof tops about the businesses on this list.
If you’re looking for ethical, sustainable, well made and truly unique and beautiful lingerie and clothing - look no further. Fern is someone I am incredibly proud of and honoured to know. She’s an incredibly talented sewist who supports and celebrates others.
Veronica Velveteen is based in Bournemouth, UK and focuses on creating handmade garments and lingerie that can be worn in every season, using ethically produced and sourced fabrics. Fern offers custom sizing to fit all body types, and she is currently in the process of expanding her bra sizing (lingerie pattern grading takes a lot of skill and work). I can personally attest to how comfortable her pants are - I think I have like 14 pairs (and more on order). Her mystery boxes are brilliant value for truly beautifully crafted underwear that lasts ages. You can order either made to order, or keep an eye out for her ready to ship drops.
If you don’t follow Veronica Velveteen you may recognise Fern from the Channel 4 documentary Untold: Inside The Shein Machine! I actually discovered VV a few years ago after seeing an Instagram post about Shein stealing her designs.
I probably own about 15-20 pairs of Killrbangz earrings (the photo above is just some of collection). Killrbangz is the brainchild of Marie, a designer and creative based in Staffordshire, UK. With a background in fashion design, motorcycle apparel and advocacy for women, Marie has a wide range of creative and digital skills.
Under the alter ego Killrbangz, she designs and handcrafts pieces inspired by all things from vintage fashion to b movies, western style and biker babes to gothic architecture and desert landscapes. Think space cowgirls, tassels, daggers and flames!
With a love for the bad girl movie icon Marie likes her work to inspire confidence and empower. Marie also writes and illustrates pieces calling on her own experience of disability and chronic illness. If you wanna be banned from church, I recommend the Sinner and Damned Pentagram earrings.
If you’re looking for Queer and Trans positive clothing, pins, stickers and more, Weird Wednesday is where it’s at! WW is run by E & Cora, they’re Cardiff based and proudly queer & Disabled!
Their pins make great gifts and include cute small wooden heart pins in various flags, and pronouns, or Disability-centred button pins which they make themselves, and they’re open to custom orders.
I own a few of their tie dye T-shirts including my fave tee I own which features a skateboarding toad and the phrase “live laugh toad”.
All items are designed by E & Cora, and they tie dye and screen print many designs at their home. They aim to be as eco friendly as possible and use eco friendly alternatives where possicle. This includes packaging and clothing as well as wooden pins.
MOST clothing is made to order, and size inclusive (XS-5XL some of our items up to 6XL)
Do you ever think “Tiffany, your style is too bright, I wish you showed off more pastels?” well, let me introduce you to my pastel loving counter part Emily! Arizona based, with a love for vintage and upcycling, Emily is a fellow Crohn’s Disease babe who loves in a pastel dream home!
In her own words “Fever Dream Boutique was an outlet for the ideas that frequently come me in the midst of my insomnia. It became an escape from the daily realities of autoimmune diseases and mental illness while I was in college and struggling to find my place in the world. It continues to be a safe place for my creativity, allowing me to share my enthusiasm for upcycling unique materials and adorable fashion with you today.”
The powerhouse that is Rana the Artist is a freelance digital illustrator, who depicts the realities of being a Black, Disabled & Chronically & mentally ill person - the rough with the smooth. Her art is colourful and meaningful. She is a huge part of our worldwide, online community, you can work with her by hiring her for artwork and logo design, as well as by purchasing her art on products like clothing and homewares.
And if, like me you’re a Procreate newbie, she also offers a fun Procreate for Beginners course.
In the States medical care is expensive, and Rana is often looking for mutual aid for much needed medical supplies and aids, as well art supplies so she can continue to work. You can also support her by joining her Happy Mail patreon.
I feel truly blessed to know Linzi, she is such a delightful and kind hearted person, who just so happens to create the jazziest, most fun homewares and accessories.
The Pompomporium brings much needed fun and joy to everyone who comes across the store, whether it’s at in person markets or online,
Recently, Linzi has had multiple hospital admissions, much like myself, and I know first hand how challenging it can be to run a business whilst dealing with this.
My favourite product that Linzi makes is probably her funky beaded glasses chains, I own two and they’re just a fun way to make sure you don’t lose your specs.
Where to even begin with the incredible Unhidden Clothing, the hard work of Victoria Jenkins is a garment technologist with 14 years experience in the fashion industry who became Disabled in her 20s. Victoria has currently been a consultant and designer on Channel 4’s Unique Boutique
She founded Unhidden after a chance encounter with a woman with cancer that changed the course of her life. Victoria became aware that when people who are Disabled, needed access to their devices like stomas, PICC lines and chest ports, that every time it came round they would usually have to remove all their clothing, usually in front of a team of doctors, that it was not accessible. Usually pyjama tops and loungewear are our only options - but many of us want to dress nicer and find it very difficult to find clothing that would adapt.
In her own words “I remember watching her from the other side of the ward and thinking ‘there must be companies out there to help’ but Google returned few results. It was then, in that hospital, in front of that amazing lady that the idea of Unhidden was born.”
From different sleeve lengths to added hidden access in sleeving, to clothing that is suitable for seated Disability people, Unhidden aims to make getting dressed an easier and more pleasant experience than we are used to. Unhidden was featured on a runway in London Fashion Week 2023 and has been featured in Vogue - highlighting that Disabled people exist and we need to be seen.