Hustle and BayBae.Co

Posted by Monica McCleary on

Like many people in the Bay Area, my partner and I are not originally from here. We’ve been here 5 and 10 years, respectively, and we’ve been lucky enough to find growth and opportunity here in our personal and professional lives. With that being said, we’re both queer women that don’t come from a tech background, and we feel the pressure of living in the most expensive region of the country right now like so many others.

We came here for different reasons, but I was particularly drawn to the LGBTQ culture and a want to be part of a community unlike anything I had ever experienced before. And I can say with absolute certainty that it was better than I could have ever imagined.

This last year has been difficult. Donald Trump was elected president, I joined a new company as the only female and LGBTQ team member, and we both had personal responsibilities that made the pressure of financial independence even more pressing. I knew having a job that could cover my living expenses was important, but it also felt more important now than ever before to have a voice and be willing to fight for space and visibility.

BayBae.Co was born out of an undeniable love for the Bay Area but also because as both women and LGBTQ individuals, we wanted to become business owners and have more control and autonomy in our lives. I have a background in the t-shirt printing industry and my partner is self-taught in graphic design, so it seemed like a natural starting point with low barriers to entry.

At first, it was difficult to add our voices to the already seemingly endless parade of blogs and designers and entrepreneurs that seem to saturate the world today, but taking ourselves out of the running before we’d ever even given ourselves a chance was the exact problem that many women and marginalized groups in today’s world already face. We feel that we shouldn’t take up space, that we should be grateful for what we have and that there are already so many voices in the blogosphere that it’s not really worth it.

But if you’re reading this post, you understand that we finally accepted that it is worth it. At least to us.

We started with a simple goal: A no-frills Shopify store that sells original designs we’ve created. So far we have three, and we hope to launch more based on the feedback from the community.

Visibility is more important now than ever before, and whether it’s the understated pink triangles in our “BayBae” design as a nod to fellow members of our LGBTQ community or the more visible “GayBae” design complete with rainbows in the lettering, we want people to feel comfortable standing out or fitting in. And most importantly, we want people to know that it’s okay to be who they are and love who they want.

We hope you can come on this journey with us, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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