I sat down with the MYKITCO founders to talk all things pride

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As June dawns, communities around the world come alive with vibrant colours, powerful stories, and a shared commitment to equality and acceptance. Pride Month is a time dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, not only to commemorate the historic struggles for rights and recognition but also to embrace the joy of living openly and authentically. It is a month where love knows no bounds, diversity is celebrated, and the echoes of past victories inspire a brighter, more inclusive future. This pride month I sat down with MYKITCO founders James Molloy and Alex Thompson to talk all things LQBTQIA+, allyship and what pride means to them…

Hi guys, great to catch up this pride month! James, could you start by telling me a little bit about yourself? 

 
J:   I grew up in the North East of England in a small market town, it’s a beautiful part of the country but there’s not much happening in the world of beauty and fashion which was my obsession as a kid and I always felt different. While the boys were playing football I’d be making clothes, sketching and painting models. I moved to Manchester in 2001, the city was so different to where I grew up, it’s always been a diverse city with a huge queer scene and I felt like I’d come home. I quickly found a place at MAC which opened my eyes to so much not only beauty and fashion but references and storytelling in a space with likeminded people.

Do you feel you have faced challenges as gay men in business? 

J:  For the most part Alex and I have had a positive journey as queer business owners, I think it has a lot to do with being in the beauty industry which I find has always been accepting especially with my background at MAC, one of the biggest supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community. There have been occasions overseas when we’ve been on buying trips where we have felt awkward or not taken as seriously in certain situations but that just makes us both double down and speak louder until we get what we want.

Are there any stereotypes or assumptions you’d both like to challenge? 

J:   It’s hard not to feel like a stereotype ourselves at times, 2 gay men being successful in the beauty industry! On the surface it may not feel revolutionary but the absolute dedication, working hours, stress and sleepless nights that go into MYKITCO are 100% real so if anything I’d like to break that stereotype. Alex and I are work horses, we graft and we match each other's energy and we are goal driven. Nothing in this world is handed to you and we give 100% to our brand.
A: ‘You can get married now’ somehow equates to the notion equality has been achieved and we should be grateful. Of course I’m happy and encouraged everytime equal rights and human rights are recognised, but there’s still a long way to go to truly accomplish this, which is why visibility is as important now as it ever has been.

What does pride mean to you both?

A: I’ve always felt pride is very personal and often subjective. Whilst I may not always be proud of myself or my own achievements, I am always proud of those in my life; my supportive, accepting and inspirational husband, family, friends and colleagues. 
J:  It means living unapologetically, not hiding yourself or feeling the need to change your mannerisms, beliefs or personality to conform.

How do you celebrate pride? 

J: We like to come together not just as a brand but as a group of individuals with the same beliefs, this year we will be marching in the Manchester pride parade handing out our Love is Love Puffs then heading to the village to celebrate. 
A: I celebrate pride pretty much every day by being myself.

Alex, what is your favourite part about being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community? 

A: The journey of coming out and self exploration - especially when everything is often different for you than those around you - can often be a lonely and scary experience. Whilst no two people or their journey’s are the same, for me at least, the LGBTQIA+ community will always share an underlying sense of mutual understanding, appreciation and empathy for one another’s experiences from growing up ‘different’. It’s something minority groups will always have in common and I think this helps to bridge the gap between other communities, helping to build an open, safer and ultimately better society. 

Who are you LGBTQIA+ inspirations? 

J: As an 80’s kid I grew up with incredible groundbreaking artists like Boy George and Madonna who lived so unapologetically and were true sources of inspiration to me growing up. I really admire Gaga, her approach to not only the industry but her brand Haus Labs, you can tell it’s her passion and not just another celebrity brand. 

If you could have any LGBTQIA+ celebrity as your best friend, who would it be and why?

A: I might be breaking the rules as she’d be considered more of an ally, but I think Lady Gaga would be a lot of fun to have in your life!
 
Alex and James with Lady Gaga in Las Vegas 

In your opinion, what makes a good ally? 

J: For me being a queer ally as a business owner means actively supporting and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. We foster an inclusive and welcoming work environment at MYKITCO ensuring equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

A: I’ve always believed that allies come in all forms, whether it’s somebody who’s taken time to educate themselves to better understand the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, somebody who speaks up against injustices and challenges homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, or somebody who simply listens without judgement. 

Is there any advice you’d like to give to allies this pride month? 

A: Educate more, listen harder, speak louder. 

Is there any advice you’d like to give to the LGBTQ+ community this pride month?

A: Something my dad’s always said over the years that I think has become more and more pertinent - if you want to be anyone in this world, be yourself. 
J: Don’t be afraid to share the love, this is our month as queer people and allies to celebrate our community. 

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with me, happy pride! 

At MYKITCO, we celebrate diversity and inclusion every day, and Pride Month holds a special place in our hearts. We believe in the power of authenticity, creativity, and the beauty that comes from being true to oneself. We are committed to making a difference within the LGBTQIA+ community so we are very happy to be supporting Manchester Pride Charity! Throughout June we will be donating £3 to the Manchester Pride Charity for every BUDDY sold. We are also sharing the love with our limited edition MY LOVE IS LOVE PUFF, free with every order this pride month! 
See you next time! 
Mairi X

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