Community over Competition
Placing community over competition is more than marketing to me, it's a strong aspiration that I try to fully embody. Yet, in the sink or swim dire straights of capitalism, I know this is a value that I'm still constantly working towards and recommitting to.
The vendors on this list are from predominately marginalized groups committed to making space for uplifting community. While moral perfection is impossible, as a whole, these are people who, to my knowledge, do their best to have an impact that is a net good.
Some vendors I have heard about through word of mouth and have not worked with directly. If you've worked with someone who you think should be added to the list, please feel free to reach out and tell me about your experience with them!
Makeup, hair, etc.
Liz Washer - Makeup Artist
Liz (she/her) is a queer woman based out of Holyoke, MA who is prompt, professional, and absolutely incredible. She'll have the best playlist of 80s pops playing as she makes you look absolutely fantastic.
Head Games Beauty - Natural Hair
The Pioneer Valley is incredibly segregated with very few places styling Black hair. Head Games Beauty not only sells products specifically tailored towards Black hair, but owner Erica (she/her) also makes house visits for a range of hair styles including protective styling.
Derek Cartagena - Makeup Artist
A queer Afro-Latino makeup artist and drag queer performer, Derek has experience with a range of skin tones. For 7 years, he worked as a licenced cosmetologist, doing hair cuts, color, styling, and a range of make up. From a boy beat to drag to traditional makeup, he can do it all. While he works full time in the nonprofit world, he still does a good amount of freelance work.
Mixed personal/professional Instagram
Florals and table settings
Bread and Roses Studio
Not only do they craft stunning florals, but they give their clients the option to donate their arrangements after their event to an organization within 25 miles. Bread and Roses will volunteer their time and transportation to make it happen, reducing waste while sharing floral arrangements with those that might not otherwise be able to experience fresh flowers.
The Borrowed Teacup
The Borrowed Teacup is an insured rental and event design company that has the most stunning table settings that I've ever seen with eclectic vintage place settings and fine China. It's jaw dropping and preserves stunning antiques with hand washed and hand selected care. It also helps that the owner, Megan, is a brilliant bad ass scientist who approaches everything with the precision only a bio chemist can.
With a fresh take on wedding papers, Ephemora has an easy ordering process and will create your custom piece from their shop in NYC. They have stunning stationary from Save the Dates to RSVP papers. They're genre-bending, semi-custom, limited edition stationery is dream, colorful, and playful.
Copy Editing, Grant Writing
Contemporary designs, illustration
Taylor (they/them) is an incredible queer graphic designer with a thorough background and deep deck of corporate clients. It may be hard to get on their calendar, but if you can, you will be guided by the sharpest eye for minimalism I've ever seen with modern, clean, contemporary designs.
Marina (she/her) is a queer, Chinese woman who is an incredible illustrator. Her works speaks for itself. While her drawings shine beautifully and were a huge benefit to Mount Holyoke College when we worked together, she has no shortage of skills with digital media and laying out contemporary print pieces.
Millie (she/her) is a graphic designer with an eye for text layouts and magazine spreads. She's a seasoned pro in the industry.
A Studios (who did my logo)
I had reached out to each of the aforementioned graphic designers for my logo work because I like to keep money in community whenever possible. Unfortunately, at the time of my rebranding, all were either traveling or had closed books. I ended up working with Alan Cheetham (he/him) of A Studios based out of Europe. He was polite, sharp, and professional. I'm absolutely in love with the final product.
Kelley (she/her) is an artist who focuses on illustration, surface pattern design and lettering. Her work is graphic and bold with maximalist tendencies. She often experiments with medium, color and pattern with inspirations drawn from fashion, travel, art, nature, interior design and basically all facets and expressions of creativity.
African American Graphic Designers
African American Graphic Designers are a collective of aa/blk visual communicators. As an agency, they create culturally relevant messages and support their designers as they become forces of change in the industry and community. aa/blk designers can join this network and non-Black people and organizations can hire from their directory of talented artists. They can match you with a team, individual, or provide you with a list of resources and directories.
Music videos, wedding videos
While I do video work on occasion, most of my services are presently focused on photography coverage or web/branding work.
Piper Preston of Phantom World Productions
Piper (she/her) is a trans woman who has a very distinct style entrenched in bright 90s psychedelic, guerrilla art in the DIY punk rock scene. While she has a story telling background rooted in video journalism, she works most doing music videos.
Love & Perry
Love & Perry is a wife and wife team who bring high end video coverage to weddings. Shana (she/her), who I've worked with most, has a sharp wit, bad ass presence. Brit (she/her) brings and absolutely unparalleled polish to video editing.
While I am a photographer, there's some styles that I'm still growing my skills in. Posed boudoir photography being key among them as it works heavily with posing and I pose with a lighter touch and rest heavily on candid coverage.
Mateo (he/him) is a fat, femme, POC trans man who has done amazing work to support leather, queer, fat, and POC communities. He's a brilliant poser and good at making models comfortable in front of the lens. In addition, he's a leather worker for Leather Coven. He also helps organize queer maker markets.
Other Orgs I Care About
Community builders, movers, and shakers
It's worth our time, effort, and investment to learn about and support other communities. It's our responsibility to make ourselves available in ways that supports community, not tokenizes it or further marginalizes it.
It's deeply valuable to find spaces that thrive for safety instead of arbitrarily labeling themselves as a "safe space" without taking the steps to actually make these spaces inclusive and safe through the constant process of unpacking our own biases, prompting others to do the same, self-policing to make sure that we honor this commitment, amplifying marginalized voices, and more. (read Ashley Yergins contributions on this article)
These are some of the organizations that I care about (with an extra focus placed on local organizations).
Music and Arts
Dwellings, New England Public Radio, ZEKE Magazine
Black Liberation Lab, Assets for Artists, Black Female Photographers
agarlic, Tech Foundry, Drupal TV, Nerd Summit, Data for Black Lives, Code2040
Represent US, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Asylum Support in Western Mass
They Keep Bees, Tapestry Health, Shannan Leelyn of Leelyn Law, E for All,