Arlo West and Rosie Symes want to make life easier and more fun for LGBT people through their business Splodge.
Splodge emerged when West, who identifies as non-binary, was undergoing top surgery and the two needed funds to cover the expensive surgery. Now, West and Symes continue their business for the sole purpose of giving back to the community.
The pair sell queer-focused apparel, tote bags, pins, and stickers.
West and Symes offer more minimalist queer apparel, such as t-shirts with pride flags disguised as Pantone paint swatches.
Symes, who identifies as queer, says that her favorite product in the store is the “Everything Will Be Okay” tote bag.
“It’s very cute and makes me happy. When I walk past people, I hope it makes other people feel happy too. I also really like the stickers we do, they bring me joy — it’s the little things in life,” she said.
West shared that a product that is meaningful and important to them is any product in the Dug X GoFundMe collection.
“Arlo's brother's puppy, Dug, needs chemo to suppress his immune system. He was diagnosed with meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown cause/origin [aka MUO],” according to the Splodge website.
All profits made from the Dug X GoFundMe collection will go toward the dog’s treatment.
Other than raising money for West’s brother’s dog, West and Symes want to use their business to make LGBT people feel seen.
“Our main goal was just to make queer and LGBT+ feel seen and represented in clothing [and not just by big brands putting rainbows on t-shirts to capitalize on the pink pound,]” the two shared.
West’s design experience came in handy for Splodge’s apparel and other products as it gave them a good eye for attractive products as well as creating something that the LGBT community would wear.
“The pronoun badges and tees are more specifically to normalize the use of telling people your pronouns, and making life easier for trans and non-binary people. It can be exhausting constantly having to tell people your pronouns or correct others so the badges and tees were designed to help people navigate that,” they said.
West and Symes have had their fair share of challenges, but plan on continuing to grow their small business.
“Growing on social media is harder than we thought it was going to be. Also pricing our products was hard, finding out how much to price something to make a profit, but not outpricing ourselves that no one will buy it,” they said.
This year, the pair want to be part of more vendor events and develop a marketing strategy for their social media page.
The thought of helping people in the LGBT community keeps the pair going.
“Splodge was designed to generate income but has become so much more than that, we now think of Splodge as a community and source of information and support for queer people and opposed to a job,” they said.