Skip to Content
Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities
Showcasing The Rainbow Year Round

Photos by Graham Ross, Actuation Studios, courtesy of Rainbow Certified

Showcasing The Rainbow Year Round

Pride Month may be over, but a London, Ont., brand is making sure you have access to Pride products 365 days a year…

By Stephan Petar

“Shocked” and “gobsmacked” is how the founders of Rainbow Certified, Sarah Couvillon and Rachel Newby, described their reaction at seeing their products at a Kohl’s store in the US for the first time. “We had to ask one of the workers if they had them out yet,” says Couvillon. “They were just setting up that floor display. We were such eager beavers to see them in person that we came a bit too early.” 

The inclusive apparel and accessories brand was part of Kohl’s Pride celebration, a partnership that bloomed thanks to TikTok, after a buyer from the department store found them on the platform. Rainbow Certified products were carried in over 400 stores across the US and online. 

This partnership is another milestone for the brand, which launched in August 2020. According to their website, Rainbow Certified started “with two girls falling in love,” who wanted to create a fun, inclusive and positive brand with funky designs for people of all ages to enjoy, as well as to celebrate the 2SLGBTQI+ community. “We wanted to make a brand that celebrated Pride all throughout the year and not just in June,” said Couvillon. “We found it really hard to find any sort of Pride merchandise during those other months of the year.”

The brand carries an array of items, including stickers, pins, apparel, tote bags, key chains, glassware and more. Their designs feature pronoun identifiers, the flags of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, and encouraging and supportive messages…as well as cute dogs and a Prideosaurus.  

“When I come up with products, I see what people are buying on TikTok,” Couvillon explains. “We also walk around stores that we like to shop at and I’m like ‘That’s really cool. How can I use this in my business?’” They also look for product gaps in the marketplace and see how they can bring a queer lens to it, which Newby explains is how they came up with their queer Christmas penguin ornament.

Couvillon, who designs the products, says there is no rhyme or reason to what she comes up with. “I really wish I could tell you what goes on in my brain,” she jokes. “I look at things that I enjoy that maybe aren’t in the queer niche and then transform that.” Design is also influenced by customers, especially when it comes to their ever-growing offering of Pride flag designs, which include the gay, lesbian, genderqueer, agender flags and more. “We take in all the feedback.… It’s a huge influence,” says Newby.  

The brand’s customer base extends beyond North America, and it’s all thanks to TikTok, where they have more than 74,000 followers and one million likes. “We pretty much owe everything to TikTok.… The organic reach can get to literally anyone worldwide,” Couvillon says.

“It’s definitely how we found a lot of wholesalers in the United States,” Newby continues. “TikTok has been a huge influence for our business.” TikTok’s reach is a big reason why they ship to 23 countries including Germany, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Sri Lanka. They’re also in about 170 stores across the US and 20 in Canada, as well as some in the UK and France. 

The brand has also seen a rise in orders from US states where anti-2SLGBTQI+ laws and sentiment is high. “When we get wholesale orders from those regions, it’s like, wow. You know they’ve got the confidence to put products in-store that support the community.… It’s awesome to see,” Newby says, noting stores will stock up on items that say “Let Trans Youth Bloom” or “Let Queer Youth Bloom,” among others.

These orders showcase how their products are used to support activism, but there are other special moments in which their items are being used. “My favourite story is when someone ordered 15 rainbow pins and were like, ‘I’m using you to come out to my family. I’m giving everyone a little rainbow pin and coming out,’” Couvillon recalls. “Or we have parents that are like, ‘Hey, my son or daughter has come out to me and I want to make them this little gift as my support…’” 

With all their success, the brand is naturally looking to grow. “We actually looked at our first warehouse,” says Couvillon, who notes it was about 1,600 square feet. “We keep moving to bigger houses to keep the business going. Right now we have a really great setup because we have a big third floor where the office is…but we’re outgrowing that.” 

Showcasing The Rainbow Year Round

The pair currently run the business on their own, with Couvillon doing design and social media, and Newby focused on the behind-the-scenes tasks like SEO (search engine optimization), logistics and customer service. They hope to hire a staff member eventually, but for now they’re handling things with help from Couvillon’s parents. 

Growing their apparel line will be a focus for the brand in the upcoming year. “We’ve got a lot of new T-shirts that we just launched.… There’s definitely more to come apparel-wise,” Newby says, teasing the possibility of hoodies and sweaters. 

They also want to bring their products to more big-box stores worldwide. “The dream would definitely be Walmart and Target…and some European ones,” Newby says. 

Follow Rainbow Certified on TikTok and on Instagram or visit rainbowcertified.com.


STEPHAN PETAR is a born and raised Torontonian, known for developing lifestyle, entertainment, travel, historical and 2SLGBTQI+ content. He enjoys wandering the streets of any destination he visits, where he’s guaranteed to discover something new or meet someone who will inspire his next story. 

Related Articles

July 12, 2024 / Entertainment Latest

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 9 Episode 10 Recap: Lip-Sync Lalaparuza Smackdown

The all star queens compete in a lip-sync battle royale with a few shocking twists and turns before we find out which queens are heading to the finale

July 10, 2024 / Entertainment Latest

Jinkx Monsoon & BenDeLaCreme Are Bringing Their 2024 ‘The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show’ To Canada

They’re back! The “queens of Christmas” will hit Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver this upcoming holiday season

July 10, 2024 / Entertainment Latest

Why Are We Still ‘Looking’ 10 Years Later? It Might Be The Cast

HBO’s critically acclaimed show about modern-day gay life in San Francisco ran from January 19, 2014, to July 23, 2016

POST A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *