For years, Famm founder and CEO Cat Perez (she/they) struggled to find clothing that best represented her gender expression.
“As I have navigated my gender and identity over the past decade or so of my life, I’ve really been trying to figure out clothing––how I am presenting myself and what feels right on my body and in my being,” Perez said. “For me, it's just been really difficult to shop for clothing and to find things that I would feel comfortable in.”
Perez’s world––and wardrobe––opened up when she discovered queer-owned gender expansive fashion brands like TomboyX, Wildfang, and Both& Apparel. “Those were the brands that I was shopping, and I was like, ‘I need to find more of these,'” she explained.
But finding other LGBTQ-owned brands that sold online would not be an easy task; and from that personal pain point arose the idea for Famm.
Famm is an LGBTQ+ brand discovery platform that simplifies the search for queer-owned brands and products. Launched in May by Perez and her co-founder and spouse, Marianna Di Regolo (she/her), Famm showcases 600 brands across 11 categories and 60 product types.
Famm is not the first platform to take on the challenge of identifying and increasing the visibility of LGBTQ-owned businesses, but it stands out. While there are many queer-owned business guides and directories online, Famm’s curated approach and focus on product design simplifies the brand discovery process.
Beyond just a list of LGBTQ brands, Famm is more akin to Etsy than a business database. Users are able to shop a handpicked selection of products, browse through hundreds of queer-owned brands, and get inspired by the stories of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs on the Famm blog. The website also allows users to sort by brand category (from Accessories to Wellness) and filter by brand values and identity (e.g. Latinx-owned, Sustainable).
Di Regolo emphasized that user experience is a key differentiating factor for Famm. “Famm is this beautiful website that is all about LGBTQ founders and businesses,” she said. “Through our curated products page, we want to make it as easy as possible [to discover brands].”
Perez and Di Regolo’s professional backgrounds are well-suited to building Famm. Perez has over 18 years of experience in product and design, most recently as Chief Product Officer at HealthSherpa, the nation’s leading private Affordable Care Act enrollment platform. She also ran a Tumblr photography blog back in the day called Lesbians in San Francisco. Di Regolo’s expertise lies in marketing. Prior to Famm, where she serves as Chief Marketig Officer, Di Regolo founded The Fringe, a marketing firm that helped diverse mission-driven companies scale their businesses online.
While Famm is currently a brand showcase and discovery platform, Perez says that users will be able to make purchases directly on the website in the future. “I think long term we are headed towards a marketplace model, so we do want to look into enabling shopping and checkouts,” she said. “Those types of things obviously come with a lot of development work, so we may be fundraising in the future. We'll see.”
In the interim, Perez and Di Regolo are focusing on expanding Famm’s brand categories (they’ll be launching the “Services” category in early 2024), releasing new founder interviews, and partnering with queer-owned gender-affirming care startup Folx Health the company’s Fall Fest, a digital wellness festival for Folx members.