By Erik Hayden
LoveandPride was founded to celebrate the power of passion, creativity, and action. The company believes every human being is entitled to equal rights, and they recognize that diversity is what makes us who we are. They continue to promote tolerance and respect for all. Founder Udi Behr interviews with dot429 about his motivations and challenges.
What inspired you to create something in support of the LGBT community?
There were 2 major factors that inspired me. The first, of course, is the family & friends I have that are gay. The second was an interview that the former Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, had with Larry King. What he had to say inspired me so much! From that, I wanted to join forces with the cause and design jewelry to donate the proceeds. I am a very big activist in human rights and I believe the fight for LGBT rights is the last frontier for equality in this country. Everyone deserves equality.
As a straight ally, are there many challenges you have had to face while building LoveandPride.com?
Not really. I had some issues arise with people who didn’t want to work with the LGBT community, but nothing overwhelming. I consider myself a part of the gay community, even though I am straight. I like to tell people there should be an “F” included for Friends & Family.
Do your other products have a similar structure for donation like your jewelry lines?
As of right now? No. However, I hope we will in the future. Although, 5% of every purchase made on our website gets donated to a variety of charities. I hope to bring some designers of other products into the mix soon. I have some great products available and 100% of those proceeds get donated to the fight for equal rights.
To date, how much money has loveandpride raised?
So far, we have raised approximately $400,000 and we look forward to increasing that amount with every purchase! We work with numerous foundations which include HRC, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Marriage Equality USA, and many more.
Can you tell us a little more about your “1,138” line of products and the importance of that number?
This is the line I am most proud of. Gay marriage is not just about love; it’s about the rights associated with marriage as well. Straight couples receive 1,138 federal benefits that are not available to gay couples. That number does not include the individual state benefits. I love this number. To promote the new line, we brought 1,138 roses to the Lincoln Statue at Union Square in New York City and gave them away to people passing by. Each rose had a small piece of paper with one of the rights attached to it. The response was overwhelming and it felt great!
You offer a wide array of products on your website, from jewelry for both men and women to home décor. What is the most popular item?
We now have about 150 designers working with us to offer new and exciting products. However, the wedding bands and pendants we create to benefit charities are still the most popular.
Do you have any plans to include a store front in the future?
We don’t have anything like that planned, but we would like to integrate media outreach and social networking into our business model. It is a very challenging task and we want to do it smart. Our goal is to have people be part of something bigger than just a store front location.
To learn more about LoveandPride, visit the website at www.LoveandPride.com