Meet Ashish Chopra, the next-door boy who is the founder of an E-marketplace for the LGBTQ community. Ashish is providing support to the community by helping them sell their products through his startup called BeUnic. His platform is helping more than 27 entrepreneurs and designers from the LGBTQ community.
Just as unique as the brand name, Ashish too is truly a unique personality. He has been the first runner-up of Mr. Gay India 2018, he is presently doing a full-time corporate job and is also successfully running his E-commerce website called BeUnic. He is supporting queer entrepreneurs who create as well as sell their products on his platform.
BeUnic was his mother’s dream who wanted to create heels that would fit men! So they decided to start something that would provide a solution to this problem. Initially, they only sold shoes, soon realizing that there were other LGBTQ community entrepreneurs who were doing well in their respective cities but they didn’t have access to a wider audience. To help them reach more people they decided to create a marketplace for the LGBT Community. “This is when we decided that we need to evolve,” says Ashish. So they created a website that would gather all entrepreneurs in one place and all of them could sell from this platform as well as help the queer community. They now sell clothes, accessories, home decor, pride apparel, and many more things.
Ashish says that the purpose of the website is to help small business owners reach a wider audience. Currently, the entrepreneurs are spread all over India, from Gujarat to Rajasthan to down South. The members have gained from this startup and have created a space for themselves in the market. The community members also feel that this platform was very much required as it provides employment as well as career opportunities to many LGBTQ people who otherwise don't have many job opportunities in regular jobs.
Being a member of the LGBTQ community, Ashish says he has been lucky as he was accepted well by his family and friends. “Most of us are not that lucky, so this platform was also created to give our community members that recognition on a bigger scale”, says Ashish. As an entrepreneur, he adds, “Life has been good, business has been good too, I feel content that I am able to do something for my community”. Although one thing that disturbs the young entrepreneur is the sad mentality of people who don’t accept the queer community as normal people and feel hared towards them. He says that there is a section of people who celebrate the queer community during pride month, they will shop and wear rainbow bands, etc but then forget about all about it! “It is heartbreaking to see them use the month for content for their social media posts and then just forget about the whole cause. I wish that people would celebrate us all around the year and not just for a month. It is true that people create a buzz for a month and then they vanish without giving any help to the community”, says Ashish.
While being a Business Entrepreneur I am also a member of a community that is not very huge and most people are not open to talking about themselves, says Ashish. “With this platform, I wish to help many more LGBTQ community members who are still hiding their identities due to some reason or the other”, adds Ashish.
Ashish's, advice to everyone, -
" I would ask everyone to adorn a pair of heels and feel confident, I like to disrupt the societal norms of gender. No one ever said that men can’t wear skirts or sarees, who said that a drag queen cant have a beard, and who says men cannot walk in heels? I feel that one’s life is way too short to live by these silly rules made by society. I urge everyone to be yourself and to BeUnic”.
With BeUnic, Ashish wants to create more opportunities and awareness about the different aspects of E-commerce in his community.
Ashish wants to help them grow and become successful in their businesses just like any other entrepreneur. If you have the skill, you have the way, is his motto.