“While I love and adore my previous name, outing myself to strangers who ask for my brand name has unfortunately caused me to feel unsafe on several occasions,” says KJ Forman, a queer, non-binary feminist artist who formerly created under the name Lucky Little Queer. They say they have “personally changed a lot” since 2016, and things stopped fitting. The creation of their new Luck and Lavender studio matched the different person they had become, empowering Forman to go “wherever I decide to go” from here.
“I had been thinking more and more about finding a new name that had more of an ability to grow with me. I also wanted my queer and trans customers to feel like they can shop from my store without being made to feel less than 100% comfortable. I think that visibility as LGBTQ+ folks is so important, but it can’t come at the cost of safety,” Forman says. Transforming into a new name made sense and felt right.
But what to change the name to? “I wanted something new that still held the same sense of whimsy and positivity as Lucky Little Queer, and something that was a little more subtle, but still had a queer significance to it. Lavender has always been a symbol of LGBTQ resistance, so I think Luck and Lavender Studio still pays homage to that while being a little safer for myself and my LGBTQ customer base.”
Simultaneously, something else new emerged from Forman’s creativity: an entire product line. Endless hours of work turned out an enchanting line of art prints, stickers, enamel pins, iron-on patches, apparel, mugs, all-ages colouring books and more. “I don’t know if I’d say I ever had an idea to create a whole brand as much as it was just a natural progression from creating art for fun to being able to do it for a living,” Forman says.
How do they come up with ideas for what to create? “I guess I try to think of things that I’d like to wear or use myself and make that! Everything I make and put out is something that I’m proud of and would use or wear myself. It’s also just fun to try things out, and if it goes well and is super popular, great, and if not, that’s alright, we just move on to the next thing! I also love chatting with my customers on social media to see what products they’d like from my shop—I’m grateful to be part of a community that’s always open to sharing ideas and giving me feedback.”
Forman also wants to do good while indulging their creativity: “Sustainability is also really important to me as a business—I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’m always looking out for more eco-friendly and sustainable options. Lots of my products, including my tote bags, phone cases and swimsuits, are either biodegradable or made of recycled materials, and I always try to keep my packaging as waste-free as possible. The thing I’m most excited about for the summer is my swimsuit collection—I’ve made a bunch of different fruity patterns like botanical peach, blueberry, lemon and more on bikinis, one-pieces and swim trunks!”
In six years of business, Forman has seen everything from limited-edition hand-painted records to handmade strawberry sweaters sold in minutes. “This year I’m focusing on attending lots of in-person craft markets. I love talking to folks face-to-face and I’ve definitely missed it the last couple of years, so I’m making up for lost time! I’m often at 613flea, and I’ll be part of Capital Pride’s street festival in August. As for new projects, I’m just trying to keep being creative and make art as it comes to me, so who really knows!”
Luck and Lavender Studio was created by KJ Forman, a queer, non-binary feminist artist who works out of their home studio in Ottawa. Luck and Lavender Studio’s goal is to create positive, affirmative pieces that can be used as a tool to connect and bond with other marginalized people in a way that celebrates who they are. Keep up with KJ on social media @luckandlavenderstudio or check out their shop at luckandlavenderstudio.com.