MINNEAPOLIS — During a month when retailers opt in for a rainbow makeover, Paul McEnaney-Rodriguez said he's wanted something more "every day."
"As a queer individual, I'm not just queer in June, this is me every single day," he said.
McEnaney-Rodriguez added that rainbow gear is harder to find the other 11 months of the year, which is why he decided to create Prideletics.
"My slogan is sport your pride, which I thought was kind of clever," McEnaney-Rodriguez said with a smile.
Combining his interests in sports, fashion and marketing, McEnaney-Rodriguez said he created Prideletics after he was let go from a previous job. Now, he has another job, but Prideletics remains strong as well.
"The thing I'm most proud about the business is that we celebrate diversity and inclusion within the LGBTQIA community year round," he said. "And that's kind of the biggest reason for the brand. We've seen that some corporations can be under the rainbow washing light as of late, during Pride month, some companies will make products just for June."
From visors and running tanks to t-shirts and hoodies, the items all bear the Pride flag in some way, but more subtly than other merchandise McEnaney-Rodriguez has seen.
"It's always super loud, and like a terrible 100% cotton really uncomfortable shirt," he said, referring to the other merchandise. "So one of the main things was to find the most comfortable material that actually worked."
"I prefer more of the quieter, more minimal designs and that's been resonating with our audience," McEnaney-Rodriguez added.
The message of the brand resonated with the audience too, especially when Prideletics was awarded the L'etoile du Nord award by the Minnesota Loons for being a champion of inclusivity.
"It just meant a lot to be in front of thousands of people on this specific LGBTQ+ Pride night," he said. "All these people with a similar mindset, even at the beginning of the game. They pull up the massive banner in the fan section and it was about trans rights and it's huge being seen by thousands of people and being part of that night meant a lot."
"As community, as people, we've started to grow and learn that it's not just something that can happen once a year," McEnaney-Rodriguez said, referring to Pride month in general. "Work with queer artists, designers, year round, there are great products related to these people all the time. Not just for the month, or the money or ad visibility."
You can find Prideletics on Prideletics.com.