This is the first post in an ongoing series highlighting each NLCC worker-owner's unique story of what this co-op means to them.
Felix Spencer Krouse is a founding member. He is an androgynous trans man and prefers he/his pronouns.
I believe everyone's narrative is different.
There's no space like No Labels Clothing Cooperative; there certainly wasn't when I was younger, growing up in the southtowns near Buffalo. I never liked myself, really, but I never knew why. I tried so many looks and styles and nothing clicked until I began experimenting with a more masculine appearance, which coincided with my going to more queer-friendly spaces.
Buffalo's got so many people on the queer spectrum and while there's many amazing spaces--art and music venues especially--there's absolutely nothing offered that could have really helped me when I wanted to find men's pants but didn't know how to get them in my size! I have many memories like that. No Labels aims to be a shop where you can really experiment with how you present yourself in a safe, supportive, uniquely queer environment.
It's also important to me that we are a worker-owner co-operative; I dreamed of starting a business that would vitalize a community when I was a child. I never let go of that original dream. The desire to really do something meaningful continued throughout my adolescence. The opportunity to provide the Buffalo queer community with not just a space to find clothing, but the opportunity for employment at a worker-owner co-operative, where individuals are paid a living wage; the opportunity to own a share in a business that will stay local and keep to its cause--helping a growing minority create their own sense of community within western New York. Everyone's narrative is different, and I want to help others define theirs through No Labels Clothing Co-operative.