It’s noon on a Friday. I’m sitting in Blanchard’s on Broad Street, sipping a cappuccino and chatting with the founders of Galfie about life, love, queerness, and, of course, their business. Hannah and Jade Sullivan are partners not only in life but also in their flag company, Galfie. They’re truly wonderful people.
Galfie was conceived during a trip to Costa Rica when the couple learned that Roe v. Wade had been overturned, which put a damper on their tropical getaway. They channeled their feelings of despair and helplessness into motivation, and their first design was born. This inaugural flag features smiling potted plants, a rainbow, and sunshine, along with the uplifting message, “equality is everything!” It’s cheerful and hopeful.
From this first flag design, the Sullivans caught the creative bug. They developed many new designs, always in keeping with a fun, hip, fresh, 90s-inspired vibe. They extended into pride flags, building off of flags that already existed like the ally flag and progress flag to create their own unique pride designs. One example is their trans ally flag, a combination of the trans flag and the ally flag, which you can find HERE.
On the topic of pride flags, Hannah remarks, “The world is kind of crazy right now… the more visibility and support we can bring to the LGBTQ+ community, the better. Personally, when I see pride flags in my neighborhood as I walk by, it makes me feel welcomed, accepted, and happy. We want to spread those feelings throughout other Richmond neighborhoods and beyond.”
Their array of pride flags is remarkably inclusive, offering options like the nonbinary lesbian flag, the panromantic asexual flag, and the poly flag. The Sullivans have put in tremendous effort to create flags for members of the LGBTQ+ community who may not always be represented. Many of their flags feature smiley faces and uplifting slogans, countering hatred with love and light.
The Sullivans were motivated by the concept of neighbors and the essence of being a good neighbor. We discussed how some Richmond residents still consider it acceptable to display Confederate flags or other symbols of hate. Galfie offers an alternative by providing flags that represent love, acceptance, peace, and kindness.
The couple has also designed numerous RVA-themed flags, as Hannah is a Richmond native. It’s important to Hannah and Jade to pay tribute to the city where they chose to settle down and raise a family.
Galfie currently operates from a detached studio in the Sullivans’ backyard, where they work on their designs and engage in art projects with their adorable daughter, Eloise. It’s a family endeavor that continues to grow and evolve.
Galfie has also launched a new initiative to donate 5% of proceeds to charities “working towards positive change in the world.” The charities are each associated with flag designs that correspond with them.
Pride flag proceeds go to the It Gets Better Project, which works tirelessly to “uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) youth across the globe”. When customers purchase flags related to women and women empowerment, 5% of proceeds goes to Girls Rock Camp Alliance. This alliance is “an international membership network of youth-centered arts and social justice organizations,” and they strive towards collective liberation. Customers know that each flag purchase actively fosters change in the world around them.
I’ll leave you with some parting words from Hannah on the whimsical fun that Galfie can bring to your home: “Life can feel pretty serious at times. Simple little flags like ‘kindness rules’ or ‘choose happiness’ can spread a tiny bit of cheer to people walking by. I mean, if you see a little flower with a smiley face or a butterfly chilling next to a yin-yang, doesn’t it just lighten the mood a bit?”
If any of this has piqued your interest, head to Galfie’s website and follow them on instagram @shopgalfie! The Sullivans want to orchestrate a pride event where Richmonders can interact with their flags and connect with the LGBT+ community in our beloved city, so be on the lookout for more details coming soon.