🏳️🌈 Business & Belonging to the LGBTQ+ Community: Q&A with Josh
Updated: Jun 22
Happy Pride Month! In today’s business landscape, it’s essential to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs (like our very own Josh Halterman!) who have fearlessly paved their way to success. This Pride Month, as we all celebrate the rich diversity and inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community, the Joshua Allen Design team couldn’t think of a better way to honor it than by highlighting Josh’s creativity, passion, and drive for success. Josh not only re-imagines spaces with interior design but also promotes equality and representation within our community. Join us as we explore his insight on the intersection of entrepreneurship and the LGBTQ+ experience.
Q: Did you always want to be a business owner and is interior design a field you have always wanted to work in?
A: I have always wanted to be a business owner. From a very young age, I would create and build offices and “stores” and have my friends pretend to work for me or buy things from me with fake money. I remember specifically a summer in 1996 or 1997 when I started a “movie rental business” out of my bedroom window. I would “rent” VHS movies to neighbor friends for 50 cents a weekend. At the time, I thought I had come up with quite the business! Looking back, it’s absolutely hilarious. I only had like 10 movies but it kind of worked. And, as far as interior design, I have always LOVED space arrangement and decorating spaces. I do not think I ever thought I could do anything with that passion, but somehow we made it to today!
Q: Tell us about the moment you made the decision to start your business!
A: Up until the point of starting JAD, I worked a corporate job and felt trapped in the rat race associated with making more money and getting the titles I had dreamed of. Incredibly long hours and the internal “need” to constantly impress my bosses led to complete burnout. I was running on a hamster wheel trying to find an escape. The vision of JAD came to me a few years before the business started, but I was far too nervous to ever think about taking a leap from my comfortable role. During the summer of 2018, work became unbearable and I realized that I didn't just want more out of life but that I NEEDED it. I craved independence and creativity. I set my mind in a direction and really got a hold of myself and started running toward a true dream, my own interior design business. 5 years later, I am so proud and happy to have made it this far.
Q: How important is it for your interior design business to be recognized as a supporter for the LGBTQ+ community?
A: Being a person and business owner that supports the LGBTQ+ community is extremely important to who I am. Living authentically is the only true way to live a happy and fulfilled life. It’s truly that simple to me — so supporting equality and celebrating others as they are is what our business is built on. Aside from our desire to create beautiful and functional interior spaces, we are equally dedicated to lifting up and supporting everyone and celebrating who they are every day, not just during Pride Month.
Q: As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, have you ever been put in a difficult position as a business owner?
A: Sadly, yes. There was a client a few years ago who questioned my sexual orientation and made their disapproval of my having a husband apparent. This in turn caused us to discontinue any future work with them. It was a shocking but important moment that gave us an opportunity to for clarity, and to fully commit to our unconditional support of the LGBTQ+ community as a business. Although it was an uncomfortable situation for us, I am happy to report that it was an uncommon occurrence, as we are fortunate to be part of an inclusive and wonderful local community.
Q: What kind of impact do you think the LGBTQ+ community will have on business ownership in the future?
A: I strongly believe that the LGBTQ+ community has SO much to offer the world, and especially the business world! Wonderful strides have been made over the years to create and embrace individuality and inclusivity for everyone, and with these advancements we are seeing more and more minority business owners stepping into these leadership roles. These individuals stand at the forefront of an entire community to bravely face adversity and discrimination (from time to time) all in an effort to be themselves in every sense of the notion, including to be business leaders. This leadership in the hands of the members of the LGBTQ+ community creates a unique and dedicated customer base regardless of the industry. The diverse leadership we are seeing now is only going to continue to grow as we advance as a society. The future of business ownership and business leadership is bright for everyone as inclusivity becomes the norm. These leaders create inclusive environments that draw in an amazingly supportive customer base and that is something I am sure we will see increase in the future, which is very exciting!
An enormous thank you to Josh for sharing. His authenticity, unwavering determination, and dedication have led the way for a more inclusive and equitable future for entrepreneurs in our local community, and we hope that these strides have a ripple effect!