Suited for Success: Tim Chan, Co-founder, So Gay Rosé
By Lily Ertischek on 2022-06-24
Equal parts delicious and socially impactful, there's lots to love in a can of So Gay Rosé. We're lucky to have had the chance to sit down with co-founder Tim Chan for this installment of Suited for Success, a series highlighting the women-, BIPOC-, and LGBTQ+-founded businesses we admire and the people behind them.
Introduce yourselves and tell us about your journey to entrepreneurship.
My name is Tim Chan and I’m one of the co-founders of So Gay Rosé. I started the brand with my best friend Josh after (admittingly) a night of drinking rosé and maybe getting a little too tipsy - haha. But we realized there was a market for a premium, accessible rosé that wasn’t pretentious or sugary sweet, and I also wanted to create a product that could uplift and empower the queer community.
Please, tell us a little more about So Gay Rosé! What was the idea behind your canned rosé?
Aside from having a catchy name and Instagrammable can, the impetus behind So Gay Rosé is to reclaim a phrase that was once used as a negative (i.e. “That’s so gay”) and turn it into something positive. Our hashtag is #SoGaySoGreat, and we truly believe that there’s nothing negative or shameful about being gay.
Was donating a portion of proceeds to LGBTQ+ organizations always integral to creating your brand? What do these partnerships mean to you?
Our give back program is definitely something that is important for us. Rather than mandate one particular group organization to help, we’re working with our retailers and distributors across the country to find organizations that they are connected to on the ground. It means so much more to customers when they know we are supporting charities in their communities.
What is your favorite way to enjoy a glass (or better yet, a can) of rosé?
Rosé wine should definitely be chilled – the colder the better.
Entrepreneurship is incredibly challenging. Who in the entrepreneurial space inspires you to power through?
I’m inspired by people who say they’re going to do something and then actually do it! So many people talk up their “big ideas,” but very few people actually act on them. The best entrepreneurs are the ones who aren’t just big talkers, but big doers as well.
Both you and your co-founder Josh hold separate jobs in addition to canning up the best rosé and reclaiming “so gay.” What does that balance look like?
It’s certainly been a challenge and if you look at our calendars, you’ll see all of our So Gay Rosé calls are either before 8 am or after 6 pm! But I think both of our other jobs have helped us grow SGR as well, whether that’s by building our network, providing collaboration opportunities, or just giving us a chance to learn from other brands.
What is a message you want to help spread within your community?
I want LGBTQ+ people to know that they’re not alone and that there are brands – and people – who have their back. A lot of us share similar upbringings or have been through feelings of rejection and isolation – So Gay Rosé is all about embracing our struggles and using them as fuel to grow and thrive.
So Gay Rosé is also about allyship. I’m gay and Josh is straight, and we’ve both learned a lot about how to communicate with each other and how to show support. It’s not enough to say you “have gay friends;” how are you uplifting them? How are you talking about them? Are you shielding them or are you encouraging them to walk in their truth?