Manhattan gender-free retailer The Phluid Project is launching a job portal to help its community find employment in safe environments. The Phluid Project will certify employment partners before listing their jobs on the Get Phluid portal. The retailer will assist consumers with résumé-writing, job interview prep and professional dressing.
“This brings a professionalism to our community,” said The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith. “People send us multiple résumés every day because we’re seen as a safe space. I thought there are very few safe spaces to send them. I thought, what if we create safe spaces for them? We see this as an opportunity to be successful.”
Equipment, the first partner of the Get Phluid certification and job portal, will launch a gender-free capsule in collaboration with Phluid Project in the spring. “They realized the importance of a strategic partnership and understanding gender pronouns and androgyny,” Smith said, adding that Equipment wants to authentically address the audience, hence the capsule.
With studies reporting that as much as 25 percent of kids identify as gender-nonconforming, there’s a need for safe places to work.
“We look at a job application,” Smith said. “Does the company list a third gender on the application? We’re training leadership on the right use of pronouns. We’re even looking at the dress codes.
“Is there insurance in place if someone wishes to fully transition?” Smith added. If a company checks off all the boxes, Smith works with the executive team on future gender, and the company becomes Phluid-certified.
“We’re continuing to lead with community and activism,” Smith said. “We’ll show up strategically in different places throughout the year. We’re focused on initiating more pop-ups around the country.”
The Phluid Project in July teamed with HBO’s “Euphoria” to create pop-up shops in three cities: San Francisco, Seattle and Miami. Smith said Phluid is working on activations with other networks surrounding shows that haven’t aired yet, adding that it’s too early to discuss the projects.
“The pop-ups will be about how Phluid shows up with discussions and community outreach, and everything it stands for,” Smith said. “We don’t want to only sell clothes.”
Phluid is looking to make an international move. Smith said he’s talking to potential partners. “There’s only one way to move the business forward and that’s capital,” he said. “We impact young, gender-expansive people and also people who are trying to understand the space. Phluid takes a complex idea and makes it tangible. It shows what it means to dismantle social constructs [such as gender].”