There’s a new shop in town dedicated to gender expression and affirming gear. Urbasics is an online outpost created by local transwoman Ashley Grullon and her mother Eileen Bonetti. Their goal is to address the need for a one-stop shop for supplies for trans and gender non-conforming people.
“[Urbasics] is the kind of store I wish I could have had,” says Grullon of when she began transitioning. She says she struggled to find local stores that could get her the items she was looking for at affordable prices and instead would have to order them from the U.S. and pay associated duties and shipping costs.
“We were trying to find a one-stop shop for everything you need,” says Bonetti. “We didn’t find that so we decided to be the solution.”
The idea for the store came to Grullon in the middle of the pandemic, which is the reason the shop is currently online only. It had its soft launch on March 26, 2021 and features products from well known brands like banana prosthetics and includes packers, STPs, pumps, dilators, and binders. With the shop’s official launch in early May, the site’s contents will broaden to include items from the Urbasics brand — a collection which was “designed with the gender spectrum in mind, whether you’re on the gender spectrum or not.”
The upcoming Urbasics collection will come in non-standard sizes. The transfem collection launches this month and the transmasc collection will launch in June.
“Our bras and bralettes are unlike the ones you find in the department store and are designed for wider ribs. This comes from the experience of shopping for Ashley and never finding a good fit,” says Bonetti. “We wanted more variety so that folks early in their transition, or people who want to wear breast forms, have that capability.”
The collection will also cater to people in every age range. “I know as a parent that there is a need for underwear for kids at 11, 12, and even younger and we’re gonna have that. We wanted to cater to younger folks because we see that people are coming out at younger ages and that the trans and non-binary communities have more visibility,” says Bonetti.
Grullon says when she first began transitioning four or five years ago, she couldn’t find items that hit all three criteria of affordable, comfortable and affirming. That is the driving force behind Grullon and Bonetti’s efforts to make items at Urbasics both cost efficient and inclusive.
To ensure the affordability of the collection, the pair has negotiated with manufacturers in order to pass the savings onto their clients. This is so that clients have the financial capability to purchase more than one of the same item, something difficult to do when gaffs cost up to $39 on Etsy.
Simultaneously, according to Bonetti, “[the] collection will have similar or better quality items [than you can] get from the U.S.” The site strives to educate clients on which items are right for them, how to choose size and style, and how to take care of their products. “We wanted to be a store and also a source of education.”
As a charitable initiative, Urbasics is selling pins on Flamingo Market. All of the proceeds from the pins go to Binders OUT, a Toronto organization that enables binder access for folks who cannot afford it. The pins can be purchased here, and donations (material or monetary) to Binders OUT can be made here.
For those that are new to shopping for these items, Grullon says: “I know how hard it can be starting out with all these options and not knowing what to get or what will be best for you. We definitely want to be there to help people with that.”
For questions about Urbasics items, email firstname.lastname@example.org.