By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)
Molly Tommy is a “totally unique social media platform for the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and supportive businesses. The Molly Tommy platform gives the LGBTQ+ community the opportunity to unite with a sense of purpose and use their voices to engage and support each other. Molly Tommy gives each user the ability to surf feeds and groups with news, events, perks, chat, and much more! Members are encouraged to engage in local groups to continue their discussions and community support online on Molly Tommy. Steve and Brandon are working diligently to make it the most fun, exciting, talked-about, safe, thought-provoking, and change-making social media platform.” We wanted to learn more about their vision with Molly Tommy so our managing editor, Dirk Smith, caught up with the founders of www.mollytommy.com Steve and Brandon (Father and Son) Kaudy.
Steve Kaudy: The big goal and aspiration is that we are the social media platform for the LGBTQ+ community, their allies, and businesses that support the community. We want to be that place that people feel comfortable to come to. If you go to Facebook, it’s groups that you go into and divide. We want this to be this is the platform for the whole community. This is where you connect with people, this is where you want to have fun, host businesses that connect with the community, in the future will offer us discounts for members and all the other things that go along with it. Eric (Carlyle, Compete CEO)’s done a good job of helping us advertise. We are looking to get sponsors, and we want everybody that gets behind it. There’s a lot of fractures in the community out there, but if we had one place where everybody came, we can bring people together. That’s what the ultimate vision is.
DS: I remember back in like, the early 2010s, there was a similar kind of community that was picking up steam, but then they shut it down. So there really hasn’t been any kind of real social network for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s always been either hookup sites or Facebook type sites. It’s a niche that I think has a lot of potential but has yet to be fulfilled. So, it’s great to see that you’re taking that effort as well. You’re in Atlanta and you’ve already started there, plus you’re working with us at Compete to connect more with the sports community as well. Have you been able to connect a lot with these athletes and other community groups?
SK: You know, that’s something we are starting to work with Compete on. We started with promoting the Compete Sports Diversity Summit in Seattle that was on the site, trying to drive the traction and get people interested. I also love 80s music, New Wave, and all that. So, we thought, well, shoot, why can’t we find some entertainers from that grouping to be a spokesperson for us depending on who they are. My dream was always getting Boy George to be the guy because I’ve always loved culture club and I think he’s a cool guy. We want to get into the music world because Brandon is on as well as my son is. He’s in the club music guy. We both love sports as well. So those are two areas we are passionate about as well.
DS: Tell me about more about your experience at the Compete Sports Diversity Summit in Seattle. How did that go?
SK: Sadly, we couldn’t go. Several days before we end up catching COVID. We were all excited, we’re ready to go but it didn’t happen. We did, do a little promotional thing there, to try and get our name out a little bit. We’re wanting to get more active with some of the events that Eric and Compete are doing and he says there are more coming up. So, we are planning to get involved with that where we can at least come out and give a little bit of a presentation about who we are, what we do and how we do it.
DS: That’s neat, the community is humongous and there’s so many people that you can connect with in that regard.
SK: My vision is that once you get like yourself, you invite a couple of people to sign up, then they are interested and they can invite friends, it’s. It’s one of those things that the train starts really rolling. When you get to these events, you get 20-30 people to sign up, and they tell their friends and family about it. Then suddenly, we start exploding in these different areas. That’s what we really want to see, and I think we’re close to things based on what we’re putting together and doing from the marketing side, building out the brand, building out different aspects, media kits, and such. So that way we’re professional. Then once we start generating some decent revenue then we want to build the app. So that’s the next step, but first we need to get a little revenue to do that.
DS: There’s a lot of power in this kind of platform, as well not just for posting and community connection, but also to help educate people about LGBTQ+ issues, are you planning anything like that?
SK: That’s a big piece too. We want to be active in that part in giving back to the community. As we generate revenue, we pick a few different organizations to support and sponsor that we change up every few months as the revenues comes in. We want Molly Tommy to be the place where people can say, “we gotta go to Molly, Tommy, because they’re really good at offering more perspective on this topic.” That way people can trust Molly Tommy to be an important place with these perspectives.
DS: I assume your membership base is primarily in the United States. Are there plans to expand internationally, hit Canada, Mexico, and then go from there?
SK: Yes! Molly Tommy is open to anybody internationally. What’s interesting is I set up the LinkedIn account about a year ago. With that I started connecting with so many people from Europe, and other international areas. I had a few at that time when we didn’t have it set it up for everybody. But that was one thing we got to test, and I believe it’s all set up now. We’d love to go down to places like Puerto Vallarta and Florida are bice places for the LGBTQ+ community. If you look at the United States, you have the core hubs, where the community is at. I grew up in Southern California, Laguna Beach was a big place and that was where people hung out. We used to have this breakfast place that was owned by this older guy, who never could come out that he was gay because back then he couldn’t say anything. But there’s no waitresses here. It’s just all these guys who are tan, big guys, but that’s all. They couldn’t really come out as who they were. But they were there, and it was the busiest place, formed its own community in a sense. This work here. They go to beach. On Molly Tommy were getting the LinkedIn going and seeing who’s responding. We got a lot from Ireland, England, Spain, etc. It’s interesting as they started connecting with me on LinkedIn.
DS: And you have someone in Germany as well (me)! That’s why I think platforms such as Molly Tommy are important. Some of these countries like Germany, at least, Western Germany is a lot more progressive and a lot more open minded in terms of LGBTQ+ inclusion but East Germany is not. A platform like Molly Tommy might be the only type of platform where people can go and connect with other LGBTQ+ people. Maybe they’ll go to the bars or whatever, but you’re not going to get a whole lot from people that are just drinking, but people want to connect with people outside of that context. That’s why I think online dating is so popular and social networking in general is huge. I appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us!
SK: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about Molly Tommy and to connect with Compete Sports Diversity!