Rainbow Auto Services

Pride flag

We spoke to the incredible Jessica Tayler Brakenbury (she/her) about her garage. Jess owns Rainbow Auto Services, a 5 star women-owned business that is marked on being an inclusive space which prides itself on being LGBTQIA+, women and disability friendly. Jess tells us about her business and her experience as a trans woman in the sector.

Can you tell us a bit about Rainbow Auto Services?

I set up the garage in November of 2021. I had started to do odd jobs outside of the company I worked for at the time, but eventually, I had to decide on one or the other. I decided to leave the company I worked at, as there had been a lot of issues,. I left to make the odd jobs a thing. 

I left after I completed my apprenticeship. I wanted to make an inclusive and friendly space, as I had not always seen customers treated in the way I would want. I wanted to make somewhere safe, to put a stop to judgement, to make a new standard where people trusted the garage where they had that customer interaction. I want them to feel safe and welcomed.  

I really struggled for a name at first, but I was with my partner one night and they said, “what about Rainbow?” The rest is History!

What is your favourite thing about Rainbow Auto Services?

That’s a good question, I think my favourite thing is how warm and welcoming it is. We just don’t judge.

What was most important when setting up Rainbow Auto Services?

Customer trust, definitely. The trust between the customer and the garage, so they know we will get the work done and they won’t be ripped off. Also to create a more welcoming space to people, no matter what walk of life they are from. 

What does EDI&B mean to Rainbow Auto Services?

Everyone is welcome. I am very open about who I am, and we have created a safe space for everyone to come. We have catered for everyone.

How important was it for you (Rainbow Auto Services) to set up an inclusive space in the motor sector?

It was top of the list. It was really important for me. This is a male-dominated industry. Everyone has cars, you know, trans people have cars, gay people have cars and women have cars. Going to garage, as a gay, bi or trans person can be quite daunting. Here, we do our best to ensure that there is no judgement and that nobody is made to feel uncomfortable. 

What is Rainbow Auto Services' proudest moment?

The relationship I have built with my customers and the reputation I have created for myself. I am also proud of how far we have come in such a short period of time.

I am proud of the fact we have made a bright, friendly and inviting workshop. You can tell that others enjoy this and we have a 5 star rating on google.

How does it feel knowing that Rainbow Auto Services is 5-star women-owned Business in the motor sector? 

It’s mint! it feels brilliant to know we are at the top of the game but being women owned helps other women know they can also be at the top of their game. Some people won’t like that but it feels great to be there and representing what is small of the part industry.

What advice would you give to others when setting up their businesses?

With LGBTQIA+, the biggest thing is you have to be open minded. Your customers and the people you meet day to day may not have the same view as you. You may get misgendered but I brush it off. You have to be open minded because not everyone does it intending to cause offence. 

Stand your ground. It's hard but LGBT workspaces will often try and take on other people who are also in minority groups, as they will have your back and it will also give you space to work 

Take on staff from each walk of life. It shows the customers that you are open minded, and that there's a space for everyone. I give opportunities to everyone I can. Always give opportunities, be supportive and be honest. 

Give opportunity to your staff to talk to you about things. Just because someone comes in late doesn’t mean they are just tired, they may have issues going on, and you may need to reach out to check in and  provide support. You will find you get better relationships with your staff and they will do better.

What are your 5 tips for makings an inclusive and safe space in the sector? 

Jess reached out to others online to get what the larger community believed the top 5 tips should be for making your workplace more inclusive. These are a compilation of what they said:

  1. Educate yourself and your workforce regularly on inclusive language. Make it the everyday to normalise it rather than making it special treatment. This needs to part of the everyday to make sure it is actually inclusive. 
  2. Mark important dates, celebrations, religious holidays, history dates and make it visible to all.
  3. Think of others when you create resources, give options such as the spoken word, written and in sign so that everyone can receive the information in a way that is best for them.
  4.  Look at your facilities, is the signage gender inclusive, do you have bathrooms that welcome all? Signal inclusion with visual cues such as subtle flags and badges. Have safe spaces such as company support groups. 
  5. Respect pronouns, it costs nothing to use them or add them on your email sign off.  Respect other's pronouns, it’s okay to make a mistake, apologies and remember for next time.  It is not okay to purposely misgender someone. Respect is important to create an inclusive environment.