Passionate about intersectionality, community healing, and sex positivity, Hayley Blatte, Justin Shock, and Monica Yi had been toying with the idea of a collectively-run feminist bookstore or pop-up when they came across the Mermaid Laundromat, which offered to lease them one hundred square feet of space, previously stocked with phone accessories, along the windows that face busy Bushwick thoroughfare Knickerbocker Avenue. The laundromat’s only stipulation was that no food be served, but its owners must have raised an eyebrow ever so slightly as their new tenants rolled out lavender Astroturf and began stocking the floating shelves with BDSM comics, zines depicting hirsute pin-ups — not to mention glow-in-the-dark lube and rose quartz Ben Wa Kegel balls. Blatte regularly attends zine fairs to better rotate the stock of DIY publications like Girl Crush, which features interviews (conducted by women) with a variety of female makers, artists, and musicians. Or Nancy — a fanzine about anxiety, nightmares, and love of Eighties slasher flicks, written by queer authors (a recent issue includes 3-D glasses; Nancy also produces a T-shirt line that Troll Hole stocks). Though its name is a flippant callout to any would-be haters, and its wares decidedly kitschy, Troll Hole takes its mission seriously: It’s dedicated to activism, safer spaces, solutions for self-care, and engagement with community via workshops and open discussions. (Plus free tampons and condoms.) Troll Hole provides a respite — not only from dirty laundry, but as an enclave of empowerment.
226 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn