Eric Herrera of Fruits In Suits
Few organisations have a name as catchy as Fruits in Suits. This might be one of the secrets of its success. Since its inception almost five years ago, FinS, as it’s commonly known, has become the central meeting point for the gay and lesbian business community.
“Fruits in Suits reaches out to … gay-owned, gay-operated and gay-friendly businesses that are working within the community,” says Eric Herrera, manager of FinS.
The concept of Fruits in Suits began in Melbourne, Australia, with the name and idea spreading to several destinations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Although not affiliated, they all, as Herrera says, “use and nurture the name, and promoted it as a business forum for the gay and lesbian community”.
The local chapter comes to life at its monthly cocktail party. “It is a place for business and networking and provides a haven for those who are in the closet, who are extremely out and everything in between. Everyone can go and feel relaxed,” explains Herrera.
Held on the third Tuesday of every month, the FinS cocktail parties are usually themed, with each month focusing on a sponsor, industry or issue. Past gatherings have had themes such as “shop till you drop”, travel and finance. “Someone came in and talked about the economy, how to avoid bankruptcy and how to stay afloat. And people just sat and listened for ten minutes, which is a lot,” says Herrera with a laugh.
With subscriptions numbering about 1,000, the organisation’s reach into the community is significant. But even a group with a business focus, and one that holds evenings dedicated to finance, hasn’t been unscathed by the global economic woes. “The attendance [at the cocktail parties] has matched the economy. Now we’re hovering in the eighties. It’s about the lowest we’ve ever been,” says Herrera, noting that FinS get-togethers enjoyed a 150-strong attendance before the meltdown.
This month, FinS will be promoting Rick Lau, local cabaret performer and star of the recent hit production My Queer Valentine. Lau has been invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year. “To get to that festival you need to put up everything yourself, so we’ve taken on raising funds for him,” says Herrera. “We’re donating 50 per cent of our takings at the door for three months, as well as passing [round] a hat. He’ll also perform at the venue, with additional back-up singers and dancers. It’s going to be a full-on 30-minute show.”
If you’d like to help a home-town performer get to one of the world’s largest arts festivals, get along and enjoy the singing, dancing and cocktails.
Fruits in Suits meets at One Bar, Exchange Square, 8 Connaught Place, Central, on April 21.