Marissa Garcia is one tough mother.
Behind the “punny” shirt designs she creates for her shop Ice by Issa is a powerful story of survival and success. “It’s not a happy story, but it is the one that keeps us going time and time again,” Garcia explained. “In 2013, after suffering a traumatic incident, I found myself homeless with two small children and another baby on the way in a country we didn’t know. I wasn’t able to work because of our citizenship, so I began making for the public the homeopathic jewelry that I had been making for my own kids to help with teething.” The shop name “Ice by Issa” refers to Garcia’s initial shop venture. “It took off much quicker than I expected and I found myself at all the craft shows and selling enough to get us out of the shelter and in a place of our own,” she recalled. “Someone had noticed at a craft show that my kids were wearing graphic tees and wanted to know where they came from. They were later added to my shop.”
Ice by Issa now creates mom-made t-shirts, sweatshirts and baby onesies for every member of the family featuring screen-printed designs (the baltic amber and hazelwood homeopathic jewelry remain on the shop website as well). “We call it ‘punny with a vintage flair,’” said Garcia. You have probably seen some of Ice by Issa’s popular original designs, such as “Target is my Happy Place,” “No Diggity, About to Bag it Up,” and “Scoops I did it Again.” The shop frequently collaborates with other well-known small shops and has over 40,000 followers on Instagram. “We are slowly going in a direction of having more limited items that you can’t get anywhere else,” Garcia shared. “Our style of color washing the shirts to give them a unique and more vintage feel before printing on them really sets them apart from just being ‘just another graphic tee.’”
Despite everything she has accomplished by launching Ice by Issa, Garcia will never forget her roots. “It’s hard to believe how far we have come since we started.” The journey also inspired some of Garcia’s most significant designs. “The design that has the most meaning to me is one I released last year that says ‘Girl with the Power.’ All of the proceeds from this design are donated to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,” she said. “Without the women who lost their lives due to domestic violence and the charities that help the victims, I don’t know where I’d be today.” With the adversity that Garcia has overcome, I personally find her to be such an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere.