Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY


Sebastian Garcia

Rosa Negra Tattoo

Miami, Florida

“Through both loans I’ve had with Ascendus, my loan consultant has always been super helpful.” –Sebastian Garcia

An Undiscovered Talent

Sebastian Garcia always knew he wanted to own his own business, but he didn’t foresee the lifelong passion and skills that would grow from it. “My brother and I always talked about opening a tattoo shop together.” As Sebastian’s brother had been a tattoo artist for 13 years and Sebastian was studying business finance, it seemed initially clear who would be behind the desk and who would hold the needle. “In 2017, we opened Rosa Negra Tattoo with the plan that I would manage the business and he would be the artist. But as I watched him work, I realized I wanted to learn too. I kept drawing and getting better and liking it more. By 2018, I was tattooing customers.”

Shutting Down and Moving Out

“We make every piece with love. It’s not just a tattoo, it’s a personal experience. And of course, the tattoos are really good.” By 2019, Sebastian and his brother’s artistic talents and vision earned them Best Tattoo Parlor in Miami by the Miami New Times. However, their success was abruptly paused in March 2020 when COVID-19 hit Miami and a mandated shut-down forced Rosa Negra to close. “It was stressful because we had no idea when we would be able to work again.” By mid-May, issues beyond their control with their landlord forced them to vacate their space and move into a temporary location. “We were frustrated, but we knew it was out of our hands.”

During this time, Sebastian received support and guidance from Ascendus. “When the shut-down happened, my loan consultant contacted me to see how I was doing and give me resources about applying for loans. She also let me know about the loan deferments Ascendus was giving so I applied for that as well.” The deferment from Ascendus alleviated some of Sebastian’s financial uncertainty and the conversation with his loan consultant provided him with the tools to navigate available funding. “Through both loans I’ve had with Ascendus, my loan consultant has always been super helpful.”

This Time Without the Hugs

Despite its challenges, Sebastian sees the temporary closing of his business as a valuable time for self-reflection. “I was able to focus more on myself and to realize there are things in life just as important as work.” The business has reopened in a new temporary location with new safety precautions that, while most are seamlessly abided by, Sebastian jokes that others might take some getting used to. “Sometimes customers try to come in for a hug and we have to tell them we can’t do that.” Sebastian is appreciating the opportunity to work again while continuing to make future business plans. “We want to find a new location, somewhere we can make our own and continue to make people happy.

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