Today we’d like to introduce you to Maritza Gomez.
Maritza, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was brought to the US when I was nine years old, we arrived in the Summer and by Fall I was at starting a new school. A lot changed that summer, new country, new language, new culture… a new life. I don’t remember much before of my childhood before coming to the USA. Some may say, the trauma from the change may have blocked my memory. To me, my life starts at nine years old. I went to an elementary where it was mainly Anglo, the few Spanish speakers, didn’t want nothing to do with me, therefore I was forced to learn English very quick. By the end of that school year, I was reading on my own (pronouncing the letters out loud, even if I didn’t know what they meant 🙂 ) Two years later, I was translating for the teachers during parent meetings. My mother always told me I had to focus on my studies, and I did. I guess you can say I was a nerd, even wore the thick glasses and braces and was the tallest one of my class and group of friends.
When my friends were getting ready to take college prep classes in high school, my counselor advised me that I didn’t need those classes because I was not going to go to college. At that time, I did not know what she meant, but I still took the SAT because I knew colleges wanted the scores. I started applying to 4-year universities and that is when I found out I couldn’t attend because I was undocumented. Even though my paperwork was already filed to adjust my status, I did not know how long it would take for me to actually get my visa. I wasn’t going to wait around, I applied to my local community college, at that time they weren’t making your SSN mandatory. I was accepted, attended right after high school and nine years later, I received my AA in office administration. My status was still in limbo, the wait line didn’t seem to move each year. I found a place that would hire me regardless of my status and worked there while going to school to get my AA, at that time, they were paying me $30 a day for 10 hours. I had left but couldn’t get hired anywhere else, so I went back, thankfully this time I was making more money. When the CA Dream Act came in to effect, I was able to go back to school as an AB540 student to continue my education. In 2016, I received my bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship from California State University, San Bernardino.
In 2014, I decided to create a job for myself. Along with my mother, we founded MG Custom Printing. I wrote my business plan with the assistance of the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center. I was a student and a business owner and undocumented. At the end of my Junior year, I met a group of amazing women who were in the same situation at me, but they had qualified of DACA, I didn’t. They along with the campus and two phenomenal advisers provided a space where I can share my undocumented story and as I like to say. Lit my inner chingona fire. I am on the board of directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners- Inland Empire Chapter. This position along with all of my achievements have been while being undocumented. I did not let my status impede me from setting and achieving my goals, it has taken longer but I am on track and paving the way for other individuals that are in the same situation I was in.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a journey full of hurtles because of my status. Not getting student loans, business loans because not everyone accepts and ITIN for personal credit.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
MG Custom Printing’s mission is to contribute to the growth of artist and entrepreneurs by providing digital printing solutions with attention to detail and low minimums.
We are known for our mugs, we have our own designs and mugs are our best sellers among our wholesale clients.
We are proud to be helping other businesses grow with our products because we are allowing them to mix and match their designs, this gives them a better idea of what their customers will like and only order what they need instead of having inventory that is not selling.
Our ability to mix and match designs, customer service, quality and the professional relationship we have with our clients is what sets us apart.
What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been a positive person, I try to see the best of any situation, I am a good listener, leave drama at the door.
I was a quiet person, still am, but learning to voice my opinion. I enjoy helping people and not expecting anything in return.
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