Sex and ice cream are two life necessities that unequivocally go hand in hand, but for shop owner and designer Nicole Leth, her shop's tongue-in-cheek moniker is more than a clever combination.
For Leth, Sex + Ice Cream is a physical representation of her own self-empowerment after overcoming trauma. After experiencing heartbreak at age 18, Leth decided to exact revenge in the only way she knew how—through fashion.
"I just really wanted to give this guy the middle finger; I thought I loved him, but I was soon faced with reality," said Leth. "I was a textile student at the time, and I decided to fuel my creativity and create my own brand as the ultimate 'eff you'."
As if Leth's custom-made garments and accessories didn't already scream stylish, unadulterated feminism, Sex + Ice Cream is a permanent shout-out to her ex.
"When we were together, we would eat ice cream after having sex. After our breakup, he made me believe I would never have that kind of connection in my life again until I made 'our thing' just my thing," said Leth.
Armed with new motivation, Leth threw herself into her schoolwork, applying everything she learned in textile manufacturing to her Sex + Ice Cream line. Her designs are quirky, fun and drenched in pastels, plus she features the work of artists relatively unknown in Midwest.
"I wanted my store to stand as my personal diary like once you stepped in, you were entering part of me," said Leth. "I wanted to create a place where everyone could feel free to express themselves freely. I often find myself giving young girls love advice, and I am always so excited when people feel the same connection to the brand as I do."
Leth opened the first location of Sex + Ice Cream in 2016 in Kansas City, and now she's planning on her second store opening this summer in Des Moines, Iowa, exactly a year after her first.
"I don't really have goals anymore," laughed Leth. "After that first store opening, I achieved my biggest goal in life, and now I'm just one hundred percent open to whatever will happen next."
From starting her first brick-and-mortar store just a year ago to fostering a successful indie fashion brand, Leth is pretty much the definition of a girl boss. And her advice to others also pursuing their passions?
"Work really hard, and even when everything seems super negative, always find the positive. Everything eventually works out when you never stop working!"
If you can't make it to Sex + Ice Cream in person, you can head to the online shop for a sampling of the store's eclectic offerings. But if you do find yourself at one of Leth's locations, be sure to stop in for a can of La Croix and life advice while you pick out the perfect patriarchy-crushing outfit.