My name is Ray, I am the founder of SoapSox, but more importantly I am a husband, and the proud dad of Miles, Max, and Teagan. I am also an entrepreneur, and advocate for children.
What matters most to me? My family, and more specifically being a good father. Now that I have bit more life experience... I realized I had more than a few short comings due to not having my dad in my life as a kid. I realized the same missing pieces when I worked with kids that I saw in myself.
Coming to the realization that I can deny the impact all I want, but that there was real pain and struggle attached to it was difficult.
I made a promise to myself early on that I was going to be an amazing dad. I also decided to make sure I showed the little kids I worked with the closest thing I could to a father that they didn't have. That meant showing them love, support, explaining things to them as many times as needed. Allowing them to fail, but giving them the confidence to get back up and go at it again. I wanted to teach them that you can laugh, cry, forgive, speak up for yourself, make mistakes, and still be "ok".
Subconsciously, I think I wanted to also protect the image of Black fathers, by showing the staff, and kids, that despite the mistakes of their parents I am here and will protect, love, and teach you. So with my company, that's what I plan to do on a larger level.
How does it feel to be a Black creator?
It is at times a real struggle at times. The sleepless nights, frustration, set backs, and disappointment wear on you. However, those baby steps you take turn into real progress. The little successes, quietly turn into larger accomplishments. But when you see the faces of those that are and have been watching you, and you see the impact of the realization or recognition of the belief that they can do it too, that makes it makes it all worth it.
What has brought you joy this year?
The one thing that has been my source of joy is fatherhood. This pandemic has allowed me to spend more time with my family. To talk and engage more with my kids. To learn more about them and their personalities and who they are as individuals. It's been really cool to experience that on a deeper level.
My Black joy is ?
What does Black joy mean to you?
Black joy to me is seeing the confidence in our children. The successes as a result of their hard work. The belief that they could accomplish it, set out on a path to do it, and reach those goals.
feeds my soul.
How does togetherness feed your soul?
When I'm with my friends and family I'm able to refocus on what's important. Bounce ideas and share my thoughts. Then get the love and support to go out and make it happen.
How have you stayed motivated to overcome challenges?
I check in with my mentors who both provide feedback and give me perspective. I remind myself of where I started. I also remind myself of my bigger goals which include doing more for my community, moving the culture forward.
Do you have a special take on a favorite comfort food?
I love a great steak, but have found most restaurants I ordered them from made them good at best. Since I also enjoy cooking at home, I've created a nice method for selecting and seasoning my steaks. Now my cooking is requested every time I get together with friends.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I think of my childhood, of what I enjoyed and what I think I needed. I also remember all of the challenging times working with kids and the ways my staff and I solved problems. There are tools, strategies, and moments that are better when raising children. I want my company to help provide them all.