Madison indigenous finds achievement in business ventures | Southern West Virginia

MOUNT Enjoyable, Pa. — Richie Ray has fond recollections of investing much of his youth expanding up in the Madison space.

“I attended Danville Elementary university and later on Madison Elementary, and then we moved,” Ray explained by means of a phone interview. “My aunts and uncles even now are living in Madison right now. I even now have a bunch of relatives there. When I visit, a great deal of it appears to be the similar to me from when I was rising up.”

Ray utilized to commit a good deal of time in the Coal Valley News places of work as a youth. His mom, Diane Ball, wore a number of hats for the paper which includes receptionist, circulation and marketing duties.

“I can nonetheless don’t forget the layout of that setting up,” he claimed. “I would engage in in the making although she would be functioning on advertisement placement. Staying there and watching her do that has generally caught with me. I was most likely among 6 and 8 years outdated.

Ray, 43, said that wanting back again, he realizes how lucky he was.

“We didn’t notice how good we had it then,” he reported. “Once I was touring as a musician, I believed each and every position was like that and it definitely was not.”

Ray toured as a singer/songwriter with the act “Shindig” for in excess of a 10 years, but today he has settled into a far more domestic life in Pennsylvania with his spouse, Stormy Knight, and 10-calendar year-old son, Milo.

Ray, a 1996 graduate of Sissonville Significant Faculty, spent 18 yrs residing in the Louisville-metro area of Kentucky, which place him just a 5-hour push from numerous metropolitan metropolitan areas as he committed to a demanding recording and touring routine right before opening a recording studio wherever he would produce up-and-coming functions in different genres. He said he under no circumstances consciously sought to leave the Mountain State, but it was a lot more about geography and accessibility at the time.

“I really do not know if I was only driven or didn’t have any very good sense,” he said, laughing. “Likely a little bit of equally.”

Now, Ray is the proprietor of “That Banner Dude,” a comprehensive-support printing corporation that specializes in nearly anything from novelty items like large college sporting activities buying and selling card sets to gigantic commercial banners and signals.

“I learned to create my personal promotional items years ago primarily based on a have to have,” he claimed. “I often desired amazing album covers for my band and fliers for our displays and T-shirt models, but no just one all over was executing what I wished, so I dove into learning how to do that and I genuinely get pleasure from graphics function.”

One particular of Ray’s designs went viral on a national level when he made a trading card in 2020 for Joe Unique, a character from the Netflix sequence “Tiger King.”

“I offered the to start with batch I designed practically promptly,” he stated. “It just took off.”

Ray obtained word that Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, much better regarded as “Joe Unique,” was obtaining requests to signal the cards from jail, exactly where he is serving a 22-yr sentence similar to rates of animal abuse.

Ray also saw achievement with a wrestling-themed card match that made in excess of 150,000 playing cards.

The entrepreneur’s latest undertaking will come with a greeting card business identified as “Flawmark” that specializes in humorous greeting cards for virtually every occasion. The plan stemmed from Ray’s motivation to develop pandemic-themed Christmas playing cards. The website calls the 43 cards it features “tongue-in-cheek and occasionally offensive” humor. The Xmas cards bought out, and he realized he was on to a little something unique.

The pandemic had quickly shut the doorways of quite a few of the frequent consumers of his printing small business, so he appeared to think exterior the box.

“It was encouraging to see the over-all response to it, and it was put alongside one another relatively immediately, but with awareness to element and cautious promoting methods,” he extra.

Ray has identified a area of interest for his product or service and has begun distributing to retail stores on the East Coast with hopes of continuing a regular, wholesome advancement.

The most well-known Christmas supplying was a Grinch-themed card that proposed that it was the Grinch who established COVID-19.

Ray explained his intent was to convey a tiny resourceful, but tasteful, humor to persons as they stressfully navigated a vacation period produced more challenging by the pandemic.

“It was rather crystal clear to me that people today acquired it and they appreciated it,” he claimed.

Themes of his playing cards involve birthdays, adore, existence occasions and farewells.

Ray explained his creative electricity will come from the need to see an strategy through to the conclude.

“I’m just a awful personnel if I’m operating for someone else,” he stated. “I have so a lot respect for people who can do that, but I’m just not wired that way. If I’m performing for myself, I’m definitely inspired and pushed like mad, but if I’m doing the job for somebody else, I just really don’t care. I can not enable it. My dad is an astounding electrician and I just marvel at what he does, but I’m just different.”

The Boone County native reported he pays close attention to pop society and traits on social media when developing new goods.

“I definitely shell out awareness to what is heading on nationally and I am continuously wondering of new concepts for what can truly market,” he claimed. “The natural beauty of printing it myself is that I can design and style some thing and put it out there and if no person likes it, I can pull it down and it’s accomplished.”

Ray explained he wants to focus additional on large school and college or university sports activities, and group investing cards are solutions that never go out of model and make excellent keepsakes.

He realizes that at some stage, he’ll likely have to outsource his printing.

“That is a superior challenge to have if you cannot preserve up with your sales,” he mentioned. “I know that as I develop that will be some thing I have to take a challenging seem at and I’m obtaining to that position now that it can be complicated. When you function for on your own, you have to make these challenging decisions. I’m definitely thrilled with my new goods and what I have on the backburner, launching in the future.”