See how a woman from Bond Hill recently achieved her dream of designing a shoe for Nike, and how her neighborhood inspired it all.
There’s something special about Ray Ball. She has an infectious smile, a deeply creative mind that makes for the most fascinating conversations and a soul on fire to do big things. And she loves nothing more than you getting all this from a girl from Bond Hill.
“Disrupting an industry dominated by people who don’t look, act or think like myself,” she says of her career aspirations. “Seeing businesses win and the smiles on client’s faces.”
The inspiration behind her getting into marketing came from the blog that she started called, “A Few Hungry Girls,” that started in 2014. “Between creating my own content and learning to use social media to drive traffic to my blog is what gave me the marketing bug,” Ray Ball, Founder and Creative Project Manager at BallR Media.
Ball’s favorite part of working for BallR Media has been the creative aspect. Through her marketing experience, she got the chance to design a shoe for Nike through the Nike By You x Cultivator program. “This program works with creatives to provide a platform to spread their messages to the masses by designing a custom Nike show and pushing it through Nike’s digital platforms,” Ball says.
When she found out she got the opportunity, Ball ran around her house, along with her dog, Ocho, she laughs.
She has always dreamed about designing her own shoe. “The first sneaker I ever purchased with my own money was an Air Max 1, the same shoe I ended up designing,” Ball says. “I ran my first sneaker shop at 15, I think technically, I was the intern/manager. This is still a dream come true for me, especially for a girl from, Bond Hill, from Cincinnati, from Ohio, heck, from the Midwest!”
The name of her shoe is called Neighborhood Rose. “It’s titled after what inspired me, my neighborhood. My community is filled to the brim of roses that grew from concrete,” Ball says.
She wanted the design of her shoe to tell a story. “After going back and forth between a design the consumer would like and a design that I could tell my story with, I went with my heart,” Ball says. “I created over 50 designs and each time came back to the design that resonated with my purpose.”
Ball’s design features a full suede material “I went with the suede piece that’s also rose because suede is a very tough, very durable product but it’s still very smooth and it’s very reminiscent of our neighborhoods,” Ball explained for an interview with WKRC, one of the many local and national media outlets covering the news. The design was then sold online and sold out within days.
Since designing her shoe, her confidence has grown. “Sometimes I struggle with social anxiety and this pushed me to confront my insecurities, my fears, thus forcing me to grow beyond measure. There was a time I’d tremble at the thought of communicating and engaging with thousands of people all over the nation,” Ball says. “Now, I invite speaking engagements and more importantly, I now accept that my dreams aren’t big enough! It’s about going after your dreams and goals, despite your fears. If you don’t push yourself, push your limits, how will your world ever expand? Shoot your shot at life.”
She is unique because of her imagination and creativity. “I’m a hybrid, when it comes to being a creative. I can envision anything, but I can’t draw, sing, dance or design to save my life,” Ball says. “However, I’ve learned to collaborate and build a team to execute the vision. I think it’s incredibly important to work with other women, but also show men that there’s no level playing field when you play your game and still win at it.”