We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Ray Goodson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney Ray, what role has risk played in your life or career?
It probably seems like I’m a high risk high reward type of person, but for me it’s about choosing to commit to myself and to go down the path that is right for me. I realized I wouldn’t find success in myself unless I chose myself and turns out, I’m a creative who has a lot of seemingly grandiose goals. So I went off the deep end and have found success in different ways at lighting speed. There have been some major highs and major lows, but I can tell you that – despite the lowest of lows – I kept going because I realized, I had never been living authentically to who I was more than this very moment. Owning a creative life and committing has been the most freeing and challenging thing for me, and I wanted to commit to it fully. I’ve sacrificed and boot strapped the hell out of this thing (working 3rd and 4th jobs to raise funds for larger and larger orders), but it’s been so freeing at the same time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
i got started in a very interesting way – Following my path from being a peace corps volunteer, afterwards I did a crowdfunding campaign called, The Power of Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle, to raise money for a friend I met while serving. She was poor but I knew she was smart and wanted to start her own small business – and so we did it! We raised over $6,000+ for her and she now is a business and home owner! From there I realized, hey, maybe I could do this myself and in time started my own brittle business. What I love most about it is that it’s my own little world that I get to create. I get to create new flavors, packaging, merch ideas, advertising ideas – you name it! Having bootstrapped my business entirely, I’ve still found opportunities along the way and met them head on. I can’t tell you how many road bumps we’ve had but when the going gets tough I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve heard the quote, ‘people overestimate what you can do in a day but underestimate what you can do in a year.’ and I’ve found that to be wildly true!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a southern gal who grew up slow & sweet in the heat of Magnolia, TX, I thought it could be fun idea to have a charming, quirky yet southern afternoon on the country-yet-hipster East side here in Austin, TX! -I figure I could pick someone up in my classic truck and we could toodle around to a few locations! -We could start by checking out a local leather goods vendor and get (borrow) some cowboy hats or fringed leather rodeo jackets – just for show. -Then we could head over to an outdoor restaurant called Eden East. It’s on a small farm, twinkle lights, farm to table, hella good food, bluegrass, of course, AND BYOB (or WINE!) 😉 I was thinking that could be a cool spot to try out some brittle! -This place always reminds me of growing up in the country, and how my brothers and I would have seed spitting contests with watermelon! Seeing as Eden East is on a actual farm – I am GAME to defend my title as the ultimate seed spitter. 😉 -…(or it doesn’t have to end there) I know of a couple honkey tonks that have craft cocktails and bluegrass music, and two stepping – my FAV! A place where old men LOVE – and I love them right back! Not only do they know how to dance – but they’re like little time capsules 😉
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My gal pals! My mom! My family! My mentors! As much as this business has challenged me to be better at discernment over myself and I’ve felt so alone so many times, I still have NOT done it all alone. My friends and family have been detrimental – stepping in when I’ve needed them most to do anything from sticking bags to packing brittle. Not to mention my mentors who helped me figure out challenging next steps and most of all, convinced me I SHOULD be at the table, I have every right as much as the next person to be doing what I’m doing and that I’ll do it well!
Jessica Arroyo Photography