We had the good fortune of connecting with David Hays and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
My wife and I have three young kids. Our daughter’s name is Drew (8) and the boys are Rowdy (5) and Tate (2). We made a decision early on to not give our kids devices or screen time. We actually do not keep an iPad in the house and rarely have a laptop open. We try hard to keep the kids busy with other activities. Drew is really into arts and crafts and playing ‘school’ with neighborhood kids in our treehouse. She is also a very good softball player. The boys are always dirty. Both seem to be really into sports. The kids really enjoy fishing and taking care of a beehive we started last May. I feel like this approach has really boosted their creativity and teaches them to problem solve.

Drew and Rowdy have been very interested in what Daddy has been doing since we launched rOks. What’s interesting about that is they never really asked questions when I was working a corporate gig. Now, they love telling people we have a family company and enjoy coming up to the warehouse. We actually launched the company in our neighbor’s garage, so they have watched rOks come to life.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’ve always felt it is hard to tell someone about where you are without telling them where you have been. I worked my way through college bartending. Working behind the bar was where I got some of my best education in reading people and situations. Most importantly, I learned how valuable of a skill listening is. After college, I found my way onto a drilling rig, working as a directional hand. I spent 3 years working on the rigs and then transitioned into my first sales role. Over the next 10 years I worked for 3 different oil and gas companies in business development roles. The majority of my free time during that 10-year period was spent brainstorming business ideas. The majority of that brainstorming occurred while building or fixing something and ranch trips.

The timing and idea finally aligned Memorial Day weekend, 2020. That weekend was when we first discovered and began developing what is now our first product, rOks. rOks is a patent pending ice tray which allows for the customization of each ice cube using interchangeable inserts that come in a variety of letters, symbols, numbers and logos. Our 6-cube tray that makes 2″x 2″ cubes. rOks is a fun product and we are having a ton of fun building it. We aim to be the small detail in life’s big and small events. We want to help people smile, to create little moments of happiness and to make a difference.

I would say our biggest differentiator is Josh and I’s commitment to delivering a quality product all the way down to the tiniest details. We will not sacrifice the integrity of our product and brand in exchange for a few extra bucks. In my opinion, that is becoming more and more rare. We rigorously tested rOks prior to our production order. Between Josh, myself and a few trusted friends, we made around 3,300 ice cubes. 750 of those were made in 1 tray. Our buddy Blake really got into the R&D and made around 300 test cubes. Thanks Blake. My wife was very happy to get the freezer back when we wrapped up testing.

What are the lessons I learned along the way? There is no chance I can list everything, but the lessons range from learning how to work with an overseas manufacturer to learning graphic design, the patent process and social media (I have never had Instagram, Facebook, TikTok prior to rOks). I think the path of an entrepreneur can be compared to a journey with no port. Your business is always in process. You are always learning something new or putting out a fire that you didn’t know was coming and I am loving every minute of it. However, by far the most profound lesson learned is that without the help of really good people, friends and family it would have been nearly impossible to accomplish building out rOks. I feel this is where you need a little bit of luck. As rOks was being built, we contracted two of the most talented people I have ever worked with. Our engineer, Jerod, is incredibly capable and dynamic. Jerod is one of the few engineers I’ve worked with that can physically built the products he engineers. In addition to the CAD work he made our first prototypes with a 3D printer and a home injection mold kit we bought for $125.00. Tim Ryan is the founder of WinNewBiz in South Dakota and our second contract person. He is responsible for the website and Amazon aspects of rOks. In addition to being very capable in the previously mentioned disciplines, he is one of the best teachers I have worked with. He has walked us through our graphic design software, explained the ins and outs of our Shopify site and answered at least 100 of my random questions. Tim is also responsible for introducing us to Orca Shop, a company we launching a strategic partnership in the coming weeks. We refer to Tim as the Swiss Army knife because he is so versatile. Josh and I talk at least once a week about how grateful we are to have found talented guys like Jerod and Tim.

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.
I would definitely lean towards the outdoors. Memorial Park and the Eastern Glades would be at the top of my list. We would have to eat at either Irma’s or the original Ninfa’s. Potentially both. From there, we could take in a softball or t-ball game my kids are playing in at TSA. Our last stop would be Lake Conroe to rent a boat, jet ski and fish.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
That is a hard question. There are so many people in my life that have shaped, supported, encouraged and mentored me over the years. My Grandfather, we called him DeDaddy, along with my Dad made a tremendous impact on my life. They were both entrepreneurs and without a doubt the hardest working people I have ever known. They taught me new and shiny does not always equal better. The most important thing I learned from them is the value of person’s integrity. My wife, Courtnie, is and has been incredibly encouraging. She has been very supportive through the failures and setbacks on our journey here. She has made sacrifices over the years that were not always easy. I am very grateful for her.
My business partner, Josh Harris, is a career entrepreneur. He has been a mentor and driving force for me over the last decade. The lessons I have and continue to learn from him are invaluable.
Last but not least, my family and friends deserve so much credit. I talked their ears off! Thank you for listening and sorry for talking so much if you are reading this. I am very grateful for them.

Website: http://www.roksusa.com

Instagram: @roksusa

Facebook: rOks Ice

Other: TikTok- rOks USA

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