Ralph Slaske is the founder of Slaske Creative Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in assisting clients in an incredibly diverse array of fields, as there are few industries unable to benefit from creative thinking strategies that lead to the development of innovative ideas, technologies and solutions. Through his consulting firm, Ralph has worked with companies in fields that include graphic design, custom homebuilding, advertising and film development, among countless others.
A longtime resident of Oxford, Ohio, Ralph Slaske is a graduate of Miami University and remains grateful to have been a part of an academic institution frequently recognized for its standing among the nation’s most outstanding business and entrepreneurship programs. Drawing on his academic background and an overwhelming desire to pursue a career that could combine his passion for creative thinking with his deep understanding of business and entrepreneurship, Ralph founded Slaske Creative Consulting immediately following his graduation from Miami University.
The early years of Slaske Creative Consulting saw the business operating out of the home Ralph purchased just outside of Oxford, with several of his business partners living and working out of the home alongside Ralph. From those very humble beginnings, Ralph’s business has expanded significantly over the years, with offices located in Oxford, Toledo and Cincinnati, with the Toledo and Cincinnati branches run by Ralph’s original business partners (who also happen to be his former roommates).
With the widespread success of Slaske Creative Consulting, Ralph has consistently reinvested in his Oxford home and is quite happy to remain in the home in which his business truly began.
In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?
My home was — and still is — located in Oxford, Ohio, and I purchased the home in the fall of 1996.
What was your living situation prior to buying your first house?
Before I bought my first home I was still attending Miami University, so I shared a rental house just outside of campus with several friends, many of whom helped me found the business I still run today.
What motivated you to purchase your first house?
There were a number of motivating factors that figured into the decision to buy a home, but the driving force was the opportunity to invest in a home with a great deal of potential. When I first bought the home, I rented out several rooms to a few close friends and began running my business out of one of larger rooms we converted into an office.
How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?
I worked summer jobs all through high school and college and did a fair amount of freelance work whenever I had time. Through those efforts I was able to save enough over the years to come up with the bulk of the down payment for the home.
When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family?
I was looking at it as an investment, especially since I was planning on running my business out of the home until I was able to consider expanding. The home I chose was definitely in need of some work, but I have some experience with construction and knew I could make some improvements to enhance the home’s resale value if I wanted to go that route.
What are 3 things you liked most about the house?
I absolutely loved the location in Oxford, and the size of the home and its potential value as an investment property were also very appealing.
Was there anything you didn’t like about it?
I was concerned about the total size of the property, as I was worried I would not have time to keep up with all of the landscaping responsibilities while also running a new business. My business partners and I agreed to split the duties until we could afford to bring in a professional service to take care of it.
Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?
The interior of the house is almost unrecognizable from the day I bought the home back in 1996. I installed hardwood floors throughout the home, added a fireplace and built a massive enclosed deck that overlooks the backyard, but there have been many other minor renovations over the years as well.
Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.
As a young man just out of college living alongside several other young men just out of college, there are quite a few funny stories I could share, but my fondest memory is the day we met with our very first client. That was the moment that really legitimized the fact that we were running a business that had realistic potential to expand on a widespread basis.
Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?
I still live in the home in Oxford, and things are quite different from those early days when I was still running the business out of the home. I still use the home office fairly regularly, but I now share the home with my wife and our three beautiful children, not to mention the very clumsy Great Dane that is a constant source of entertainment.
What advice would you give other first time home buyers?
Create a plan that includes a variety of potential future scenarios. When I bought my home, I considered its value as both a long-term and short-term investment, and I believed it was a home I could live in for the next 30 years or could just as easily turn into a profitable rental property. It’s important to have a several available options when making such a sizable investment.