The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Boys lacrosse wins first playoff game against Grant
Letter to the reader 2024
Personal Finance 101

    BeFly Guy

    A few of Sams different designs as well as his original art project from seventh grade that helped him begin the company.
    Korina Valenzuela
    A few of Sam’s different designs as well as his original art project from seventh grade that helped him begin the company.

    “Be You, Be Fly” is the slogan that junior Sam Kim came up with in seventh grade when he was assigned an art project that involved creating a company. Sam never thought his simple shopping bag art project would evolve into a real company until his dad, an entrepreneur himself, suggested that this company could actually work while giving back to the community at the same time.

    Sam’s art project was designed on a simple, white gift bag, filled with words and pictures about “fly clothing” that showed how being yourself is cool. His whole project was centered around the idea that being yourself is enough for anyone and fitting in isn’t all that important. This starting idea has remained the same over the past few years.

    “He described a company that we thought was pretty cool and we thought he could do something with [it] and learn a little about what it takes to start a business and run it,” said Sam’s dad, also named Sam Kim. A few months later, the BeFlyNow business was up and running as a clothing company.

    The goal of Sam’s company is to create apparel that promotes being yourself and ultimately to gain experience as a business owner. Being the creative designer of his apparel, Sam makes his t-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas and even phone cases, all while keeping his slogan in mind. Sam uses computer programs to design all of the prints and custom orders, which have helped him grow and develop as a creative designer.

    Short-sleeved t-shirts are $15, long-sleeved t-shirts are $20, sweatshirts can range anywhere from $30-40, and phone cases are $20. The shirts come in all different colors and have various slogans like the original “BeFly” and other slogans like “Talk to the Paw” and “Class of 2015” that reflect Sam’s affiliation with LHS. Sam feels these prices aren’t too overpriced compared to alternative sources.

    “He is creative and skillful when it comes to designing art work or customer projects, but there are many other aspects of the business such as sales, marketing, purchasing, screening, and website management. Sam is learning all aspects of a business and definitely knows what it takes to run a business from end to end,” said Mr. Kim.

    Sam’s dad, the financial supporter of his son’s company, owns an office that has turned into the headquarters for BeFlyNow. At the office are all of the prints and shirts, but BeFlyNow does its actual sales via Sam’s customers consist of a wide variety of people including sports teams, friends, and classmates.

    “The turnaround is really fast. He can get you the shirt the day of the order,” said customer and friend of Sam, Jordan Bach.

    Another customer, junior Marissa Garapolo said “He has a lot of different colors and logos to choose from so it’s not a selective company.”

    Sam’s biggest supporters are his parents. Sam is thankful for his dad’s faith and confidence in his business and knows that he wouldn’t have been this successful without the financial help of his dad. “I gave him seed starting money of $5,000 to start and it’s been operating profitably ever since,” said his dad.

    With the importance of financial support, Sam also knows his mom’s role is essential for the organization of his company. “She’s trying to promote the company more and she’s been really big with helping me complete large orders on time,” said Sam. His mom helps with large sports team orders, like one of Sam’s greatest accomplishments with BeFlyNow, which involved designing and creating all of the jerseys for a summer team run out of Slammers, a baseball facility.

    Sam admits the company has been slow recently and his dad said “we let Sam run the business as much as he can but as a student with academics and sports, time is a precious commodity.” Running a business takes a lot of time and energy and it can be hard to keep up with the business while staying strong in all other aspects of school and activities. “I’d probably say the last half a year has been pretty tough because I haven’t had time to focus on it and my parents have been busy, too,” said Sam. Sam wants students at LHS to know he is always open for orders and his apparel is accessible online via and on his Facebook page, BeFlyNow.

    For Sam, BeFlyNow isn’t about the money. A big part of Sam’s business involves donating 20 percent to charities like the Lake County Haven, a social-service agency dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless women and children. Then profits either go to Sam for commission or back into the company itself. He feels it’s really important to give back to the community that he has grown up in. “It’s really not about the money. It’s about learning how to start a business, to market, to be financially stable. It’s more about promoting being yourself,” Kim emphasized. “A lot of people think I’m in it for the money and I’m not.”

    Sam knows how important it is to gain experience at a young age and he is currently completing an internship with one of his dad’s companies, called, to learn through direct mentoring from professionals that do product management, online marketing, order management, supply management, and finance. With Sam’s dad being an entrepreneur himself, Sam has an upper hand with programs and internships that will help him expand his knowledge on running a business so BeFlyNow can only grow bigger after his career at LHS and on into college.

    Sam absolutely wants to continue his company after he graduates high school and he is looking to collaborate in the future. “Moving forward, I could see Sam taking BeFlyNow as a brand to do many things such as clothing, merchandise, headphones, shoes, jewelry, electronics, etc.,” said his father.

    BeFlyNow has only been active for a short period of time in comparison to how long Sam wants to keep it running, so this is only the beginning. Mr. Kim added, “time will tell what comes of his company, but for now, we are proud that he is learning and appreciating what it takes to start and operate a business.”

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    BeFly Guy