Just Be Fly (literally)

Dayton-based logo wear company takes off

By Sara McKinniss

Just Be Fly

Just Be Fly

Dayton has long been a forerunner in innovation as the birthplace of aviation, but it is also home to those making headway within the fashion industry. Childhood home of Scott Sternberg (Band of Outsiders), Les Wexner (Limited Brands), Althea Harper (Althea Harper/Project Runway), and many others, the city has churned out its fair share of fashion moguls over the years. The spirit of innovation is what is keeping local designer Daymian McGuire busy with his new line of Just Be Fly (JBF) logo wear. While for some it might take a lot of self-confidence to don a bold shirt that says, “Just Be Fly,” for McGuire it’s the expression that says it all and it was the inspiration to start the business.

“When people asked me what they should wear, I always responded, ‘Just be fly’ and … that’s when the bells and whistles started going off,” said McGuire, owner of JBF. “I sat down at the computer and trademarked the name. I had designed for myself and others, but … immediately after that moment, I knew this was it.”

Despite the moment of inspiration, McGuire is an entrepreneur by trade and, as a business owner, he knew launching JBF had to be both profitable yet still maintain its creative distinction.  In the fashion industry, usually a person knows either the business or creative side better. However, for McGuire, the dollars make sense but the creativeness is just as important.

“In just the last two to three years of JBF’s existence, so as an entrepreneur certain parts of the business come easier for me than others,” said McGuire. “I’m not scared to take risks as [a business owner], but it’s been a slow build because you only have so much capital to work with but you make it work.”

Though the initial start-up of JBF ‘s launch was at first slow according to McGuire, the interest in the brand is not. McGuire flies across the country on a regular basis to meet with local independent boutique owners to work on making deals to have JBF merchandise carried in stores. Meetings with Ohio-based owners and business trips to meet with owners in Miami, Atlanta and Chicago are proving to be successful for McGuire in that he better understands the boutique owners’ needs while addressing his own.

“I am a business owner, but I am also a family man,” said McGuire. “I have a lot of responsibilities and to invest a lot of time and money in this project is something I cannot do all the time. I’m using all the tools I can to expand the brand and make it what [I know it can be.]”

Despite the hiccups the business side of the brand can bring, McGuire’s creativity is heavily vested in the desired success for JBF. McGuire creates 90 percent of the designs that are produced for JBF, and he regularly collaborates with other designers to learn and grow. In doing so, he wants to help people of all backgrounds to know what it truly means to just be fly.

“My goal with the whole concept is to create a brand that is cross-cultural and reaches everyone,” said McGuire. “JBF does that. People connect with it regardless of background, religion or socioeconomic status… When I was at Miami International Airport a couple of weeks ago, I received several positive compliments from a diverse group of people while waiting in the terminal just because I was wearing a shirt that said, ‘Just Be Fly.’ That meant something.”

As a business owner, McGuire believes in the concept of social responsibility and, through JBF, hopes to provide funding and support for just causes that are close to him. McGuire is particularly passionate about helping youth be their best. It is the goal of JBF to support groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Campfire USA and the Boys and Girls Club of America.

These organizations work with youth from all social backgrounds and encourage them to overcome obstacles to be the best they can in life. McGuire believes this is parallel to the brand’s core message to “just be fly.”

“To be able to help young adults create a philosophy about life that no matter what the circumstances may be, it’s important for them to remember to just be fly,” said McGuire. “By taking that philosophy as something that’s just not a cool aspect, it’s about teaching youth to take things in stride, believe in themselves and help them succeed in whatever they desire. The brand gives them something tangible to understand what being fly is all about.”

In the future, JBF aspires to continue its mission of social responsibility by donating more time and resources to causes close to the brand’s messaging, expanding its availability outside of the dot-com world in specialty stores across the country and of course, to continue to just be fly.

To look at the latest designs from Just Be Fly or to learn more about McGuire’s business/creative savvy, visit www.justbefly.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Sara McKinniss at SaraMcKinniss@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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