Student to CEO: How a High Schooler Created a Thriving Business

Starting a business is a daunting task for anyone, but it can seem like an impossible dream for a high school student. However, for one enterprising OLu junior, a love of surfing combined with a creative approach to social media led to the launch of a thriving surf clothing business. Meet Larry Flores, Orange Lutheran student and owner of Surf Trip Supply.


The Beginning of Surf Trip Supply

Larry started just two years ago with hand-drawing designs during Covid. He found his passion for drawing and had the idea to create t-shirts. With $150 of his own money and no financial investment from his parents, Larry spent weeks on his own dedicated to figuring out the printing and manufacturing process in his room. 




Starting with a small batch of t-shirts that he sold to his friends and family, Larry invested his profits back into the business to grow as fast as possible. Photoshoots were held, with close friends and family as models, on the beach or in a rented studio. He started his advertising on Instagram and eventually moved over to TikTok, where going viral changed everything. 




Going Viral on TikTok: 

With an anonymous customer using Kim Kardashian as a name during checkout, Larry went to TikTok to laugh about how funny it would be if it were actually her. To his surprise, the video went viral and drove immense traffic to his website. As his videos went viral, he was inundated with orders and requests for more products. He immediately saw 40 new orders that day, and his account skyrocketed to over 100,000 followers. His business saw financial growth 30 times over and began to sell out quickly of products. His top seller, a two-tone corduroy hat, sold out in just 45 seconds! Larry’s unique style and approach to marketing his business through TikTok set him apart from others in the industry. He quickly gained a reputation as a creative and innovative brand. 




Building a Strong Brand Through Faith: 

Being a high school student running a business can be a challenging task, but for some, it can also be an opportunity to strengthen their faith. For Larry, navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurship has been made possible by relying on his strong faith in God. Despite facing many struggles, from financial limitations and slow business in the beginning to an overwhelmingly large amount of orders later on, he has found comfort and guidance through faith. Larry believes that with hard work, determination, and faith in God, anything is possible. By taking time to pray, he finds the clarity and peace of mind needed to make important business decisions, marketing content, and rise to the demand of constant new orders. This student knows that faith is not a substitute for hard work, but rather a supplement that provides them with the strength and courage needed to persevere through tough times. In the beginning, Larry would have been thrilled to get a single customer a day. It would have been understandable to throw in the towel when he was only receiving four orders a month. However, he persevered, and due to his dedication, patience, and faith, Larry is now making over six figures a year in sales! Through his experiences, he has learned that even when things seem impossible, faith can be the driving force that propels him to success.



Larry’s advice to those starting a new business: 

Larry believes it is important for any entrepreneur to remember that they should not be too worried about other people's opinions when starting a business. Many successful business owners have faced skepticism and negativity from those around them, but they persevered and succeeded. Worrying too much about what others think can hinder the process of starting a business. It can lead to indecisiveness, self-doubt, and even the abandonment of great ideas. Instead, it is crucial to focus on the business's vision and goals and have confidence in one's abilities and ideas. Of course, it's always good to listen to constructive feedback and advice, but ultimately, the decision to move forward with a business idea should come from within. By not being overly concerned with the opinions of others, entrepreneurs can free themselves to take risks, innovate, and ultimately create something truly unique and valuable. 


Stay Connected:

You can follow Larry and his business at @Surftripshop on Instagram and @Surftripsupply on TikTok. You can view his products and shop at his website, Surf Trip Supply plants a tree for every order placed, so your support will positively impact both Larry and the environment. The Lancer family looks forward to watching Surf Trip Supply grow.


Larry with Products


Topics from this blog: Community Meet a Lancer