Dae Lim, co-founder & CEO
Five Questions about Sundae School, growing up in-between South Korea, and the United States.
World-Class cannabis, richly textured and studied success, all tempered by deep humility and a history far greater than anyone here (meaning the USA), would even comprehend, nor understand. Let me share with you, I was immediately taken by Dae Lim. So self assured, highly polished yet approachable and peacefully humble. This quietly handsome, soft-spoken young man, the kind who is filled with tons of self-confidence, but not filled with himself…He is clearly on the path to success. But certainly not in any manner of aggression, nor boastfulness. No, this young man clearly had been schooled in the lost art of humility, the kind that really cannot be taught, it is passed down, from grandparent, to parent, to son. His outward showing appearance is crisp and fresh, wearing designs from his heart without flashy embellishments. He’s the classic preppy kid, with studied style. Memorable is how I’d call his appearance. I love that Sundae School design is found in Barneys, NY because there is the ready-to-wear collection available to anyone, not just that group of financially advantaged Asian kids who all went to top schools. It’s really good looking clothing that’s affordable. He wears the brick-and-mortar stuff, his brand. That alone makes Dae a man. He’s not your atypical kid from somewhere else, schooled in the finest in the land and then become something he is absolutely not, or what someone else wanted him to become. He didn’t want to follow someone else’s dreams. He has his own, and they’re brilliant. This is a smart kid who knows more than your honor student. I promise you, but you’d never know it. He takes nothing for granted and that work-ethic is very apparent in every word he chooses. You can’t ignore it, just like the DNA of the company. His hard-earned authenticity, it’s in there. He gets it. I dig it. And the cannabis? Finest kind.
Some tasting notes are in order: It screamed Salinas, California. The former flower capital of the United States is all -California and all grown up. Now they are growing cannabis in this sunshine. The sample that I enjoyed had gushy fruit salad notes and a focused purity that only California sunshine can offer. You can taste it in every puff, every hit gets you really nicely medicated! A win-win! Dae deserves the highest accolades for his utter tenacity, his intensity all achieved without boastfulness. He exemplifies what I believe the next generation of talent will become, because they get it. These are the people I want to be aligned personal success, instead of becoming mere worker-bees in life. Dae is not content to be like any others because he is not like any of the others. I know this because every answer that Dae extracted from this assignment is not only correct, but here’s why it is correct. That’s the kind of response that procures my attention. I’m honored to be able to share your intimate story, Dae. And this is especially lucky to have enjoyed a bit of your time. That’s the really cool thing because I know exactly how hard it is to get things done before you run out of hours in a day. Cheers to your future in life.
WB: Where are you from? What was it like to receive an Classic, American prep school education. It was prep school? A boarding-school I trust? (I went to day- prep school, a long time ago-for virtual reference). Where did you learn English? Were there other Asian kids at your school?
Dae Lim: I’m from Seoul, Korea. More specifically, from Daechi-dong, the capital of constantly fatigued kids and their overzealous parents. I started studying English early on in elementary school and came over to America on my own when I was 13 years old. There was a culture shock at first and the whole concept of boarding school was confusing, especially coming from an environment where everyone looked like me to one where almost no one looked like me. But as an optimist, I found the silver lining in cannabis.
WB: Why cannabis? What are your influences? Tell me about the Korean confluence between cannabis and youth. Where do you see yourself in six months? Tell me about your company.
Dae Lim: Sundae School is a smokewear label and cannabis brand that makes high-end goods. The ready-to-wear collection and accessories are available at department stores like Barneys NY and the cannabis line—launching soon in April—will be stocked at local dispensaries. Growing up in Seoul, there was and still is a stigma towards cannabis so I grew up believing that everything affiliated with it was devilish. However once I came to America, weed and the camaraderie surrounding it became a crucial part of my experience with American culture and played a big part in shaping my Korean-American identity.
Cannabis is a catalyst that unlocks creativity and invites collaboration. At Sundae School, we believe in smoking with intent to accompany higher education and creative pursuits. Dubbed as “honor rollers”, we want to spotlight the functional stoner and represent those who smoke to chase intellectual or creative highs while challenging the traditional stoner stereotype. That’s very much been my personal journey with weed as well—whether I’m conceptualizing my vision for the brand or unwinding at the end of the day, it always enhances and elevates the experience.
While Seoul and New York have been the main playing fields, Sundae School is now heading to the wild wild West. The cannabis launch in California includes pre-rolls that feature three different classes of cannabis offerings across the sativa, indica and CBD spectrum as well as yuzu and matcha-flavored disposable vapes. The .3 gram bullet pre-rolls will pack a tiny but mighty punch in a pack of eight and our party size one-gram hitter will come solo. These bullet-sized joints will be the perfect single dose to jumpstart productivity and creativity, with enough rolls in a pack to pass around for a more shared experience. Similar to the ready-to-wear collection that’s infused with playful storytelling and functional design, our approach to weed is just as fun and thoughtful and we can’t wait to grow our community this year.
WB: Do you cook? If so who taught you? Mother? Father? Grandparents? TV cooking shows?
Dae Lim: My mother always said that cooking is a function of two factors—time and ingredients—and the balance of the two brings out the best flavors. I cook pretty often at our studio day-to-day and have also hosted dinners with a THC-infused menu. Currently, I’m developing our vape pen flavors and it’s been such a trip (literally) to revisit my favorite recipes and flavors from my childhood in Seoul and to bring a taste of home into the brand. It is a process that requires constant R&D and learnings, but the process of creation is worth it.
WB: Is there anything you prepare that brings a tear to your eye when you eat or prepare it. Why?
Dae Lim: Onions! Aside from garlic, it’s a foundational ingredient in Korean cuisine so the onions are always sweating, while I’m constantly crying. (Ed. note: Thank you for that response!)
WB: Is there anyplace in the world you would like to be right now? Doing what? With whom?
Dae Lim: I’m currently in Los Angeles beta-testing (or beta-tasting) products with old friends and new. I’ve been collecting feedback from everyone I meet and the iterative learning process has definitely been the most fun and fruitful part of the business. I’m also planning a trip out to Seoul and Tokyo later this year to research fresh flavors, interesting pairings and different herbal ingredients and remedies which I’m stoked about. That being said, if Rihanna offered to fly me out and put me up in a five-star hotel in the Maldives, who am I to say no?
WB:Dae, I wish you the very best of success because you are hitting it by being yourself. You are highly (to coin that phrase) aligned, with regard to cannabis, life and success. I tried your signature cannabis and it’s every bit as brilliant as your ebullient personality and effervescent charm. Your cannabis is world class, just like your brand. You are clearly going places.
World, take notice!