OLD BRAND NEW TURNS THREE!

19 July 2013



What a fun and interesting adventure it has been these past three years. Let's back paddle a bit to see where it all began, shall we? So, my real name isn't actually Dabito. It's David. When I was in college, I had this sweet Japanese friend who called me Dabito (pronounced day-bee-toh) and it just stuck. I went to the University of California Santa Cruz and majored in Fine Arts, with a focus in printmaking. It's funny because I had no idea printmaking even existed prior to Santa Cruz. I initially applied as a chemistry major. My family pressured me into it. I seriously can't imagine me in a lab creating some sort of chemical concoction, unless maybe if it has to do with ice cream. It was a total 180. I was certain chemistry was not the path I wanted for myself. That's the great thing about college. It's all about exploring your curiosities. Realizing what you gravitate towards and what you don't like. Art just made me tick.

After graduating in 2005, I moved back home to Los Angeles. I did a short internship at a litho printing company where we printed for now big time artists like Chris Johanson and Shepard Fairey. After that ended, I couldn't find anything that was printmaking related. I tried searching for maybe even photography work since I also studied it, but no luck. It was terrifying. Was my family right? What the fuck do I do with printmaking? I worked at Urban Outfitters for a few months just to have some income. I toyed with the idea of going back to school to get my masters in graphic design, but I didn't want to rack up more debt. I was always interested in graphic design so I took the cheap route and enrolled in a community college and took all the graphic design courses after work. Community colleges are affordable with great facilities and faculties. During the day, I was working full time at a boring export/import company doing mundane admin work. I was living at home, too. I did that for two years and was fed up with it. It was time to apply my new found design knowledge. But I was insecure about my design work only because I didn't graduate with a degree in graphic design from a reputable school like Arts Center. I applied to all sorts of companies, architecture firms, too, who needed in-house graphic designers or photoshop wizards but I was getting turned down left and right.

One miraculous day though, in 2008 I went to a gallery opening in LA where one of my printmaking professors from UCSC was having a show. I mingled a bit and connected with someone there where she recommended me to intern for April Greiman at Made In Space. April is the founding mother of using Macs in graphic design. I applied that spring and got in. The internship was full time for three months with very little pay, like enough to just buy lunch every day. But I knew my time there would be valuable so I had to suck it up. Living at home helps. After three months, the internship blossomed into a more permanent position. I was mostly a studio assistant, handling all the day to day flow of the studio, emails, phones, sending out presskits, with occasional design work, and making the meanest espressos. The pay still wasn't that great but it was enough. I really loved it there and April was awesome and I learned so much.

After almost a year at Made in Space, I knew it was time to explore elsewhere. And boy did I take that exploration to a whole new altitude because I applied to be a flight attendant for Cathay Pacific Airways which is an international airline based in Hong Kong. I had a friend doing it and he was jet setting around the world and raved about how flexible and fun it was. I have always loved Hong Kong. I did my study abroad program there in my senior year in college so it felt like a third home to me. I half-jokingly applied and was surprised I got the gig. I trained intensely in Hong Kong for two months and was flying back and forth for almost two years. I was based in Los Angeles but I was living half my time there. It was great. I learned how to work with so many different people with different and difficult personalities coming from different cultures. It was a valuable skill to have. The flights were brutally long and demanding but in between flights, I had lots of time off. This is when my thrifty obsession began.

Timmy (my heartmate at the time) and I moved in together in a downtown loft in LA in 2009. I started to decorate our place which I've always dreamt of since I was a kid. A quick story about my childhood. I never had my own room growing up. I lived in a 3-bedroom house with my family of three generations all under one roof. We were packed like raccoons! Pretty ghetto. I slept in the living room til I graduated from high school. I had no privacy. I hated it. I still remember vividly every night before I went to bed, I would flip through all the IKEA catalogs like it was the bible and dreamt that one day I'll get to have my own place to decorate. It was the root to my fascination with interior decorating. Fast forward 12 years or so, I was finally on my own. I lived in an awesome loft with brick walls and I got to do whatever I wanted with it. I thrifted everyday and found the best deals and that's when I decided to blog. I was inspired by Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge and The Brick House. I was already on tumblr and was posting personal works like photography, prints and illustrations as a creative outlet. When it was time to graduate to something bigger, blogger was perfect way to go. I began documenting my thrifty gems, how to decorate on a budget, and giving new life to something old which is how I came up with Old Brand New. It took some time to find my voice and style. No one read my blog for months and I was kinda okay with it. I was blogging for myself. It wasn't until I did a holiday DIY sputnik mobile. That's when it jumped on a few blog's radar and subsequently Old Brand New took off.

As the blog grew more readers towards the end of 2010, I took blogging more seriously. I quit flying and wanted to focus on being creative again. I knew the blog was gonna play a role in finding me something awesome. Then, I opened an online shop selling my prints and vintage stuff. Around February of 2011, Justina Blakeney invited me to her LA creative potluck. I was a bit hesitant to go because I've never met any bloggers in person before. Thank god I went because all the lovely ladies (Jennifer Young, Satsuki Shibuya, Victoria Vu, and Jessica Comingore) I met then and there are still my homies now. And it's been so awesome watching everyone evolve and doing outstanding work. A month later after that meeting, I saw a tweet from Justina where she was looking for a graphic designer for Woolly Pocket. She was their creative director so I was like, sure! I responded immediately. I went in for an interview the next day and got the job. We were the perfect team but she moved on to other rad stuff like having baby Ida Sky! I'm still at Woolly Pocket and doing all their branding, websites, packaging, and photography, too, and I get to work from home so I can't complain!

It's crazy to think that I got this gig from a lil tweet from twitter through Justina who I met from blogging. So, you just never know. Blogging is seriously one of the best things I've ever done. It's a great platform to explore your own creativity and see what people respond to. You just gotta believe in yourself because if you don't, who will? If you're unhappy with your current situation, do something about it. Shake it up. It really doesn't matter where you come from or where you went. If you have ideas and passion then you'll go far. Put yourself and your work out there and let it be judged. Don't be cynical because that doesn't get you anywhere. Get out of your comfort zone and reach out to new, cool people. Say yes to things. And learn when to say no. Work hard. Be proud of your work. Own up to your work even if it sucked. Be super flexible. See what works and what doesn't and then change it. Take some risks because you'll never know where it'll take you. It's always a learning experience. Relax. Be nice. Be genuine. And make an effort to keep in touch with your good friends and weed out the shady ones. Stay humble. You're a rockstar. Hustle.

Oh my, what a long-winded story. Thank you for taking the time to hop on over to Old Brand New for your daily dose of inspiration. It truly means a lot to me. I wish I had a million bucks so I can throw a huge party and fly you all there. Seriously, you guys are the best. If you guys have any questions or feedback, feel free to comment and I will answer every one of them!

Here's a best of Old Brand New throughout the years. Enjoy!


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48 comments:

  1. What a great post Dab! Congrats! I've loved following your blog for the past couple years and am so happy for you and all the great things you've been able to do :D

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    1. Cassie, you've been so supportive since the beginning. Thank you so much. Your rock!

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  2. I bought four of the living Woolly Pocket planters for my wall. I liked the holes-in-the-cardboard guide more than I loved the planters --and I love the planters. Were you in charge of that? If so: Thank you SO much!

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    1. Hi Rab. Thank you. So happy to hear that you like the guides! I worked closely with the inventors of the Woolly Pockets to design something so it'll be easy to install for all gardeners. :D

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  3. I am SO HAPPY to have found your blog!!!!! Congrats on the third bday!

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    1. Thank you. Happy you found Old Brand New too!

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  4. Great read and great history. :) Congrats
    -Cindy

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  5. Happy blog birthday, dear friend! I so enjoyed reading about your journey, and hope to look back with you in another three years, sharing all you've yet to accomplish.

    Cheers to challenging the norm and following your passions. You inspire me, endlessly.

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    1. Thank you, thank YOU! It means a lot coming from you, Jess! And you, my friend are always a constant inspiration.

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  6. oh my goodness. this totally made me cry. well done on your amazing blog and life, dab.

    p.s. i was a photo major at art center and ended up a chef... so i guess that place isn't such a huge deal after all. ;)

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    1. Aww...you are so sweet. Thanks, Celia for all the encouraging words. Wow, I had no idea you went to Art Center and now you're a chef! That's fantastic. Maybe we should collaborate on something yummy for Old Brand New. :P

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    2. i stopped working as a chef when i moved to oakland a few years ago because the hours were just too hard to manage with a little one. but i ran the catering department at auntie em's kitchen in eagle rock for a few years, and then i started my own project. i'll collaborate any time! <3

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  7. Love the blog and love hearing the back story. Cheers - CT

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  8. Happy Birthday OBN! I wonder if blogs age like dogs (x7)... your blog would be 21! Time for a drank ;-) Cheers to the next 3!

    - Christie

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    1. Haha...Time for a drank indubidably! That's the funniest comment ever. Thank you so much, Christie!

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  9. This definitely resonated with me. I tried to please my parents by majoring in business and going to grad school for something I'm not remotely interested in. This led to my incredibly dull desk job that I've held for the past 6 years. Now I'm itching to change careers - I've been thinking about taking graphic design classes at SMCC. It's encouraging to see what you've accomplished! I love all your work. Oh, and happy birthday to Old Brand New!

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    1. Hi Karen. Thanks for sharing your story with me. I say bite the bullet and try out a couple graphic design courses at SMCC to see if it's something you'll love doing. It's never too late to start doing something you love. I have so many friends who are doing the same. Best of luck to you. And thank you so much for the encouraging words.

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  10. Happy Birthday to Old Brand New!

    Loved reading about how you ended up where you are now. You've had quite the journey! My family was also pressuring me into the sciences, (aka the stable, lucrative careers) but, like you, chose fine arts. It's difficult to fathom pursuing a career in something you're not passionate about... You certainly made the right choice!

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    1. Thanks, Julie! Cheers to choosing what we love doing. :D

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  11. Happy Anniversary to you and the blog Dab! I wish you continued success and joy! I'm now in the Bay Area! So much thrifting without the fellow midcentury hoards! :)

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    1. Hi Allan! Whoa, you're in the Bay Area now?! How's everything going? And my goodness, I am so jealous of your thrifty adventures up there. Maybe I should move up too. Haha. Hope all is well.

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    2. Hey Dab,

      I love it here! It's a homecoming as I used to live here! Move!!!

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  12. don't know what else to say except for that I hear you so much!

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  13. Happy blog anniversary, Old Brand New! I'm so glad I found you (and Dab) via sfgirlbybay—when I saw your purple velvet armchairs I knew I had found a new regular blog to follow. Love your style and your positive approach to everything. :)

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  14. What a genuine and heartfelt post, Dab! I've admired your style the very day I found your blog, and am seriously so happy we got to meet this year. You need to speak at a conference or something... :) Hugs from SF!

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  15. Happy bloggerversary, Dab! Your blog is one of my favorite stops in the digital world and has ALWAYS inspired me to shuffle at home myself:-) You are a genius and keep up inspiring us! Cheers from Munich!

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  16. Awesome! Didn't know you were a flight attendant. I've just graduated (from UCSC too!) and I was thinking of being a Flight Attendant -- I love the idea of travel all around the world. Pros/Cons? Do ya think I should go for it?

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    1. Hello fellow slugger! I love meeting other people from UCSC. I miss it so much up there. Do you know which airline you're planning to fly with? I think you should go for it if you don't have anything lined up. Better to do it while you're still young and energetic because it's a very demanding job. I flew long haul flights so it was tough on the body and the time changes really screwed up my sleeping patterns but it was totally worth it. I got to travel, meet up with friends around the world. I only did it for two years. It's definitely a conversation starter too. So many funny flying stories of passengers. And if you don't like it, you can always quit. Best of luck! Keep me posted on your adventures! :D

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  17. Lovely post, really appreciate that you took the time to share your story.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my story. :)

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  18. Happy birthday to Old Brand New!!!! As you probably know by now, I've loved your blog ever since the day I found it (and obsessively went through all the posts from the past that I had missed). This post is the greatest (and definitely something I needed to see right now - I need to shake it up myself). You're the best.

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  19. Happy 3rd Dab! So nice to read about your life; where you've been, where you're at and where you're heading. I hadn't really realised that I knew nothing about you (apart from what you show here on the blog and on instagram) until I started reading this post. I just enjoyed your space regardless! I also like how you just revealed your name like that; I've had a pseudonym for all of my online life, and feel that I should out myself soon. No biggie right?! Anyways, thanks for sharing your pictures and may there be many more years of old brand new to come!

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  20. Wow, what an encouraging and inspiring journey you've been on. Thanks for sharing, Dab. And a very happy birthday to Old Brand New!

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  21. I love hearing life stories like this. You are such an inspiration!!!

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  22. Congrats on 3 years! I adore your blog for three reasons; your writing style is so comfortable and inspiring, you never try to portray yourself as being anything other than who you really are (and you come across as such a warm, open, thoughtful person) and, lastly, your style rocks! My very favorite post (besides your wonderful backstory today) was your Sea of Love Home Tour back in 2011- SO happy to revisit it today :) If you ever decide to sell your bead spread and the amazing blanket on your bed *please, oh please* drop me a line before you Craigslist it! Here's to many more years and many more evolutions of of Old Brand New!

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    1. Happy belated birthday to your blog,it's been fun :)

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  23. this makes me smile so much — 

    i'm amazed at & reminded of how quickly time passes, how you never know until to you try, how to persevere or to switch it up, how to grow..! i'm glad you are you & that we met & get to share a bit of life together. i'm thankful for the flowers, the good eats, the support, & for your inspiration, always.

    hb, obn!

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  24. All the pics are superb.
    You have manage & compiled really a unique & real information. Its really very helpful for us. You've made some great points and it’s written really well.
    howtofindwhatyouneed.com

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  25. I loved reading this Day-Bee-Toh! An amazing insight into where you've come from, and so inspiring. Your blog is the best!

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  26. sigh, I loved reading this. really inspiring & totally approachable. love that you were a flight attendant! rad!

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  27. I've been wondering what your real name is. Hah. I found you on Instagram and loved your style. I never had my own room growing up either (still don't have one now) and I feel you on that. I'm so inspired by this post and I'll certainly appreciate what I'm doing now more. Thanks for sharing! Also, flight attendant is really cool. :)

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  28. enjoyed reading your longest post ever!
    seems like I learn something more + more personal about you every time.
    cheers to your mom + sticking to art! congrats.

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  29. Happy belated Old Brand New Birthday Dab!! I love this post on many many levels and am so glad that we had a chance to work together. I'm excited about everything that lies ahead :-)

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  30. What an inspiring chronicle Dab! I loved reading about your evolution from high school kid in a cramped house to the fabulous Dabito whom we all love and know today. So glad you followed your passions, isn't it great when the payoff matches the blood and sweat and tears you put into it? Happy anniversary!

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  31. So amazing. Thank you for making the internets so beautiful and super cool! Love you and look forward to more years to come!

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