Drive, Dedication, and Hard Work…

I think it’s important for all of our fans to read our stories, to see where we came from and how we came about, to share our past with you. Yeah, our brand was inspired by Babee the bunny, that’s just surface – there’s more to it. There’s a history of our past that made us choose this path, to be an enterprenur and make a something of ourselves. We hope our stories will inspire you, give you hope to never give up on whatever you maybe trying to accomplish in life and work hard at it. As we’ve celebrated our 5 years we felt it was time to share our personal stories.

Jason’s Story…

The past few days I have been thinking about an overall 5 year wrap up summary. It has been quite difficult for me because I want share to you all so much at the same time, I’m afraid it will all sound scattered and like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo! Its very hard for me to share any piece of personal life, to anyone for that matter. But after pondering about it and about our goals as creators and designers, I feel it is the right time now to take you to a behind the scenes look and share my story. As we have been telling stories of Fat Rabbit Farm through our brand but it is time to tell ours. I sincerely hope you keep an open heart as I am about to open up mine…

before the brand…

I was born in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles when I was 18 years old. When I was in high school in San Francisco, I met a very special person names Patty, who happen to be living in Los Angeles (yes, we had a long distance relationship for a while, as it was very tough and heartbreaking but we made it work). Right after high school I decided to follow my heart and intuition to move to Los Angeles to be with the person I knew I was meant to be with. I didn’t have any specific plan at the time but to find work and to go to college because I now had to fully support myself since I decided to move on my own. With $2,000 in my bank account that I had saved from working during high school summers, I used $1,500 to buy my first car. An awesome, red, two-door ’88 Toyota Corolla. Soon I found myself working two jobs, both retail. One was a graveyard shift, the other was during the afternoon/evening. During this time, Patty and I also enrolled into a local 2-year college to get the ball rolling with our careers using with what we had. We took the same exact classes together. It was so much fun. We were always together, doing everything together. You never saw us apart. And we still do to this day, as you can see =). We never took our time together for granted.It hurt so much to be apart for so long, when we actually finally together, we were never going to let each other out of our sights. During our long distance relationship during high school, which was ongoing for three years, we saw each other in person only three times. We kept close through AIM, snail mail letters, and the glorious “Talkabout” text messagers. Do you remember this awesome piece of technology!!? This was way before the now crazy texting with the phone thing. But the “Talkabout” became ancient history when the texting was invented on cell phones =P So to this very day, you rarely, RARELY ever see us apart.

So enrolling into college, we already know what we wanted to pursue- a career in art! Both of us loved to draw and doodle. I started drawing consistently since I was about 9 or 10. I would always ask my mom to buy me Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle coloring books so I could simply trace the artwork. I wanted to so much to “know” how to draw these awesome cartoon characters, I thought if I traced them enough I could eventually draw them with just looking at the pictures for reference. I found myself tracing and drawing everyday the popular cartoons at the time. Ever since then, I have always had a love for art, drawing, and painting. It only made sense to us to major in graphic design. We followed all the graphic design courses as well as other art classes like illustration and 3D model sculpting. Our instructor opened up our eyes in the design world with “real life” work and projects. (Thank you again Tom). All of a sudden, design began to become a part of my life the more I embraced it. I soon began to think design could help our road for a better future together. While working two jobs and a path for a career, I took a step back to look where both of our parents came from. I thought about how both sides were first generation immigrants who came to the US to work hard and make an honest living for their family. Both our parents were extremely hard workers and did whatever it took to keep food on the table but financial freedom was not to the best of their luck. I saw this, and I feared of this propable situation for us and I could not have it. We needed to take control of our lives and direct it to where we wanted it.

As we got comfortable with design and illustration we started freelance designing for friends, co workers, and businesses. I felt we were headed in the right direction with our lives- going to school, working full time, and now starting a business. We realized after clients not paying us for our work and stealing our ideas and designs, that freelance design may not be for us. We took things very personally when we encountered situations like this but we knew we had to learn from our mistakes, even though we started feeling lost in our place. We had a calling but we did not know where to look and where to find it…

the beginning…

One special day on Patty’s birthday, I thought it would be a pleasant surprise to get a cute little furball bunny. We always talked about caring for one, and that day would be the day we made it happen. I remember clearly when Patty picked out the cutest one that convinced her with the bunny’s beautiful almost purple like eyes. She was the one. We named our baby bunny, “Babee Bunny”. We had so much fun with Babee! I never thought that a bunny would have so much personality and spunk. It was a unique experience for me.

During our struggles together just trying to survive and working towards a better everyday life for us, Babee became a way to escape the bad realities of life- the struggles, the stress, just trying really really hard to do everything yourself. No matter what kind of day we could be having, we could come back home and Babee would instantly makes us laugh and smile. Patty then started sketching and drawing bunny characters out of her love of bunnies fed from this one little furball, Babee. A groove for us formed for drawing and creating other characters that really had no relation to this “Babee” character. While we started this we began to find interest in the screen printing process of apparel, while thinking maybe we could create t-shirts with these characters for us to wear.

Learning how to screen print took some time, but we were fortunate enough to have met a very kind man who was more than willing to teach us and use his equipment while we learned (thank you Garry). It was frustrating but we felt a door of opportunity open for us where we could utilize our character creations out of the hope for a better future. With our work ethic, our passion for design, and inspiration from Babee we had a gut feeling we had something here. It was an “awe” moment where we knew we were destined to be together and create something together- Fat Rabbit Farm was born in 2006.

the brand now…

Wow… five years now. It has been amazing…From the ups to downs, the struggles, the challenges, the fun, the joy, just being able to work side by side with your soulmate- it is a dream come true. It is almost overwhelming to recollect all the emotions of my experiences with Patty and Fat Rabbit Farm . We have made FRF our life for the past five years and what we create is simply…us. So much we lost contact with a lot of our previous friends, we took plently of financial risks, and we are yet to have a wedding to celebrate for ourselves. We have made numerous sacrifices of a “normal” life but we chose this path. You get only one shot at life-make it worth it. Do something spectacular. And we did. All of the sacrifices, all of the risks was worth it. This brand is us. It shares who we are personally, what we feel, what makes us laugh and smile. And we hope during these five years you felt something special about our brand, our creations, and us.

I have finally realized what are philosophy is of our creations. After a few years of seeing people’s reactions, observations, and experiences- and its been right under our bunny noses all this time: “No matter who are, where you come from, what your situation is, everyone deserves to laugh and smile. We want to help people come together with laughs and smiles through our stories and creations.”

Just as we were inpired by our struggles, our losts, our challenges, our drive, our passion there was something that made us laugh and smile when we needed it. And we want to give that to you. We sincerely hope our work inspire those to follow your hearts, follow your passion. Yes, its not easy. Yes, it may seem impossible. Its all up to YOU because all the struggles, and the negativity you face…it will be all worth it even more. Thank everyone for reading this and for opening your heart to my story and to what we shall continue to do- create stories and adventures that inspire to all.

Patty’s Story…

I’ve never really sat down to think back the reasons what made me want to do what we are doing today. Since we’ve started this brand in 2006, I’ve never looked back to reflect, I’ve always looked forward to the future of what this could become. Growing up, I’ve seen my parents struggle trying to make ends meet, doing everything they can to provide for their family. They were first generation immigrants and although they both had a college degree and a great career back in their homeland, they left all of that to pursue a better future for us and came to America to establish a better life. My dad came to California first – I was 3, soon later my mom followed leaving me and my 2 older brothers with our aunt who raised us until I was 6 when my mom went back to bring us to California. Our family was once again complete. It wasn’t easy for them but they sacrifice so I can have a better education and a better life. From seeing that daily struggle, I didn’t want to end up following in that same footsteps, I’m sure they didn’t want that for me either. I’ve always had a passion for art since I was a kid, doodling and drawing and creating this vast world for myself – anything goes. No one can tell me anything, it was my world and I can draw whatever I wanted into it. Art has always been important to me and was my escape from life. It was even more imporatant to me when my parents parted ways – I was 11. I was devastated and my perfect world had crumble and I couldn’t do or say anything to make it better. It was done, what was I suppose to do, I was just a kid. It was difficult to see my mom work from morning til midnight trying to support our family. The only time we saw each other was in the morning when she would drop me off to school. I didn’t get to see my dad much, I was mad at him and our father-daughter bond kinda drifted apart slowly. It was a painful experience. So it was comforting for me to sit with my sketch book and draw. Art got me through the divorce.

I remember immersing myself into any art classes that was offered in school. It was the only class I truly look forward to going. I even took Drafting – thought I was gonna be an Architect at first or even a Web Designer. I knew I wanted a career in Art. My friends thought I was weird. It wasn’t until Junior year in high school that I wanted to study Computer Graphics/ Graphic Design. Art school was expensive, I wasn’t going to put that burden on my mom. So I enrolled in a community college with Jason to study Graphic Design. By this time Jason and I had already been together for 4-5 years. We were both pursuing school full-time as well as supporting ourselves working full-time doing retail jobs. We grew up with similar background, we saw the same struggle our parents went through and knew we wanted something better for our future. After a few semesters into college we formed CreativePear as our design studio and began freelancing design. It was only inevitable that we would start Fat Rabbit Farm. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. There was no plan, no 5 years goal, or a 10 year projection plan. We simply wanted a better future, the future our parents worked hard for us to have. When we ventured out into starting this brand, we knew there was a lot of obstacles and hardwork that would lie ahead of us, we took a leap anyways and slowly started to work on Fat Rabbit Farm. We’ve heard it all before, “you’ll never make any money from art”, “art is not a career” – you’re right but with a lot of hard work and dedication you can make something out of it. It took a lot to ignore that negativity but we continued to move forward. We knew there was something about Fat Rabbit Farm and we knew we wanted something special to happen. We didn’t know what, we didn’t know how but we kept working hard at it and dedicated 200% in everything we did. Coming from our background, art was never looked upon as a career, people thought it was just a phase we were going through and will eventually get a “real” job. It was difficult to not have our parent’s support and understanding for what we were doing even up to this day. That was it, we found our drive, that was what was fueling us. We wanted to prove something, their lack of support made us work even harder so they can one day see what Fat Rabbit Farm can become – what it will become. Our only finance that was supporting FRF was our full-time jobs. Our pay check went into investing in our inventory, making new products, new screen-printing equipment and supplies; everything we had was invested into this brand. Since we printed our designs ourselves in the early days of FRF, we use to start production early in the morning, head over to our 8 hour shift and back to finishing up printing til 3am, and repeat. For a long time that was our day to day routine. While people in their early 20s were enjoying their college years, we spent our time molding and building this potential brand. Our friends hated us when they wanted to hang out – we always had to get back to finish up work. We had so many shows/events we were working up to promote and showcase our brand, time was essential. Exciting and tiring at the same time – it was a good feeling. It still wasn’t good enough to fully support us so we had to keep our full-time job just to be in the clear. Not until 2 years ago that we left our jobs to have FRF be our full-time career. It was such a relief but yet the daunting feeling of not having that steady income, we didn’t have that comfort zone anymore. We worked even harder, there was no other choice.

There’s so many memories with FRF over the past 5 years and releasing our first book was by far the grandest – so far but the hardest thing ever. It was a great accomplishment and we were so excited to be holding the first copy in our hands and seeing our stories, our art, our characters come to life on paper. We were able to share Fat Rabbit Farm’s first story to the world! This first adventure is very special to me, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Not because it was our first book but this was dedicated to my dad, who past away a few months before the books release date. We began working on this adventure December of 2009 and had a deadline of May 2010 to complete. It was crunch time! We worked on this book day and night, vow to hide away in our cave and not surface to see the light of day until it was complete. We did just that, however, things came to a stand still when I received a missed call from my dad on a cold February morning with a message telling me he was in the hospital and may need surgery. I hadn’t seen him for a couple of months and our relationship was on the rocky side. I didn’t want to jump to any conclusion, thought it was just minor surgery. Went to visit him that very day with Jason and my older brother to find out more but there wasn’t much more, the doctors were conducting tests on him and waiting on results; it was just a waiting game from then on. My dad has always been the type of guy who thought he was invincible, nothing can harm him, he was gonna live forever. He was a hard working man and always wanted to teach people new things, he’d take anyone in who was willing to learn and take them under his wings. He was a teacher back in Thailand, both of my parents were, my dad was a mechanic teacher and he loved what he was doing, he loved to teach people, he even taught me how to fix car when I was little but I was too young to care. He was an entrepreneur himself, starting a small auto mechanic business was his dream – that was his life even down to the very last day. He’d always jokingly tell me that he would never die that easily, even laying on the hospital bed he had the nerve to tell me so. I love him for that, never letting anything in life stops you. It was hard to see him in the hospital bed, everything happened really quick and things went down hill from there. There were a lot of unanswered questions lots of loose ends he and I never tied up, I’ve never told him how much he meant to me and how much I love him, he didn’t even know we were working on a book. All the hospital visits took a lot of time away from finishing our book, Jason and I even discuss on putting it on hold until things were better. I had my sketchbook with me everyday I visited him but for the first time it was hard to draw. As devastating as the situation was we knew how important this book release was for us so we couldn’t stop, we had to keep moving along with the project. We’d be letting down a lot of our fans, we’d be letting ourselves down. By the time the results came in after multiple testing it was almost too late, he was living his last couple days and his health was depleting away. Only a few weeks later of admitting himself into the hospital my dad lost his battle with a rare and multiple forms cancer that he never even knew he had. Our first book finally released July 2010. I hope he’s proud of our accomplishment.

Creating great design is one thing, but if no one is there to appreciate it, they’re just drawings on paper. If you don’t put yourself out there you’ll/people will never see the full potential of what you could become. Keep at it. Work extra hard. And never give up on your dreams. If you believe in it, that’s all that matters. It’s going to be hard, you’ll have days where you want to give up but never forget what you’re working towards. When you look back at it you’ll be even more proud of yourself that YOU, yourself got you to that point.

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