Daniel Fabiano has become a household name in the rollerblading industry through years of dedication. From East to West, Daniel "Fabs" has gained his reputation not only as an Amatuer blader but also a young entrepreneur, owning his first clothing company at the age of fifteen. As the owner of Con.Artist Brand and the infamous Scribe Industries, Fabiano has earned a royal seat in rollerblading as one of the sports most dedicated brand owners! Enjoy the second installment of Scribefile as Fabs shreds through the East Coast since his move from Minnesota over a year ago.
Interview and photos by Sam DeAngelis
Edit filmed by Joe Perez, Sam DeAngelis & Mikey Roman, edited by Daniel Fabiano
Can we get a quick introduction to the man behind the new Scribe Industries?
My name is Daniel Fabiano. Most of my close friends or acquaintances in this industry know me as "Fabs." I currently reside in Northern, New Jersey but spent most of my life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I just turned 25 in June and I have been rollerblading for over 12 years now.
So what has changed the most for you since your big move from Minnesota to New Jersey a little over a year ago?
For starters, the entire scene and vibe of New Jersey. It is 100% different then Minnesota on every level: environment, cost of living, transportation, commuting, food, and obviously the people. New Jersey has a great skate scene but is also extremely untapped as for new skate spots which is actually a good thing.
How is the scene in NJ/NYC treating you?
I haven't had that many NYC encounters even living only 45 minutes from the bridges. The traffic in NY and NJ is horrendous, plus the addition of tolls, in-city parking, or taking trains everywhere – it's just not really my style. I am a very laid back type of individual. I would rather have a house down the Shore, away from the city, relaxing and being able to focus and concentrate on the things that I enjoy in my life, or a home back in Minnesota near a lake, by my friends, with ample room to build my own home-skatepark. In the regard of how New Jersey is treating me, I can say adequately. This state is very expensive which really doesn't treat me well. I feel at times it was great to come back to New Jersey where I grew up, but I do not think New Jersey or New York will ever be a place were I will reside on long terms. As far as Rollerblading goes, it has been awesome! I have met a ton of great friends, been able to skate all new obstacles, and I am constantly finding new skate spots that have never been skated. I have no past drama with anyone so I feel fresh and renewed, and both Scribe and Con.Artist are doing tremendously well being close to so many states.
You have been said to be one of the longest running owners of softgoods as well as youngest owners to live it out through the harsh times of our industry. Your thoughts?
I started my first company within 6 months of starting to aggressive skate. I just had a passion for rollerblading and a stronger passion for business. On top of it all I felt that I wanted to help grow the recognition of the rollerbladers around me that seemed to not get that chance above the current athletes at the time. I started Formatt Clothing in 2000 – at 14 years old – and I never stopped. Even with the slow sales, constant backstabbing and hate, I never let it bother me because I knew it would eventually work out. One thing for sure is I hate to quit, specially at something I know I am good at. So quitting simply because rollerblading wasn't making money, or that I didn't have the biggest pro names on my teams never stopped me from progressing and moving on. If you look at it realistically, I started Formatt before B-Unique, and either right before or at the same time as Denial Clothing. For that generation of soft-good companies the only people that stuck it out currently and sell on a annual basis still is myself, Denial and occasionally Six Won Six. Everyone else threw in the towel. Coming out of highschool I wanted to push it pasted t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts so I came up with a new company model around denim and renamed the company to Con.Artist Brand. It was definitely something that was necessary, and even though it was a rough transition it really ended up paying off in the end. Every year comes with new goals, hopes and mistakes. You can only keep trying and also keep learning and I am always confident at the end of the day that I am working my hardest to continue to help the sport and lifestyle that we call rollerblading. One of my major accomplishments I can say in this industry is that I have attended and put up a booth at all ten BitterCold Showdowns! I am either the only one, or 1 of 2 that have reached this milestone.
It seems like you’ve got your hands full right now with skating, filming, owning 2 companies and work. What’s your normal day like, and how do you balance so many things all at once?
Lets run through a normal busy work/school day for Daniel Fabiano. I wake up around 8:15am and get ready for my day, I leave the house by 8:45am, get to Dunkin Donuts around 8:55am and in the door at work between 9-9:10. I work at a military/defense manufacturing facility where we specialize in creating advanced weaponry for the soldiers in the fields. They bring back products they use over seas and tell us how they would like to modify it to keep efficiency in the field, and keep them alive! I currently am the purchasing manager of the business where I order and contact all the vendors for raw, manufactured and shelf materials. Usually I am busy between the hours of 9-5pm, if work is slow I try to squeeze in as much Scribe and Con.Artist work as possible. I have transferred both of my invoicing programs for both companies to online accounting, so I can manage and view all aspects of my business when I am away from my home office. This enables me to stay on top of orders, invoices, and track inventory at all times, keeping the companies efficient and on schedule as much as possible. By the time I get home at 5:30 after I rush through traffic, I usually walk my dog Milo immediately then eat a quick snack before diving into more Scribe and Con.Artist work. I usually have about an hour and half until I need to get situated and head to night class at the County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ. My classes are normally Tuesday through Thursday 6:30pm – 10:00pm. Once I return from class, I'm back on my laptop either designing, emailing contacts, vendors, clients, customers, or doing some type of online marketing via Facebook, Tumblr, or random trendy fashion websites that generate a lot of views. On the days I do not have school, I try to skate as much as possible, or meet up at blade-sessions to film and enjoy myself. On the weekends I tend to relax, and spoil myself and the lady. If she is not around I will be filming and skating the entire day. If I didn't do that I would go bonkers! It's important to learn how to balance your life or you will break down slowly from the inside. I'm still learning, but I started very young so I have a jump on most. I just do me, and it seems to work out right now.
How did you obtain Brian Aragon as a rider, and what are the implications of his sponsorship?
Brian has been a friendly acquaintance for awhile now. I've always wanted to hook up Brian in some regard, but he was always set in stone with other sponsorships. Upon moving Scribe into a more "all-around" company then just a "urethane/wheel" company, we decided to work on projects that are not sold in our industry anymore, or products that are sold through skateboarding distributions into our industry. Some of these products includes protective gear. All of it is snowboard, skateboard, or pharmacy based with the small exception of some skate brands producing very low volumes bi-yearly it seems. Also high-performance bearings. Most ceramics, or hybrids available in our industry come from skateboarding manufactures and distributions. Over the years, I have heard friends, ams, pros complain mainly about wrist and shin injuries. However most of them refuse to wear protection because of the size, chunkiness, and style of the protection. Some even feel that just wearing protection effects how they rollerblade. With knowing all this information over the years, putting in a lot of research and finding what protection or braces people were buying, we did enough R&D to come up with protection gear that was sleek, comfortable, and also stylish. When I had the idea for the wrist brace, I knew sales would be sluggish in the beginning because of the resistance from most skate shops. Most retailers in our industry do not sell protection gear or are nervous to order anymore because of the stock they are sitting on. After noticing Brian wearing a wrist-brace/guard in a good portion of his footage, tour pictures, etc., Shane Birtzer and myself realized Brian would be a perfect image for the sale of our new protection line. People don't seem to understand that Scribe is sponsoring Brian based on an endorsement level for a product and not on a full fledged sponsorship like his main urethane sponsor, Murder 1 Urethane. Wally from Murder 1, Brian and myself have come to agreements that work out for all of us. Why limit what you can, and cannot sponsor?
There have been many rumors about the status of Con.Artist Brand. One of which was getting rid of the entire team. I am sure this was a well thought-out situation. How did the team respond?
It is something that had to be done. The toll of owning two companies, managing two teams, working a full 40-45+ hour week government job, plus going to night class after work 3 days a week, it was time I did something drastic to ensure that the work I'm putting in was worth my effort and time. I have been operating businesses inside this industry since I was 14 years old. I have put so much of my time, blood, sweat, tears and ridiculous amounts of money into my companies and teams that at this junction in my life, and at this age, my time is worth money. So if I am compensating riders for advertisements, airplane tickets, per diem on tour, and paying pro clothing royalties, it's about time I paid myself for all the hard work and dedication I have thrown into my own companies. I have not once pulled a penny from the company to spend at my own leisure. I couldn't move forward at this rate so I have been making a complete re-haul of the business starting with distribution, and marketing in the snowboard, surfing, music and drift racing syndicates. Over the last year, Con.Artist was in a very slow state. Some of the riders took it upon themselves to claim the company dead, or that I gave up, which wasn't the case at all. I kept in communication with whoever wanted to keep updated. Only a selected few were easy to keep in touch with, while others seemed to not care since we no longer had denim available. Since we had no product, I had no team which was a sad truth. Instead of keeping the entire team afloat, possibly making an individual miss out on other career sponsorship opportunities, I told the team the situation, the direction, and the advancements Con.Artist was moving forth with. Most of the team was extremely appreciative of the opportunity I had given them over the years, along with their complete support with the new direction of Con.Artist. Some team members have failed to respond, or communicate with me at all on the matter. I plan on regenerating a very, very limited team consisting of 1-2 well known professionals from each of the current and new syndicates I mentioned above. The success of Con.Artist will be great. We have made extreme contacts in the syndicates I mentioned, and already have well known professionals in each category on board for the new Con.Artist Brand experience. Con.Artist was built up around rollerblading and will continue to stay strong in this industry, however it's time we embrace the other demand we have for our product that we have been shunning away for years. The more we distribute the more we can grow and give back to the inline industry!
What can we expect from Scribe Industries and Con.Artist Brand in the near future?
A lot! Scribe is growing daily and even though Con.Artist has been pretty dormant for the last 18 months, things have been shizzeling the entire time behind the scenes. In the mean time, we have been liquidating what old inventory we have to acquire as much funding as possible to release our 2 new pairs of denim. Two of them will be released this Fall, and then another two will be released for Christmas along with a bunch of accessories and tops. As for Scribe, we are working hard to maintain a steady flow of high quality urethane and bearing options throughout the year, along with starting to marketing and push the new protection gear line that will be releasing this late Summer/Back To School as well. Scribe is looking to dip into all the avenues of inline skating eventually bringing products such as liners, frames, personal accessories, and footwear to the table. New ideas are constantly brewing, we are gaining new contacts daily, and more support and respect has been unfolding over the Scribe Industries family. Our sales are constant and steadily increasing thanks to you the customer!
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