Home > Living > People > Good Life Gurus: Dhun ‘Gabjay’ Packpongphanchai, boss lady and garlic dip lover
Good Life Gurus: Dhun ‘Gabjay’ Packpongphanchai, boss lady and garlic dip lover

Bangkok is a city brimming with talented personalities and charming characters who have pushed their way through to really make their mark. There’s no doubt that they’re truly living their best life, and doing it in great style. In our Good Life Gurus series, we explore and ask the city’s millennial tastemakers and cultural arbiters to reveal what the good life means to them, and give us a little insight into how they live it up.

She’s a self-proclaimed “boss babe,” and her Instagram account inspires you to be better at Instagram. Her businesses make you want to go on yachts in sustainable swimwear, or eat bread with garlic truffle dip. And her elegant, subtle, and effortlessly naturalistic aura is why she’s a major Good Life Guru to us. Meet Dhun Packpongphanchai, or Gabjay.

The woman behind Bangkok creative agency CO-O STUDIO, swimwear brand Studio Common, lifestyle brand Sunne Voyage, and currently-very-trendy homemade sauce label Aglioooooo, seems to be everywhere in the world of Bangkok millennials. She’s got her finger on the pulse of many of our favourite lifestyle trends, be it weekend trips, sustainable fashion, or late night snack cravings. How does the purveyor of such clever lifestyle branding, then, live a life of style herself?

Here, we chat to the charming Gabjay for a hot minute and gain a few valuable insights. Read on for a little backstory, and a lot of tips and tricks on how to live a good (and green) life in Bangkok, like Gabjay.

Please give us a little background about yourself and what you do.

I’m the boss babe behind CO-O STUDIO, an all-girl online agency based in Bangkok. We are working with all kinds of incredible brands around the world. I’m more than grateful to be working with brands like Guss Damn Good, Snail White, La Mer, Maison SVM, and more.

I also co-founded Sunne Voyage, a lifestyle brand offering you a wholesome and responsible experience on board. The other project that I’m currently building includes Aglioooooo, the newest member to the family offering delicious home-made dip and sauce to foodies all over Thailand. Studio Common is actually the first project I worked on. I created this swimwear brand together with a friend back in 2016 and now we are growing the brand towards a more sustainable path.

 

What are the stories behind these ventures? How did it all begin?

For Studio Common, it’s pretty simple! My friend, Nita and I, couldn’t find swimwear that we like, and swimwear that fit Asian girls like us at that time (major throw back to 2016), so we came up with not just one, but 3 designs. They are still our current bestsellers. I strongly believe in Thailand’s garment industry, so all of our products are made 100% in Bangkok with the highest quality fabrics we could find from Italy.

For Sunne Voyage, it’s a long story. My friends and I fell in love with Munnork island and it’s crystal clear water. We thought it would be great to create some tangible experience combining creativity, local craftsmanship, and sustainability all together. After almost 3 years of sweat and tears, it came to life on the east coast of the gulf of Thailand, in Rayong.

 

Who are your clients? What are they like?

My clients are my best supporters! Most of my clients are like-minded Thais, Singaporeans, Koreans and Indonesians. I believe in being transparent and sincere. I create only the best products and experiences for my clients. Some even turn into friends over time, and I’m very much grateful for that.

What role do you think travel plays in living a ‘good life’?

For me traveling is how I recharge my soul. I consider myself a perfectionist and I live my life to the fullest. I work really hard everyday with no day off (yes, I’m a workaholic), and my job allows me to work almost 100% remotely, so I can travel.

When talking about living a ‘good life’, to me it’s a mix of good quality of life inside out and outside in.

 

What does the good life mean to you? How do you live the good life?

To me ‘the good life’ means a happy and healthy life both physically and mentally. I live the good life by finding my meaning of life and live it the way I enjoy most. To me, living the good life is not only about myself, but also everybody surrounding me. I like to spread love, happiness, positive energy, and most importantly, I love to be an inspiration to everyone around me.

What are your 5 good life essentials?

I believe these essentials can be both tangible and intangible. So my 5 good life essentials are:

1.) The meaning of life
2.) The love for my own self and another being
3.) To be able to breathe in an open air space
4.) To be creative
5.) To stay hydrated

 

What is your self-care ritual?

I’m pretty chill with myself  and how I look. I don’t compare myself to others that much. I only focus on being my best self.

I drink a lot of water, as this is very beneficial to both my skin and my health. It keeps my skin glowing as well. I love Augustinus Bader’s The Cream and the La Mer Renewal Oil. Sunscreen is something I can’t live without, and I have been wearing sunscreen every single day for more than 10 years. It’s one of the best pieces of advice my mum has given me.

Other than that, I exercise with my personal trainer twice a week, and do yoga and pilates once a week. I’m in the process of strengthening my core body muscles. For diet, I try to eat more healthy. I don’t believe in eating less, but I do believe in eating better.

 

What do you do to be more sustainable or eco-friendly (in work and privately)?

I have been living my life more sustainably and responsibly for a big while.

I choose to buy less, but better. I buy things that I’ll wear forever. I don’t follow trends, but I follow my own style. Lately, I have been shopping mostly vintage.

In terms of work, in all my creative thinking process, I always think of the more sustainable and responsible way of doing or creating things, because I believe that I can really be a small vital part of changing the world for a better future for us all.

What do you do to keep fit?

I exercise 2-4 days a week. Health is wealth, and also keep in mind that unwanted stress can be detrimental, too!

 

Where do you go for… the best breakfast in Bangkok?

I usually cook my own breakfast.

Where do you go for… the best date night in Bangkok?

I love quality traditional sushi, so I would say Sushi Masato. I have a routine of going to Sushi Masato every month. It’s the best sushi place in Bangkok.

Where do you go for… the best drinks in Bangkok?

Kangkao offers the best list of natural wine, and I like to be surrounded by familiar faces.

Where do you go for… the best place to shop in Bangkok?

I shop mostly online from Farfetch or Net-a-Porter. I don’t usually shop during the day. I only shop at night because it’s when I’m more concentrated. Also 1stDibs, TheRealReal, and Vestiaire are where I usually go when I want to hunt for vintage pieces. For vintage watches, I shop from Dunaliga.

 

Where do you go for… the best escape from Bangkok?

I either choose to go up north to Chiang Mai because of its creativity, energy, delicious food, and people, or go a little bit off Bangkok to Munnork private island.

Lastly, a word of advice for living the good life in Bangkok:

Do not rush! Trust your own pace, enjoy the process, and believe in your own timeline.

Lisa Gries
Creative Content Director, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.