DOMINIC JOHNSON-HILL: Building a Brand in Beijing

DOMINIC JOHNSON-HILL: Building a Brand in Beijing

"And then suddenly, like 10 million people knew my telephone number, and it was a turning point for the brand, because when that show started to air China-wide, my phone didn’t stop ringing for two years.” - Dominic Johnson-Hill, Plastered 8

#007 - Building a Brand in Beijing | Dominic Johnson-Hill

Dominic Johnson-Hill is a British punk-rock Renaissance man. He’s famous in China for many things but he is probably best known as being the man who single-handedly began the transformation of an almost 800 year old (!) hutong called Nan Luo Gu Xiang - dating back to the days of Kubla Khan - into becoming one of the busiest and most popular tourist and shopping / nightlife destinations in Beijing around the world. If you have ever visited Beijing or looked into it on travel websites, you’ve seen the area featured as a must-see. Dominic was the very first person to open a store there, and the rest is history. 

He did this as the founder of iconic street wear brand Plastered 8, a truly “only in China” success story that you have to hear for yourself. I am an unofficial brand ambassador for Plastered myself, being a huge fan of their crazy and cool t-shirts (owning about 20 as of now), so I was excited to hear the tale of how he built the brand straight from the horse’s mouth. The story quoted above starts at about the 10-minute mark of the interview, but the whole thing is a wild ride that you have to hear for yourself. Among Dominic's other innovations and “media moments”, he has gotten worldwide press as being the creator of canned “Beijing Air”, but that only scratches the surface of his innovation and creativity. He has created a 30 square meter mural in the high-end Beijing art hotel The Opposite House, has been a TV host and presenter as well as frequent guest on talk and game shows here, he's a filmmaker who directs his own commercials, and much more.

This one is full of inspired and occasionally raunchy, hilarious content; if you’re highly sensitive you might wince a few times, but I grew up on Monty Python, Benny Hill, and other English humor, so I laughed throughout the talk. One note is that we did have a few Skype issues. I edited around them as well as possible, and as always I strive to make those edits seamless, but this week there are a small handful that you will probably hear. There are also a couple of places where the audio quality gets weird in general for maybe 5-10 seconds, but I don’t think it detracts from the comprehension of the stories being told, so I hope you can bear with those brief moments when they pop up. 

Lastly, I’m excited to announce that starting this week, we are a featured show on the website and the Castbox podcast app! Castbox works in your web browser and they also have an iOS app, but they have an especially nice app for Android devices. Please check us out on Castbox, and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to us. Enjoy!

"BFMK" Website:

Brendan Davis on Twitter:

Plastered 8:

about Dominic Johnson-Hill:


"Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" direct links -

on Apple Podcasts:

on Castbox:

Carl King (composer):

MATT WILLIAM KNOWLES: Acting in China, Los Angeles & London

MATT WILLIAM KNOWLES: Acting in China, Los Angeles & London

STEVE BARR: Screenwriting and Producing in L.A., New Zealand, and Beijing

STEVE BARR: Screenwriting and Producing in L.A., New Zealand, and Beijing