We had the good fortune of connecting with Fajar Hassan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fajar, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
To ALWAYS approach things with a child-like mindset. It’s over once you think you’ve learned it all as there are many things to learn in this world. Asking questions and learning from others have been the key to my success. When working alongside others, it was critical for me to keep an open mind and take in what they have to say. This really helps build rapport with them as well.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
After graduating University of Houston in 2016, I took a dive into freelance photography and graphic design. This included portraits, product, real estate, and sports photography as well as branding and logo design. I wanted to experiment with all sorts of photography and found myself falling in love with cycling, product, food, and portraits.
In 2018, I took on a photography gig at a King’s BierHaus event and the creative director, Adam, took interest in me saying he needed a second hand in digital marketing for the company. I immediately applied and took the offer.
When I first started at King’s BierHaus, I was overwhelmed with the tasks: social media marketing, e-mail marketing, photography, video, and branding. At the time, I was only confident in my photography skills, but I truly wanted to learn everything (especially the essential Adobe Suite programs). Both my mentors Philipp and Adam were patient and invested time in my learning. There were times I didn’t understand certain skills and Adam would say “Dude, just Google it”, which is honestly the greatest advice in the world. Google and YouTube became my best friends during this journey.
As I became more confident in my skills, the work became easier and much more fun. The three of us created a new restaurant “EggHaus Gourmet” and worked on many more marketing campaigns together. Since then, I have become the Marketing Director for EggHaus Gourmet and King’s BierHaus.
From there, I attempted to break out of my comfort zone and took on larger photography projects. My work has been featured on Bloomberg, Toyota, Kensington Tech, Travel Channel, The Food Network, Eater, The Houston Chronicle, and more. The phrase “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” really resonated with me.
The greatest advice I have in photography, branding, and marketing is to not be afraid of modeling yourself from the Greats. Learn what your biggest competition/influences are doing, study them, and create your own identity. The idea is not to steal an idea, but to improve upon it. For example, our biggest inspirations for EggHaus are Alfred’s, Starbucks, Shake Shack, La La Land, and other popular cafes.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite things to do in Houston are riding my bike, taking photos, getting food and drinks! The first thing I would do is let my friend borrow my bike and explore the city. Here is what we would do on a typical riding day:
1. Start my ride at a coffee shop. I usually start at 8am at Blendin Coffee Club next to Buffalo Bayou Park.
2. Ride down Buffalo Bayou and stop to take fun photos at the plentiful photo-ops there.
3. Make my way towards downtown and take photos at the top of the bridge at UHD.
4. Go down the bridge to downtown and stop at Discovery Green to see what’s new (There’s always something new there).
5. Take McKinney street all the way down to University of Houston and get refreshments at The Nook.
6. Ride to Braes Bayou to Smithers Park. It’s a cool man-made park with really awesome art.
7. Head towards Mason Park and do some sightseeing/take photos.
8. Ride back on Braes Bayou to Hermann Park, the Zoo, and the Japanese Gardens.
9. Take the nearby street to Rice University and check out the architecture and art installations.
10. From there, we would ride towards Montrose and get tacos and beer at D&Q Beer Station and Tacos Chales.
11. Then bring the food/drinks to the Menil to chill on the grass, people watch, and take photos.
11. Ride down back to Blendin and end the ride. The whole route should be about 35-40 miles!
I would also take them to my favorite places in Chinatown:
– Shanghai Restaurant for their special Pipa Tofu and delicious Cantonese-style food.
– Golden Dim Sum for some really good Dim Sum.
– San San Tofu for my favorite vegan/Taoist food. They have really good imitation meat like fish, beef, and more.
– Bao Xi Yi for delicious baos.
– Papa Rich for really good Malaysian food.
– Xing Fu Tang for really fresh and delicious Boba.
– ECK Bakery for the BEST chinese egg tarts you’ll ever eat.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Firstly, my mother has been the all-star supporter throughout my life. From letting me experiment with different hobbies and learning different skills, I really couldn’t have done it without her.
Secondly, my other two mentors and friends, Philipp Sitter and Adam Lamprecht-Morphew, have been huge influences on my growth to learning and improving myself. Being around forward-thinking and inspirational people like them has had an great impact on my life.
Lastly, podcasts like the Ed Mylett Show, The School of Greatness, Man Enough, The Digital Marketing Podcast, Creative Pep Talk, and Social Media Marketing School have been incredible resources for my self-improvement and skills. I highly recommend these podcasts!
All photographs were taken by me except or the very first photo of me doing the “peace” signs. That one was taken by Elton Tang (@tangy.twist on Instagram).