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Meet Faiz Ghori of By.Faiz in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Faiz Ghori.

Faiz, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had a natural affinity towards cameras. One of my earliest memories is as a toddler, maybe three or so years old, running around my childhood home, firing off a flash heads’ “test” button repeatedly. I’d sneak into the closet where my dad stored his camera gear and wrap his AE-1 around my neck, and with no film in the camera, walk around the house and pretend to document the goings-on of my house.

In high school, I took a film photography class that taught us how to shoot, develop. and print our photos — apart from the chemical stains, it was as much fun as anything I’d done up ’til that point in life. I loved it; the act of framing a shot, trying to capture a certain moment. It seemed so deliberate and personal.

While I was a student at UCLA, I started photographing and writing for the Arts and Entertainment section of the Daily Bruin to keep myself creatively satisfied. Growing up in an immigrant, Pakistani Muslim family, pursuing photography professionally just wasn’t something considered “acceptable” — it was deemed too unstable, too difficult to achieve real success, and to some extent, too pedestrian. In a community full of doctors, lawyers, and engineers, the pursuit of art seemed like a juvenile endeavor — like I’d be the kid who never grew up and picked a “real” job.

During this time period, I started working as an apprentice for a major photography studio to build up my shooting chops while also hustling to get internships in Tech — a “safe” choice. After graduation, I started working full-time for a multinational tech firm selling database software and systems. Within literally days, it became abundantly clear that this wasn’t the role for me. The role wasn’t one that rewarded creative thinking and came replete with rote procedures and a business casual dress-code.

I knew I had to get out and find something else, so I started using what I had been trained to do in my then-current BusDev role and build myself a lead list of potential opportunities. At the time, I knew that Snap, Inc. was the place I wanted to land. They had just rebranded as “the camera company” in 2016 and had launched a world-class marketing rollout for the Spectacles video-sunglasses product.

I spent months cold-emailing anybody with “recruiter” or “marketing” in their job title w/ a little blurb, my resume, and my portfolio before someone luckily took notice and replied (shout-out Kelly Nyland!) I spent close to the next two years as 1/3rd of a digital media + production team at SnapLab (Snap Inc.’s 150-person R&D unit where Spectacles and Snap’s most exciting innovations are being developed). I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I was afforded while working at Snap; I was the youngest member of our facility and was trusted to produce PM projects, outline marketing & product strategy, and was the de-facto photography “expert” on the team.

I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot the campaign launch images for the Spectacles 2 and Spectacles 2: Nico & Veronica products alongside super-talented photographers Daniel Yoon & Sasha Netchaev. Most importantly, I was really fortunate to work alongside super-talented individuals and experts in their individual fields. During my time at Snap, the Spectacles team won a total of 6 different Cannes Lion awards for excellence in creative marketing.

After Snap, I was hired to lead all marketing efforts as VP, Marketing for a small, venture-backed start-up called Asteroid Technologies based out of the Bay Area. At Asteroid, we’ve been busy developing a mobile video-editing application built w/ the modern creative in mind that automatically cuts and assorts video clips for you using AI and machine learning.

Nowadays, I’m also delving into more fun passion projects, such as creating content and developing brand strategy w/ streetwear labels, producing/directing music videos, and more.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve been so fortunate in my life and career that at times it seems self-serving or arrogant to think any momentary hardships or struggles that I’ve faced along my path have been worthy of paying much mind to. My parents, Firasat and Gulerana Ghori came to this country in the 1970s with limited finances, limited English, and an unlimited drive to give their children the means to succeed. Any struggles I’ve faced pale in comparison to those of my parents – I owe them everything.

Having said that, I think representation is one of the things that 1st-gen kids deal with most typically — I’m usually the only brown guy in the meeting (unless we’re cross-pollinating w/ engineering haha!). In the creative field, especially, there aren’t a lot of us, so it’s definitely a responsibility in a way and I take that very seriously. It means that you’re in those spaces, challenging perceptions constantly, and having to be doubly deliberate because the margin for error is even lower than if you looked different or had a different name.

By.Faiz – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
By.Faiz is what I’ve been operating under since college, and I haven’t really had a reason to change it yet. My team and I function as a full-stack creative agency that offers services that fall under marketing and advertising. Our expertise centers around strategy services, crafting top-class creative, etc. — my goal is to be a creative partner that will help your brand tell its story. I think what sets us apart is we’re not 1-track-minded. Working in advertising, you’ll see that people are often either strategically-minded, big-picture guys, or they’re the creatively-minded, execution guys. We’re both. We’re currently on the lookout for new and exciting projects!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Definitely shooting the campaign images for Spectacles 2 — there was a moment during the shoot where I just looked around at the set, at the organized chaos, and it hit me that this was exactly where I wanted to be.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In regards to the marketing landscape, I think the shift towards AI and automation stand out to me more than anything. It’ll result in a more personalized experience for the consumer, and will be as standard as email marketing is currently. Due to the current climate, both consumer behavior and brand behavior will have to change. People will be looking more closely as to what stances their favorite brands are or aren’t taking — maybe some brands that have historically been recognized as being “the leader in x” or “the best at y” are now also going to be more active voices in our discourses. Brands need to find and highlight their beliefs that best represent their audience — not their current audience, but the audience that they want. Brands being neutral will be more of an anomaly than the norm. Consumer brands will be first, and we’re already seeing this shift — B2B will follow.

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Credits: 451, CreationsofLA, Komono, loveclosely, Tomorrow’s Laundry

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