Texans have a lot in common. We love wide open spaces. Bluebonnets. The Spurs. And if you can brag about calling the Lone Star State home, you definitely have a love for Whataburger, which has restaurants all over Texas and the South. People around these parts are as passionate about the fast food chain as they are about the state flag.
For Sarah Cooper and Danielle Treviño, capitalizing on that loyalty is all in a day’s work. Both share an affinity for graphic design and have walked similar paths to become social media trendsetters for this iconic Texas brand. We talked with Sarah and Danielle about what they did to get there and how they express themselves creatively in and outside of work.
You both work at Whataburger. So lucky. What exactly do you do?
Sarah: It’s hard to write on a piece of paper what we do daily. I think the fun part of our job is that it’s so different every week. Right now, I’m helping our leadership with some designs for a meeting. I’m also working on making Halloween content for social media. It’s really all over the place.
Danielle: Sarah and I aren’t exactly on the same team. I’m part of the social media team and collect user-generated content. So I go through stuff our fans tag us in and get permission to repurpose it for our feed. Plus, I help Sarah’s team in creative services.
Sarah: Dani acts as our internal videographer, and I’m the graphic designer on our creative services team. Anything that needs graphic design work in our internal or external communications comes to us. Dani and I are on different “teams,” but we work together a lot.
I’d imagine that Whataburger jobs are in fairly high demand. How did you come to work there?
Sarah: I started in January 2019. I saw the job pop up and went for it. I’ve always been shy about reaching out to people on LinkedIn, but I really wanted this job, and I absolutely love it. It’s my dream job for where I’m at in my life.
Danielle: I thought I would be a PA on movie sets. I was going to do that in Atlanta, but I decided to apply to other jobs for financial purposes. I went through LinkedIn to see who else was there. Actually, my mentor from school advised me to apply for this job, and that was it.
How did you know what you wanted to do?
Sarah: I was a double major in art and communication. I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to do graphic design. My school didn’t offer any design courses, and since I couldn’t classically study design I did a lot of internships. I also worked for a couple of digital marketing agencies. Everywhere I could touch that wasn’t in the classroom, I just wanted those experiences. I kept pretty busy.
Danielle: I thought I would double major in communication and art, just like Sarah. A lot of my technical experience was from high school, so in college I hit the ground running. I did a lot of marketing internships in San Antonio, and those turned into graphic design jobs. Sarah and I both went to Trinity University and had similar experiences, since most people don’t have our specific skills, even though we weren’t there at the same time.
Sarah: A lot of those skills, like video making, photography, and graphic design, are self-taught or have to be learned outside the classroom.
Danielle: We had to teach ourselves. I found that on the job market, in the real world, employers like it when they don’t have to teach you how to do things.
Whataburger seems integral to Texas. Why do you think the chain resonates so strongly with Texans?
Sarah: I think we have a lot of pride for where it comes from. I grew up in Corpus Christi, so it’s always been a part of my life. It’s part of your identity as a Texan. But Dani sees what customers are talking about every day, so she can speak more eloquently to this.
Danielle: I’m from San Antonio, so Whataburger is a staple in my life.
Sarah: If you haven’t cried in a Whataburger at 2 a.m., you haven’t lived.
Danielle: Yes! And I think our brand resonates because there are Whataburgers in cities and also in really rural areas across ten states. Sometimes it’s the only restaurant in a town, so it’s the gathering place for a community. Also, high school kids are obsessed with Whataburger—it’s the place to go after football games.
Sarah: It’s just a source of pride.
How are you creative outside of your job?
Sarah: I have my own freelance graphic design and photography business. In the evenings and on weekends I do design work and social media creation for other businesses. That’s about all I have time for.
Danielle: Sarah is a fantastic photographer. Everyone at work goes to her if they need pictures taken! I am really into podcasting. I recently restarted a podcast I had in college, called Trash Talk, with my friend Reagan Herzog. We’ve been watching Degrassi episode by episode. I do some freelance design, but I’m getting back into making art for myself. I have a goal that every piece of art in my house will be something I made. I feel like that’s a good way to get back into art.
Thank you both so much for meeting and being open about your work and your creative endeavors!