If you ask Keith Vest how to solve a problem, you’ll likely get an answer that reveals his bent toward unconventional creativity. Vest is president of The Variable, a “reformed ad agency” that will be moving its operations to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter this summer.
“We are a merry band of entrepreneurs in action, not just spirit,” said Vest, who co-founded The Variable in 2011 with Joe Parrish, the company’s chief creative officer.
The agency is on the fast track to success with a client list that includes Lowes Foods; Primo Water; Duke Medicine; the sportswear company Soffe; Interface, the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of carpet tile; and Spin Master, the world’s fourth-largest toy maker. In the past two years, The Variable’s revenue has quadrupled and the size of its team has more than doubled, from 14 to 32.
The Variable will be taking over a 10,000-square-foot space (approximately twice the size of its current base) in Plant 64, primarily a residential development with 242 loft-style apartments located in a cluster of former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. buildings. The agency will occupy a building at the corner of Research Parkway and East Fourth Street originally intended for retail use.
When you co-mingle creative problem-solving, invention and entrepreneurialism … it leads to amazing new places.
“We’re thrilled to be in Winston-Salem and a part of the dynamic community that’s growing in the Innovation Quarter,” Vest said. “It aligns nicely with our culture at The Variable. When you co-mingle creative problem-solving, invention and entrepreneurialism to tackle challenges or grab hold of opportunities, it leads to amazing new places.”
The Variable’s new home will have a blend of industrial architectural features — concrete floors, exposed beams and ducts, 20-foot ceilings — and contemporary design elements. Most of the team will work primarily in the large, open center of the space, allowing for easy collaboration, with conference rooms and smaller offices along the walls.
The Variable’s employees will have access to Plant 64’s indoor and outdoor social spaces, outdoor pool and fitness center. A handful of team members also will enjoy a very short commute, as they are residents of the complex.
“The addition of The Variable to Plant 64 is a considerable achievement,” said Eric Tomlinson, president of the Innovation Quarter. “As a nationally recognized agency with some of the world’s most recognized brands as clients, The Variable joins a growing number of dynamic and creative organizations that will have a tremendous impact here.”