By: Kelsey Stanczyk
Warpaint Digital has taken many forms since its original founding in 2013. This is in no small part due to its Founder and Creative Director Cameron Arksey’s seemingly limitless ambition.
“I have a really hard time saying no, so I get myself into a lot of things,” says Arksey, who splits his time between Warpaint, Red Rhino – as a Senior Creative Lead, and Fire Roasted – as their Marketing Manager and Operations Management Consultant. “They are all great in their own respects and I could probably do any one of these full time, but I have tried and I can’t let go of any one of them, so I’ve found a way to not make a choice by saying ‘yes’ to all of them.”
With a degree in Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience and a minor in French, Arksey has taken anything, but a traditional approach to working in the communications industry. During his time at Western University, Arksey worked as a Residence Advisor and Don. Upon graduating he was hired by Western Housing in marketing and recruitment to manage their social media and design posters and other promotional materials. This was his first introduction to what would become his career path.
Arksey would also do freelance design work designing posters and custom smartphone posters in his spare time under the title of Warpaint.
Warpaint really began to take shape when Arksey met James Doyle at a startup week-end event. The two quickly realized that combining their skills in digital development and creative design would lead to success. Within a few years, Warpaint grew to up to 10 employees including freelance contractors and support staff. Their clients included London Community Foundation, Pillar Nonprofit Network, and the London & Middlesex Housing Corporation.
The business grew primarily through networking events rather than any formal marketing efforts. It was important to Arksey and Doyle that they were a good fit for their client’s needs. Sometimes they felt that they were competing with other more established companies and should have been taking a more sales-driven approach, but Arksey has found that rather than following the “fake it till you make it” adage, presenting themselves sincerely professionally and growing their business honestly was much more successful and helped develop a corporate identity that he could be proud of.
“It’s more about creating a really great product that we knew the client wanted.”
Arksey and Doyle ended up scaling down Warpaint to four employees, so that they could still be closely involved with their clients. “I live and breathe the creative and the connection with the client,” says Arksey.
Having found success so quickly, Arksey and Doyle wanted to find out how other agencies operated and found success. They decided to scale Warpaint back and explore other career paths with Doyle moving to Vancouver and Arksey taking a position at Red Rhino.
“It’s really been eye-opening to see how agencies work with so many moving parts,” notes Arksey, who has been with Red Rhino for about a year and a half.
Having worked as an agency and now for an agency, Arksey wanted the experience of growing a brand and a product rather than an agency name. This led him to take on his role at Fire Roasted, helping them develop their brand and marketing materials.
Now the question is: what’s next for Cameron? At this point, Arksey isn’t quite sure. Having gained the experience of working in an agency at Red Rhino, and also being the Marketing Manager and Operations Management Consultant for Fire Roasted, Arksey has discovered new passions and gained insight into how he enjoys working in teams and in leadership roles.
“I’m not sure what the future of Warpaint is right now,” says Arksey, “It still exists, but I don’t know if I want to grow it back up to a company and an agency of people who work full time there, because I have already done that. Running a company was interesting, exciting, challenging, stressful, all of those things. So I’m really happy where I am now and I really don’t want to let go. I especially don’t want to let go of some of the clients I work with, but I’m not sure if Warpaint will be the same company that it once was.”
Arksey continues to work with Warpaint clients, including the IABC Virtuoso Celebration and welcomes any other opportunities to continue to grow and develop his skills in design. “Who knows, maybe next year I will be doing even more,” he says.