Bluestone expands, keeping focus on relationships

Adam Browning and Jack Conrad met as toddlers in Northern Kentucky. They went to grade school together, started college together and stayed friends after that.

Then, when Browning transformed his one-man creative shop into an advertising agency, bluestone creative, in 2003, he did it with Conrad, his creative co-founder.

Today, bluestone creative exists as a testament to their ability to build partnerships that last.

“We’re hell-bent on reinventing the client-agent relationship,” says Browning, who graduated from art school and turned his job at Snowshoe Mountain into bluestone’s first client project and hasn’t looked back since. Clients include napCincinnati, roadID and Red River Gorge.

He’s proud that his company has never actively sought new clients, yet has gained enough project work through word-of-mouth to bring in new employees, a responsibility neither takes lightly. While the duo started lean—they were the only employees until 2008—they now have seven employees in their downtown office on Main Street.

Employees wear many hats, in an effort to spur creativity while avoiding silos of skills and layers of job duties. In an atmosphere like that, relationships, like clients, build naturally.

 “Good creative is key,” says Conrad, who lives in Ft. Mitchell and worked in sales at Cincinnati Bell before joining Browning and making a go of it as an independent business co-founder.

Though the duo worked out of Browning’s apartment in Mt. Adams for the first few years, he now enjoys sharing space with his expanding team.

“It’s nice to be in an environment with other creative people,” says Browning, a father of two who lives in Crescent Springs.

In addition to their work at bluestone, Browning and Conrad founded The Queen City Project with Alias Imaging last year. Their collaborative efforts with Alias and SoapboxMedia led to the Cincinnati Growing Cincinnati video that wowed audience members at the CEOs for Cities conference here this spring.

Fueling their creative interests fits naturally with their less-than-orthodox mission statement: “to enjoy the scenery while we work.”

So far, Conrad reports, so good.

By Elissa Yancey
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