Life is a Circus
Variable's founder Jon Gulick spent 12 years of his life touring the world as circus acrobat. He has toured to 36 countries and worked with some of the world's best circuses specializing in aerial rope, chains, and duo trapeze. Jon began to explore his geeky side while being extremely bored on tour. He took online classes to learn how to program, a skill he later used to create iPad controlled LED bras for a show he produced. Unfortunately, a circus life is hard on the joints, and after too many injuries Jon had to find a new career path.
From Spandex to Suits
In 2012 Jon was accepted as a MBA student at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. His wardrobe wasn't up for the apparel challenges ahead. Having a background in the arts, Jon was always encouraged to express his individuality through what he wore. How can you express yourself while being business-appropriate?
At school there were robotic engineers, mathematicians, cardiac surgeons, neuroscientists and jazz singers. But when dressed "business-appropriate" their uniqueness wasn't apparent. Jon felt like a clone.
Becoming Geek Chic
Wilber Tellez was the costume director for a show Jon worked with at Club Med, Ixtapa. After Mexico, Wilber studied fashion design and tailoring at College LaSalle Vancouver and was a featured designer in Vancouver's 2011 and 2012 Fashion Week. He then moved to Montreal where he and Jon reunited.
Jon is uncomfortable wearing suits, and Wilber is uncomfortable being around Jon dressed like a homeless man. So Jon asked Wilber to create him a fun dress shirt that expressed his inner geekiness that he would have fun wearing in a business context.
The Programming of Variable
Aliki Maragis is a former industrial engineer and was one of the small percentage of women working at her previous company Bombardier. She was tired of being trapped in a cubicle and feeling like a number. She longed to be able to express herself so she started the MBA program at JMSB.
While at school she noticed Jon wearing a shirt with the calculus formula of the surface area of a portion of a sphere. She convinced Jon that many other people like herself wanted to be able to express themselves at work, and this could be a product that people would want to buy.