In 2000, after 10 years of ad work and big city traffic in Kansas City, Dallas and Austin, Trish McCabe Rawls relocated to the Texas Hill Country town of Fredericksburg with her photographer husband and founded Creative Noggin based on the idea that she could provide great creative to agencies no matter where she lived. And it worked! She soon cultivated trusted freelance relationships, working behind the scenes as a “creative noggin” for several San Antonio agencies.
In 2004, Trish started working directly with a spunky Account Manager named Tracy Marlowe through one of her contracting agencies, and the two hit it off. It didn’t take long for them to realize that they had something special—a mutual respect, common work ethic and the ability to deliver to clients like a well-oiled machine. There was one thing they never had in common though—the same office. Throughout the duration of working together, Trish was always at her home office in Fredericksburg while Tracy was at the agency in San Antonio.
In 2008, after the birth of her daughter made her rethink the late-night hours she was working, Tracy decided to jump ship and try freelancing to hopefully achieve a better work-life balance. A month later, a box of Creative Noggin business cards arrived in the mail with Tracy’s name on them! (Trish’s not-too-subtle invitation to join her as a business partner). Remembering their incredible work synergy, it didn’t take long for Tracy to agree to partner with Trish in growing Creative Noggin to a larger, full-service agency. It made sense to offer clients seasoned veteran advertising and marketing talent without the cost of large office overhead. They developed a lean “virtual agency” business model, and clients saw the benefit immediately.
Today, Creative Noggin still runs a lean shop with all employees working virtually. Although the company has continued to grow and thrive year after year, despite (and possibly enhanced by) the economic recession, the unique business model, teamed with an amazing ability to get inside of their clients’ businesses and help differentiate them in a way that is tangible for their prospective clients, is certainly their niche.