Tools of the Trade: Rob Drury of Cartwheel & Co.

By Kyle O'Brien 

Tools of the Trade is an AgencySpy feature to help highlight the many tools that help make advertising and marketing folks successful. The tools can be anything that helps you perform at your top form, from your favorite drafting table to your best software program to a lucky pen, a vintage typewriter or a pair of headphones.

Next up is Rob Drury, CEO and founder of Cartwheel & Co. Marketing in Philadelphia.

Rob Drury from Cartwheel & Co is inspired by his children’s artwork.


What is one tool you use all the time at work, and how does it inspire your work?  

The wall behind my desk is plastered with my children’s artwork, so every time I look at my computer it’s framed by something I love. They’re 6 and 3, so they come home with an insane amount of crafts anyway, making the wall a functional place to store their treasures and a constant reminder to keep things in perspective. I change it out with new art about three times a year, so it’s always evolving, just like life.

Tell us why it’s your favorite.

First and foremost, their art serves as creative inspiration. A big part of my job is to come up with first-to-market ideas and the vibe it sets gets the creative juices flowing. Just the other day I was staring at a picture of a flower my daughter drew, which inspired a living sculpture garden in a creative deck. Further proof that inspiration can come from anywhere.

Cartwheel is also growing very fast, and as the CEO it’s easy to get lost in the mountain of programs, RFP responses and day-to-day grind of agency life. I’ve always wanted us to be the best part of our client’s day and being surrounded by a tapestry of color helps bring positive energy and enthusiasm to our clients.

Finally, it’s amazing to watch my kids grow up through the lens of artistic expressions. I can literally see how they are developing month over month.

How did you acquire your tool or hear about it for the first time? 

My son actually suggested putting them up in my office after visiting his first art museum. He clearly has delusions of grandeur, but in this case we both benefited.

How does it help you be successful? 

It’s a daily reminder to keep things simple. This lesson works its way into every aspect of our business, most often as a guiding principle for brainstorms, but really about everything. Our mission statement is centered on just two things: 1) Great ideas and 2) Great service, which is about as simple as it gets. Also, when developing ideas, I look at the art and ask myself if I explained this idea to my 6-year-old, would she get it? If the answer is no, there’s a good chance neither the client nor consumers will either.

Does it have sentimental value? 

Yes. Each piece of art becomes a staple in my world for a chunk of months and I become quite attached to them. It’s sad to take them down, but there’s always another to replace. At least for now (tears up at the thought of kids growing up too fast).

Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral? Why or why not? 

Heck yes, though it would have to be about them and not me. No one wants to see a parent gush over their kids. I think if my kids did an “Art History 101” seminar about their own art it would be hilarious. Kids and animal videos are still the most popular things online, right?

We want to know what tools you use to make you successful. If you’d like to contribute or know someone who would want to be featured in Tools of the Trade, contact and fill out our survey.