Tools of the Trade: Laura Wasson of Madwell

By Kyle O'Brien 

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

Next up is Laura “Jumpsuit” Wasson, group creative director at Madwell.

Laura Wasson poses with her cats Gremlin and Goblin.


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

While they don’t technically qualify as tools given that they are living creatures, my two darling
cats—Goblin and Gremlin—are extremely helpful in my day-to-day remote work life. I adopted them in 2018, but we grew much closer as a result of the pandemic and my subsequent cross-country move back to Louisiana to be closer to family.

Why is it your favorite?

As much as I love my fancy pens and notebooks from the bougie stationary stores in my neighborhood, they really can’t hold a candle to The Boys. Working from home full time can feel isolating and emotionally draining; you really have to put so much more of your energy out into the universe to connect with others across the digital divide. But The Boys keep me grounded and entertained. I miss them dearly whenever I travel back to the Brooklyn office. It’s just not the same staring at a computer all day without a happy cat purring in my lap.

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

I didn’t grow up with furry pets and was always sort of intimated by the idea of having a cat or a dog given that they demand much more than, say, a lizard or a rat (two of my childhood pets). But my opinion was changed by our former office cat, Jackson. Over the many years he called Madwell home, we developed a bond and through him I realized how magical the human-animal connection can be.

When I was ready to adopt my own cat—I thought I was only getting one but The Boys were a package deal—I worked with Brooklyn Animal Action, an organization I’d recommend to anyone looking to adopt in the NYC area.

How does it help you be successful?

Let’s be honest, advertising is a myopic industry. As a community, we tend to think that the work we’re doing is “the most important thing ever!” and we’ll willingly throw our personal lives into a tailspin in service of the pitch or the award or the clients’ demands. I believe you can work very hard and care deeply and also not destroy yourself.

As The Boys demonstrate to me daily, life is a gift, a fleeting gift, that should be honored and witnessed even on the days when you need to work till 2 a.m. nailing a concept. Taking a moment for something simple and pleasant—like playing with a cat—can do so much for your mental health as well as…duh duh duh…your perception of your own mortality. We all die eventually, even the little creatures we love. I believe that recognizing that reality can help us make kinder, better choices in work and in life every day.

Does it have sentimental value?

I should say so. I never really understood the notion that pets could be part of your family until Grem and Gob came along. Now I get it. The Boys are 100% family.

Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral? 

Unfortunately, I do think they’d do very well on TikTok. First of all, they’re well coordinated gothic cats which is a great place to start. Second of all, they have very distinct personalities. Gremlin’s nickname is The Grem Meeper because he makes these very funny little high-pitched meep sounds as opposed to proper meowing. He also has a penchant for staring at you without blinking for long periods of time which might feel foreboding if he wasn’t so cute. Goblin’s nickname is Trashcan Man because he’s a lovable, kind of messy scavenger. He embodied the ideals of “goblin mode” long before that was trendy. But I’ll never subject The Boys to the fleeting joys of social media fame. We prefer to keep our little coven private.

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.