Since the first salon opened twelve years ago, Reuben Wood has gone from strength to strength and become one of Manchester’s landmark destinations for creating new, fresh and vibrant looks.
Karl Collins is one half of the duo to have built this thriving business, which has allowed him to develop his passion for photography and thus embarking on journeys to the fashion capitals of the world and working with renowned designers!
We caught up with the brains behind the beauty and the lens to discuss business, photography and what the future holds…
Talk us through Reuben Wood. How has it developed and become one of Manchester’s prestigious salons?
We opened our first salon on High Street back in 2004. My partner and I, Reuben wanted a unique space that felt really personal. We wanted to move away from the corporate hairdressing salons and lack of service that people had become used to. The business was an instant success and we retained a loyal following right from the start.
I did all the management/business side of things and Reuben did the creative. I think with Reuben having worked in fashion definitely gave us that edge over other salons. Over the last 10 years, he has worked at New York, Paris and London Fashion Week, as well as on various shoots for Vogue and multiple fashion campaigns.
After each season Reuben always does a workshop with all of the team to keep everyone up to date with all the latest trends!
Would you say Reuben Wood has allowed you to develop your photography and added to your success?
Reuben Wood the company (and the person) definitely gave me the opportunity to develop my skills. Having amazing hairdressers, make up artists and a full team of creative minds to learn from really helped and constantly inspired me to keep shooting something fresh.
One of the hardest things is to build a great team of creatives when you’re starting out in photography. I’ve been really lucky to be working with some of best from the beginning of my career.
When did you first find your love for photography? What made you want to fulfil your passion?
My photography career started as a hobby around 2010. We had always hired various photographers to shoot our collections for the salon and found that we didn’t always get the results we were looking for.
I decided to try it out for myself. I bought a semi pro camera, some studio lights and then we’d spend our weekends in the salon, working on test shoots with various make up artists and local models.
I had always had a real passion for art, particularly photography, but I never really knew I wanted to be a photographer until I started working with professional models. I really love the creative side of organising a shoot, working on the concepts and alongside stylists and hair & makeup artists.
What’s your biggest accomplishment has been as a photographer?
I was asked this year to take images backstage and at the fitting before the Maison Margiela show in Paris. It was a really surreal experience working in the showroom with John Galliano. I’ve followed and loved his work over the years. It was an amazing experience, which led to me having some of my backstage shots featured on Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia.
I’ve also worked on shows such as Yohji Yamamoto, Stella McCartney and Chloe. It’s a real privilege to be part of the team behind the scenes at these incredible shows in the most beautiful buildings in Paris.
What does the future hold for your photography and Reuben Wood?
We opened our second business Reuben Wood Creatives in 2013 and the businesses are both are doing great. The teams in both businesses are the strongest we’ve had – so the future is looking great for the salon and the studio.
I have been working on shows in Paris for last three seasons and I’m heading to New York next week for fashion week. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I’ll most certainly keep working hard and more importantly, enjoying what I do!