When Adam met Sarah – we’ve got the transcript!

by | 7 Dec 2022

Theirs is a bond built on a love of colour, now blossoming through shared values and beliefs. Here, Adam Reed and Sarah Black open up about first meetings, joining forces and keeping it real

 

 

When salon owner Adam Reed was imagining a new space in London’s Fitzrovia, a key priority was maintaining ‘good vibes’: “I wanted a place where people could be creative, create great hair and enjoy coming to work,” he says. “We spend a lot of time doing what we do, and laughing, I think, is really important.” 

 Adam Reed London opened its doors in February 2020, stayed afloat during the most challenging of times (cue lockdown after lockdown), and is now a thriving business, described by Adam as “a living, breathing archive of me and my mind”.  

When colourist Sarah Black turned 30, she was ready for a change. “It was my time,” she reflects. Picking up her life, she moved from Scotland to London, and joined the Adam Reed London team shortly after launch. “Coming in here and working in a space in which I felt instantly comfortable was just incredible. It’s just been so easy.”  

 Less rigidity, more honesty and plenty of time to talk is really working for Adam’s brand, and Sarah’s played a key role in instilling the ‘Adam Reed London’ way. “I want this to be different,” he says. “I want the guys to feel valued… to have an open team conversation… Sarah has taken my lead and gone with it.” 

 

It’s a match (but we want to know more!). Read on for the full story…

Adam Reed and Sarah Black
Adam Reed and Sarah Black

Adam: “Sarah first came on my radar because of her green hair. I was judging the L’Oréal Colour Trophy Grand Final and I remember seeing Sarah’s model at the technical centre in Hammersmith. I often reference her green mullet (the look earned Sarah the L’Oréal Colour Trophy award in 2017) because for me it stood out for me as innovative, as wearable, as having a commercial edge, and it really lent itself to my colour aesthetic. Then, we were then doing a shoot for L’Oréal. Me, Sarah, and Siobhan Jones – shooting in a lovely little church in south London. I was absolutely ripping the piss out of Sarah – and that was the first time we’d actually spoken. She very quickly got my sense of humour and we had a really good laugh that day. It sort of went from there.”

 Sarah: “I think, ultimately, you’re walking into a room with somebody you’ve admired for a long time – who is iconic within our industry. It was nerve-racking, of course, but I think instantly being put at ease by having the mick taken out of me made it much easier for me to feel like I could stand on my own. I didn’t feel equal to Adam or to Siobhan, but I thought, ‘okay, I’m in the room, and I’m doing my own thing’, and that was amazing. L’Oréal gave us that opportunity – we met through that – and that was such a catalyst moment for my career.” 

 Adam: “I really loved what Sarah did on that shoot and as much as I was taking the piss out of her, I was complimenting the work that I was seeing.” 

 Adam: “Sarah joined just after the first lockdown as colour director… Things changed so drastically [through the pandemic], we’re definitely still finding our feet with how the industry has been re-shaped, but what’s been lovely is we’ve just stuck to an open communication and a creative communication, and I think that’s what was there from the beginning.”  

 Sarah: “I was working in Scotland, at Linton & Mac, at the time, and I just kept pushing. I started putting myself in for Most Wanted and the It List competitions, and I was working a lot with Ky Wilson in London. So, I was kind of splitting my time between London and Scotland. It came to the end of 2019, and I knew Adam was launching Adam Reed London and I bumped into him, actually, at the Grand Final of Most Wanted, and – “ 

 Adam: “Well, I gave you your award…? (Adam presented Sarah with the It List It Girl award) 

 Sarah: “Oh, yeah.” 

 Adam: “It was a strange ‘bump into…’” 

 Sarah: “Yeah, sorry, I forgot about that part.” 

 Adam: “But, do you know what was lovely? I was really pleased when I opened that envelope and saw Sarah’s name. It was really nice, because we’d started to build that little bit of a relationship.” 

 Sarah: “Yeah, if felt slightly full circle in a sense, having Adam as a key judge at the L’Oréal Colour Trophy Grand Final, and then within a couple of months of the [Most Wanted and It List] Grand Final, I kind of thought, this is my time. I was turning thirty, and that felt significant…It was time for a new start, and I asked him for a job. I picked up my life and moved from Scotland to London, and it’s been the quickest two years and the longest two years of my life. It feels like we’ve worked together forever, and the space, it is such an incredible space to work in… I felt instantly comfortable. It’s just been so easy.” 

 Adam: “I took a back seat in terms of how I thought a salon should run because we could see everything was changing, and it’s been great to have a team of people around me who have supported that change. Sarah took over and began really focussing on social media; we have Arkive and our incredible Arkive team and Sarah does a lot of work with the communications side – but also, having somebody to talk about colour the way that I would talk about colour…” 

 Sarah: “Adam and I didn’t actually work together very often at the start. Because of Covid, we were working separately and in different teams, and it wasn’t really until last summer that I would say we started working more consistently together. And that was a huge shift in my day, you know, working here, having those interactions and conversations on the floor with clients, with Adam and the rest of our time… And then of course, a few times a week we’ll sit down and figure out what’s going on and what we have coming up and what needs to be done and how things are running in the salon, and I just keep touching base, which is really nice.” 

 Adam: “It’s been just two years, but Sarah is a huge part of the brand, and what we are looking to create, and is patient with those changes, because a lot of them we’re not quite sure how they’re going to work, but we have an open communication that trust is essential for.” 

 Sarah: “Over the last five years for me, collaboration has been a key factor to my career. I’ve worked with some incredible people – we’ve educated together, worked together on clients, or shows or whatever, and that’s a part of my career I love. And because Adam is so open to collaborating as well – it’s a huge part of what he does – it just works amazingly.”

 Adam: “With the change over the last few years, it would be really easy to focus on negatives, where actually there were so many positives that came out of it, and Sarah’s highlighted them; it’s quite a new way of working for us all. And what we’re doing as a team and as creatives and with our product partners, is we’re working out how things are going to move forward and how the changes are going to be implemented. And I think that’s been really interesting. The consistency that Sarah brought when she joined – from a colour perspective, from a technical perspective, and also from a communication perspective, has been really valuable to how the business has changed… And having a different voice… I’m not a fan of an ego, and what Sarah does – and all the team do – is they allow that ethos to carry on through.”   

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