We had the good fortune of connecting with Redden Wood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Redden, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I was in college, I had this idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but no idea what career path that actually fell under. I saw myself in some sort of formal setting- assisting with artistic decisions, gathering inspiration and material, and then giving all of it back, packaged and beautiful. Okay, but what career does that embody, really? So I went to my college advisor with this super vague life goal, and together we went major by major, class by class, until we figured out that I was drawn to events, curation, and business. In my career today, I find myself fulfilling all of those factors I hoped for. I get to be apart of these incredibly special events, where I jump into the chaos and assist in any way I can. I draw inspiration from my couples, their stories, and how I’ve gotten to know them over the year since they first hired me. I gather hundreds (really, thousands!) of photos, go home, and get to see these stories come to life. My favorite part- is physically giving my couples their pictures. I send them a bunch of prints in these beautiful glass boxes, where I include dried flowers, sweet little sugar cubes, ribbons and handmade details that all reflect back to the colors of their day, and everything they worked so hard to put together. I’m a hopeless romantic who is such a gift giver, and I could think of no better premise to build my business on than being able to take these people’s incredible love stories and give them back something to cherish.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the biggest things that translated from my college education to my business, is the idea that you always take care of the people you work with. In my hospitality program, we learned what it looks like when a business truly takes care of their employees. And when you support the people that support your company, really beautiful things happen. I think that’s one of the first things I saw in my mentor. She was always willing to walk me through tough questions, she supported me in new decisions, gave me so many opportunities to explore and grow, and was always without question or judgement. In our line of work, we don’t take on a ton of employees, but I see it as a pillar of my business to treat anyone who works with me, alongside me or for me with open arms, support and flexibility. And in turn, over these past seven years as a business, I have had so many wonderful second shooters, associate shooters, partners, vendors, friends and clients. I’ve even had the chance to hire past brides; My go-to second shooter is one of my first brides here in Colorado, and it has been so special to go from meeting her on her wedding day, to giggling behind the camera with her, to seeing her grow her own business. Another past bride is this extraordinary artist who draws these fashion sketches of my couples, which we include in every print box! Every portrait I receive from her is so delicate and thoughtful, I am in complete awe of her work. I love the creative web this industry naturally builds and all the incredible people behind it. I got to where I am today professionally with a few risks, a lot of support, more mistakes and ultimately, just hard work. There’s no secret! Everyone’s story follows more or less the same trajectory. But building a business is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s the taking risks, it’s the investing in great things and not-so-great things, it’s making mistakes, and getting opportunities. But the best part has been seeing something you love, grow into something others truly value. There’s nothing like it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Denver because it’s essentially made up of a bunch of wonderful, uniquely different neighborhoods that all have something to offer. When people come to visit I usually take them to Postino, because their wine is exceptional and their bruschetta is even better. We explore RiNo and all the incredible graffiti (and cute coffee shops!), we go to the highlands for their breweries and their views of Union Station. We get cocktails at Death and Co, walk around Lodo, and hang out at Commons Park. There is so much to see in Denver, but it’s not so big that it’s overwhelming. It’s close enough to the mountains to get a day-trip in, but you can also go to Boulder if you’re looking for some really great small hikes. If I had to pick a favorite area to take someone visiting, it would probably be the highlands!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
By far, the most influential person in my career has been Brittany Johnson of Alchemy Creative. I moved to Colorado fives years ago, and within months we became friends. But more than that, she patiently taught me everything she knew about photography. She generously led me through all the ups and downs of early business you could think of, from what the heck do all these buttons do, to some real “oh shit” moments. She connected me with other incredible communities, traveled across the US with me, edited late into the night and was always ready with spot-on critiques and ways to get better. I owe these last 5 incredible years to her!