The Hiro + Wolf festive photoshoot took place recently, showcasing our favourite products both new and old. Behind the glitter and glamour and beautiful shots there was an awful lot of hard work! To celebrate all the effort our incredibly talented team put into this years shoot, we sat down with Bea, the creative mind behind the planning of of this epic photoshoot to give you a behind the scenes peek into what goes into a Hiro + Wolf photoshoot.
Hello Bea! Can you tell us a little more about yourself and how you are involved with Hiro + Wolf?
My background is in design, originally I was a womenswear designer but I went into trend, concept and branding pretty swiftly…so Design has a lot to do with why I was drawn to Hiro + Wolf. The other big pull was that I grew up for a large (and very formative part of my childhood) in Harare, Zimbabwe so the beautiful African prints really caught my attention! As did the very sensitive design & curation - not everyone takes as much care to curate and work with such skilled artisans. I had recently moved to Ramsgate with my husband and our rescue greyhound Millie and happened to meet Bee at the Alternative Dog show at Dreamland in Margate, we got chatting and the team needed some help in a few different ways so I’ve been working with Bee and Amy on various things since then. I work on anything and everything as needed - from business development, content creation to creative direction. I also get to look after our Wholesale customers who are brilliant and are such a cool community! Last year I organised for Bee and Amy to take Hiro + Wolf to New York and we had a great launch of the brand and were wonderfully well received. It was rewarding to be able to use my experience of working in New York to introduce the brand and the team to retailers and customers that I knew would be blown away by Hiro + Wolf. This year I’ve worked on all sorts of projects, including the creative direction for the Christmas campaigns which has been really good fun!
Photo of Wolfie taken by Bea in 2013 before she worked with us!
What is it about the brand that you wanted to bring to the shoot?
Hiro + Wolf is all about colour and fun! The brand is also very much about people who love design and embody a lifestyle: loving life, enjoying design - with our pets, not as accessories but as an integral part of our families. Hiro + Wolf were early design adventurers who bought colour, fun and an eclectic, global view to the pet accessories market 8 years ago. I actually came across a photo I had taken of Wolf in 2013 (pictured above) when I first came across the brand at their store in Columbia Road and even then (before I knew Bee and Amy) was impressed by how their pets were just a part of how things were.
Bea's rescue greyhound Millie chilling out between shots...
My favourite aspects of Christmas have got to be getting together with friends and family, enjoying each others company, the joy of giving and also travel. Over the years travelling has often featured at Christmas time (mostly due to either me and my family or my folks being in far flung places) so the aspect of adventure has always been tied to holidays too. That sense of adventure married with the sense of fun are both very much what Hiro + Wolf and what Bee and Amy are about too so it felt very in tune with what stories I wanted to tell.
We know you worked really hard to bring the magic to life. What shot were you most excited to see come to fruition?
That’s a really really tough question as so many of them filled me with joy - It’s hard to choose between them but it’s got to be the 2 shots with the 2 new prints. We are so lucky to have the amazing models that we have but I have to say I loved the shot of Kimberly (friend of the brand and Dog-a guru) lying on the floor surrounded by a beautiful scattering of presents, some wrapped in the new print, Happy Howlidays - along with Hiro+Wolf in the new print too. It’s a shot from above and Kimberly bought a lovely playfulness to the shot, Hiro and Wolf being their usual consummate professional selves were brilliant and very chilled and it just looks really fabulous. It felt like Christmas to me!
I also love the shot of Amy & Bee together putting up the massive paper chain. The paper chain took a while to make but I love the extravagance of it even though it was a very simple idea. Amy has created a really beautiful colourful print - Hiro + Wolf’s Happy Howlidays, it’s really detailed so I wanted to blow it up to use the print to cover boxes and make it all about the decoration, the wondrous colours and getting the girls into their “Party” frame of mind. We had some Bruno Mars playing to get the funk on. Ben the photographer was just fab, everyone got into it and I think it was a lovely way to remember how much we love what we do after such a challenging year! After all Christmas time is an important opportunity to remember that even when times are tough we’ve got to kick our heels up and have some fun!
How are Hiro, Wolf, Millie and their canine companions to work with?
Haha! SO much fun and incredibly good actually! Hiro and Wolf are so used to their “shoot days” and really take it in their stride. They sit pretty much when they’re asked to - even lie down at a carefully presented treat and that’s always lovely to see! Sitting isn’t really in Millie’s vocabulary - as a long-bodied greyhound. Millie is great though - she’s a relative new-comer to the shoots but she gets constant cuddles and strokes and the Hiro + Wolf team are her extended family so she loves chilling with everyone. When it gets too busy for her she just finds a comfy spot (this time she seemed quite taken with Bee’s bed!) and goes to sleep. This year Ethel, Honey and Flynn also joined in who were equally lovely and bought their personalities to the pawty! Honey is a stunning whippet who looked wonderfully refined, she also enjoyed being in the park with some good quality stick to play with! Ethel was lovely too and joined her family (Molly & Olivia) in a shot with them which was really good fun and summed up to me what having a pet is like as a child. Flynn is an incredibly cute Chihuahua who loved getting close and cuddly with model mum, Kimberley.
I love doing creative direction, especially for such a dream brand so the planning is the easy bit, as long as you do it well in advance! As long as you know and can communicate what the picture needs to end up looking like then the rest is easy. The challenges were minimal. We had beautiful products, amazing models and a beautiful house to shoot the majority of the shots (Bee’s flexibility and patience was Herculean given how much she loves her fabulous pad!). All the props and set ups were created in advance so that was all cool. We also worked with lovely collaborators Mahal Kita whose flowers were just knock out! The challenge comes in the finer details in the few days beforehand and then on the day - namely the weather (always a factor here in the UK!). I’ve previously done more studio work which cuts that particular risk factor out but actually we were really lucky weather-wise and the sun even showed up a few times! We decided to use lovely Dane Park for the exterior shots and the trees still had enough leaves on to make it feel atmospheric. The rest is just about timing and making sure the team, the right product, the models (both hooman and dogs!) what they’re wearing and the sets are where they need to be for each shot so that Ben - the photographer - can do his magic. We had a great team on the day - not too many people and all very agile - so we got a LOT of shots done! It was really satisfying.
What was the best part of the photoshoot for you?
An easy question! For me it’s always about those magical moments when we’re all in the room, everything is set up and the models are doing their thing and suddenly you get to see a brilliant image, captured! It’s such a team effort that when those moments happen you savour it - because you know how much of everyone's time and effort has gone into that short space of time and the output. That team work is very precious!
A massive thank you to Bea and the rest of the team for capturing the magic this festive season! Keep an eye out on our website and social media for the fabulous final shots and new festive products.
Photography by Ben Broomfield