The Academy, Howard Street


Academy Director

Leigh first came to RRI on work experience back in 1996, and quickly found herself hooked. She qualified in 1998, spent five years perfecting her craft and training as a teacher in our Buchanan Street salon, then opened the Academy in 2003. Now an influential figure in the UK hair industry, this year Leigh helped to develop the new SVQ Hairdressing qualifications for the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority. As a hairdresser, Leigh is exceptional at colouring hair and tackling complex, creative cuts. It’s her belief that changing the colour or style of a person’s hair can genuinely bring out a different side of their personality.

Combining her two roles, Leigh says, gives her best of both worlds: training the next generation of top stylists, while still being able to work directly with clients. She loves seeing students graduate to ‘finishing school’, and watching everything she’s taught them click into place. She calls those the ‘lightbulb moments’. Her philosophy for success is clear: strive for perfection, don’t make excuses, know your strengths (and weaknesses), accept criticism, have confidence and – most of all – be creative.


Training Director

Nikki joined RRI in 1998, at the tender age of 15. From that role as Saturday girl in the Royal Exchange Square salon, she went on to qualify as a stylist, do our teacher training programme (while still working with clients) and achieve her NVQ Level 3. Nikki taught her first course at the Academy in 2003. Since then, she has achieved her Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree and Academy Assessor qualification, and now teaches full-time at the Academy. Nikki knows first-hand that hairdressing can offer a really diverse and fast-paced career, and tries to instill that in her students, who she loves to see progressing week-on-week. Although she’ll always be extremely passionate about training, Nikki still gets a real buzz from working hands-on, colouring, cutting and styling her clients’ hair (she especially likes doing hair-ups for special occasions).


Training Director

Helen first came to RRI as an Assistant Stylist in 2003 through to qualifying in 2007 as a Stylist in the Buchanan Street salon, and also proved her skills by earning a Schwarzkopf Master Colour degree. Helen spent three years climbing the ladder to became a SVQ Assessor in 2010 and became one of the Academy's most popular training assessors, passing on her skills to the next generation of stylists. Quickly finding her passion in helping students through the 'finishing school' within the Academy to eventually becoming part of the Academy team as an Internal Quality Assurance Training Director since 2017.


Academy Consultant

Caitlin joined RRI in 2009, and has been a qualified member of the Academy team since 2010. She qualified as an assessor in 2014 and is delighted  to be one of the team developing RRI’s future stylists. In her own words, she loves teaching because 'I can help the students but develop myself too, as it keeps my own knowledge fresh'. She loves to see the students graduate and showcase their skills at seminars. Caitlin  has also achieved a Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree, giving her an advanced understanding of the science behind colouring (one of her favourite aspects of hairdressing). She can turn her hand to any hair type, but is a big fan of creating short, funky haircuts and putting hair up for nights out,and weddings and creating clean cut barbering. Her favourite is creative colour work and colour correction.. Whether she’s teaching or working directly with clients, her mantra is the same: be persistent, be patient, and be dedicated.


Academy Consultant

Craig came to us on our fast-track training course in 2013 and was a real star student. He is now a qualified colour expert too, having achieved his Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree. In fact, colouring hair (and passing on his skills to the students) is his favourite part of the job. He’s fanatical about keeping up with the latest trends, and loves the opportunity to use cutting-edge application techniques in the salon. Whether you want a classic cut with a contemporary twist, or a complete colour transformation, with Craig, your hair will be in very good hands.


Academy Designer

Reece began her RRI career in 2015, assisting and learning from talented stylists within the Academy untill she became fully qualified in 2017.

Reece loves being behind the chair and getting to know her clients on a daily basis.

Her expert product knowledge combined with her passion for all colours and styles make Rachel a talented young stylist with a bright future ahead of her.


Front of House Manager

Like Training Director Leigh, Jamie first came to RRI on a week’s work experience. After just a few days, Jamie had fallen in love with the industry and decided to train. After qualifying, she worked as a stylist for two years before taking maternity leave when her son was born. When she came back (and we’re glad she did), Jamie opted for a role as a receptionist and has never looked back. Now she heads up the entire reception team here at the Academy, and has progressed to being involved with back office projects. Even after 19 years in the company she still loves seeing students blossom into fully-fledged stylists.



Samantha joined our Academy team in 2017 after being one of our loyal clients for years.

She quickly became an important pillar of the team, by making everyday special with her charisma and passion for customer service!



Front of House

Cheryl was a salon assistant and principle receptionist at RRI before leaving to have her little boy Cole. She then came back to the business, joining the Academy as Senior Receptionist four years ago. Now, Cheryl is also training to be a Stylist in her own time, combining her passion for meeting clients with the hands-on creativity of hairdressing. Cheryl has always loved seeing students progress through the Academy, and feels the job really keeps her feeling young, especially as she’s now a student too. 

Isla & Robbie

Isla & Robbie joined the Rainbow Room team in March 2017 as Digital Marketing Modern Apprentices; after completing their apprenticeship in December 2017, they have taken on important roles within the running of all things social media! 


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If you really can't make your appointment please try to give us at least 24 hours notice.


We understand that finding the right stylist is a very personal choice. As a team we embrace and encourage clients who are just looking for a change to try a different stylist.

Skin Test

Being colour experts, we never (ever) colour hair without a skin test at least 48 hours in advance. You’ll need to pop in, but it only takes 2 minutes. We really can’t put colour on your hair without it. If you're not sure if you've had one before, check with your RRI salon.


We’re happy to consult on any treatment or styling choice before you book, to make sure you get the result you’re looking for and leave the salon feeling amazing.


If you’re thinking of going for a new style or colour, feel free to bring photos or references with you. And if you have a preferred stylist and time slot, it’s also a good idea to book your next appointment before you leave the salon.


Give someone the gift of feeling amazing. RRI vouchers can be used for cutting, colouring, styling, beauty treatments, even our products, and you can buy them from any of our salons.

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