Jao Reis has a natural talent for woodworking, and made use of it early, starting his first career, that of a cabinet maker, at the age of fifteen - right around the same period when he first began collecting pipes. The two passions eventually came together in 1998, when at the age of twenty he made his first pipe for a friend. But things didn't really begin to take off until some five years later, when he displayed some of his innovative designs at the World Cup Slow Smoking Competition in Barcelona. This is where he met Kai Nielsen, which in turn led to his training under Kai and his brother Jorgen - followed by more schooling under Poul Ilsted and then Tom Eltang. All by the age of twenty-seven. This would have been quite a fortunate progress for any young pipemaker, but especially so for one like Joao; as a native of Portugal, he was a promising artisan from a country where pipemaking is pretty much non-existent.