Updated: May 30
Bringing my perspective to problems which all groomers (stylists), including myself struggle with on a regular basis. I'm Jenny. A groomer. This year (2023) I turn 55., and have over 20 years experience as a Professional Pet Stylist. I have been working with dogs since I was 12 years old but explored alternative careers ending with degrees in the sciences and education. I have three degrees, B.Sc., M.Sc., 4 years of an incomplete PhD, and a B.Ed (specializing in children and science). These are just the tip of my educational iceberg. I have held numerous awards in science and graduated with top honors. In 2003 I made a radical change and simply quit my old line of work and took a job as a kennel technician with a local vet. From there the grooming just re-happened. So here I am.
J&J Pet Care Ltd. - because my name is Jenny and my husbands name is Jay. We are the backbone of this business. All About Grooming (the dog side), and Grooming with Finesse (the cat side - no logo yet). My husband and I chose these names because they all encompasses everything involved or used in the career as a Professional Pet Groomer (PPG). The art of pet styling is more than just being a “groomer”. In truth, anyone can brush and comb their hair so it stands to reason that anyone can brush and comb their dog or cat. Professional pet grooming, is so much more than just brushing and combing; It is an ART - a specialized skill that not just anyone possesses or enjoys. It's all good or us PPG's wouldn't have a career.
As PPG's we need social skills as well as those "grooming skills". We need to be able to "READ" people and animals alike - we need to speak people and dog. As a PPG we interact with clients and their pets. We strive to form great relationships with clients and their pets. This is not always the easiest of roads. It comes with heartache and hardship. It comes with confidence and right along side self-doubt. Along the way from newbie out of school to seasoned professional salon owner - it is a roller-coaster ride filled with success, disappointments, and failures. At times running a business is daunting and overwhelming. The overhead expense of a storefront salon is at minimum twice that of a home based salon (each have their pro's and con's). Most storefront owners maintain both shop and family home away from the shop. When you question price you are questioning our livelihood, and our ability to live. It is a service and prices increase with inflation, just like everything else does. Any shops' maintenance costs, and upkeep of tools and equipment is also more expensive because it is a targeted niche market. However, with a smile, a positive outlook we take it as it comes and press through everything rewarding, and discouraging - we forge forward. We strive to always be better; always be knowledgeable. A PPG career is constantly changing, and has a continuously demanding learning curve. There is nothing worse than a stagnant professional.
Being a PPG is not for the faint at heart - it can be feast or famine. We are only as good as our last haircut, and there is always another stylist that is better or worse. There is always someone who will do it cheaper, and there is always someone more convenient. There will always be big box store large scale salons. The competition between stylist and shop is fierce - best price, best speed/time, best groom, best shop, best this or that - It is a personal choice of the potential client base, marketing, age, ability and so on. Sometimes one of the hardest parts of being a PPG is the competition. We are all competing for the custom of the same client base. That in itself is a big hurdle - selling yourself with confidence to win your custom. Do you trust me as your groomer? (See my first post).
As Professional Pet Groomers (PPG) we rely heavily on selling the benefits of training pets from a young age to enjoy the grooming process and regular coat maintenance. We rely heavily on prebooked clients to be able to account for a living wage. This is one of the downfalls to our industry. It is piece work and if you don't have the pieces, you don't have the income to live. Essentially we are heavily dependent on repeat business i.e. our clientele who pre-book every 2 to 12 weeks over the year. I am ever so grateful for each and every one of my regular clients who have followed me through my career, and thanks to my memory I remember them all!
On my journey I have come to realize that it’s not always about the perfect groom or if the groom is done to breed standard. It isn't always about being the most polished and flawless. It's about how the client and their pet is handled. Don’t get me wrong, we take pride in doing the most thorough and professional job possible. However, we are all human and can have a "bad" day. When that happens, and it does the groom isn’t going to be perfect. There is a difference between looking good and well done. It’s about trust, between stylist, client and their pet. It’s about loving your job - the good, the bad and the ugly (ear and skin infections, ticks, fleas, mites, matting, dreaded anal glands - the list goes on). It means genuinely caring. It means having the client and their furry family member’s best interest at heart. If you want more than just a perfect haircut but a team that genuinely cares - welcome to our family :-)