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Grooming Sector Focusing on Needs of Pets, Owners


April 1, 2020

According to MarketersMEDIA, the global pet grooming market was valued at $2.1 million in 2018 and will reach $3.5 million by the end of 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7 percent from 2019 to 2025. As pet parents become increasingly educated on the well-being of their pets, the grooming styles and tactics of the past just won’t do. That’s why the grooming sector is taking this growth in stride and adding more “oomph” to the industry, and not just by jazzing up a pet’s fur. Brands in the industry are focusing on the underlying needs of both pet and pet parent to ensure an improved, prosperous human-animal bond. 

Groomers

At Versailles Dog Grooming Palace in Flushing, New York, dogs and their owners are treated like royalty with services that prioritize the dog’s well-being and comfort.

“We are well aware of this industry’s growth and, in my opinion, people are acquiring knowledge of the importance and benefits of grooming their pets,” said Carolina Herrera, manager and head groomer at Versailles Dog Grooming Palace.

Herrera educates her customers on the importance on grooming, particularly on how brushing is beneficial to removing dead hair, dirt and dandruff and helps stimulate the dog’s own natural oils in their fur. She also notes that grooming every six to seven weeks keeps them free of knots, clean and healthy. But more importantly, she emphasizes that retailers and manufacturers should have good communication with pet groomers to exchange experiences so they improve tools and products.

“There is a vast line of products in the market. Experience helps choose the best product depending on the dog. Some products may work wonders on certain dogs but does not give the same results in others,” Herrera explained. She personally enjoys using oatmeal, aloe vera and products containing natural ingredients.

When it comes to grooming, Herrera advises pet parents to do their research into the place they are planning to bring their pet. That means it’s critical for groomers to create a comfortable relationship with the dog owner.

“We, as humans, want the best for our beloved pet, and we tend to be skeptical in who we trust our loved ones to. As manager or owner, you have to reassure the customer that you are experienced in handling and providing the best possible care to their furry baby and that their well-being is our No. 1 priority,” Herrera said.

Cat Naps Cattery is a cat-only business, the only cat-exclusive grooming salon in New Jersey. Besides offering a specialty environment, the grooming services focus on introducing cats to regular bathing and preventative grooming maintenance schedules.

“Our role as a pet specialty business is to be the client’s guide through the forest of conflicting messages and mass of information available. Once your clients see you as the expert, then it is easier to incorporate products and services that they trust and are interested in,” said Lynn Paolillo, certified feline master groomer and owner of Cat Naps Cattery.

As a certifier with the National Cat Groomers Institute, Paolillo notes that pet owners are looking for high-quality, specialty services, as well as for transparency. They are more interested in “ingredients, how products are made and what happens behind the curtain than ever before.” She has found that limiting scents and using high-quality products gives consistent, beautiful results. She personally sticks to products from Chubbs Bars and Les Poochs.

Paolillo notes the challenge with grooming being a largely unregulated field, thus pet parents can be hesitant to bring their pets to a groomer.

“From a client’s perspective, it can be difficult to know who to trust with your pet family members. For cats, there are even less options to find a trained groomer who is an expert in cats,” Paolillo said. “At Cat Naps, we are dedicated to education and safety standards during grooming services.”

As the pet grooming industry continues to grow and evolve, Paolillo advises other grooming businesses to “hone in on your ideal target market and focus on how best you can serve them.”

“Trust and transparency can make a huge difference for pet owners,” she said.

Solutions and Distributors

ZYMOX Dermatology by Pet King Brands provides remedy products that are effective alternatives to antibiotics for the health conditions that affect dogs and cats the most—itchy allergy skin and infections of the ears and skin. ZYMOX employs the patented LP3 Enzyme System, is veterinarian recommended, has earned The International Cat Association (TICA) Seal of Excellence and is easy to use for pet owners who want to help their pets have healthy ears and skin.

“A pet who has healthy ears and skin is a pet who can live a happy life. Good grooming is especially important to those dogs or cats with sensitive, allergic skin and those who are prone to ear infections,” said Debra Decker, director of marketing for Pet King Brands.

Decker notes that the grooming category is experiencing growth because pet parents want their companion animals to be healthy and comfortable. Pet parents also have many demands, such as remedy products that are veterinarian recommended, work without antibiotics, promote a fear-free experience and can be used without causing additional stress to the pet.

“ZYMOX is a category leader because it is proven solutions that have been used by veterinarians, professionals and pet parents for over 20 years, and they are so simple to use. The products employ the advanced technology of enzymes to work without antibiotics and don’t require pre-cleaning of sensitive ears,” Decker explained.

One of the biggest challenges facing this category for many retailers is educating the pet parents on remedy products available in store. Decker states that many retailers have found success by strategically placing the ZYMOX displays and products in the pet food aisles where the stores typically have the most traffic, as well as at checkout.

“Retailers are having success by creating displays or utilizing manufacturers’ displays to create a remedy section within the grooming category that serve as ‘silent salesman.’ The benefit of a good display is one that addresses the needs of the pet and explains the benefits,” said Decker.

As a distributor, Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies has a depth of knowledge about the products it offers. Having been in business since 1969, it caters to consumers, groomers and dog show enthusiasts.

“We use the products that we offer, so that we can speak with knowledge and educate our clients on which products will work best for their specific needs,” said Roy Loomis, co-owner and CEO of Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies.

According to Loomis, many pets are becoming famous on social media pages like Instagram. These pet pages are influencing consumers in a positive way. They “see how great these dogs look and the general appeal that they have, be it the hairstyles, their adornments or even the clothes that they wear, and this translates to consumers wanting their own pet to look as good.” That’s why retailers and manufacturers need to stay on top of the trends in order to survive.

“Companies that stall in their products and marketing are constantly being pushed aside by newer and more cutting edge versions,” Loomis said. He notes that popular grooming products for consumers and groomers are well-made and quality brushes and combs, well-formulated liquid products—shampoos, conditioners and brushing sprays—and products that use human-grade ingredients and that smell great.

Consumers have so many choices when it comes to choosing a groomer, but when a groomer keeps on top of industry trends by staying plugged into social media, attending trade shows and using great products, they will keep their clients loyal. That’s why Cherrybrook offers great product choices in many price ranges, groomer education in the form of online offerings, knowledgeable staff with education offerings at trade shows and class offerings at its brick-and-mortar locations.

“We will be creating a new website for groomers only, called THE Groomer’s Store (thegroomerstore.com). This website will be a new and exciting way for groomers to communicate, learn and shop. As a company, we will create growth in the grooming sector by continuing to monitor social media and creating relationships with our customers and listening to their wants and needs,” Loomis said.

Shampoos

Formerly Purequosa for your dog, Just Dog crafts all-natural grooming products with colloidal silver. Best known for being an antimicrobial and antibacterial solution, colloidal silver is the main ingredient focus in all of Just Dog’s products. Their most popular grooming product, Clean Coat, uses colloidal silver, all-natural essential oils and moisturizing plant hydrosols to keep dogs smelling their best in-between baths.

The founders, Josef and Leah Rodardi, were unable to find suitable, natural grooming products for their poodles Sonny and Harry, which lead to Just Dog. And Just Dog’s mission for natural products is resonating well in the industry.

“In my opinion, the pet industry is seeing a wave of movement towards using products on your dogs that you’d want to use on yourself. It’s important to recognize these trends as a company and be able to adapt to what the market is asking for, that way you don’t get left behind,” said Brianna Garriott of Just Dog.

According to Garriott, many shampoos on the market contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which acts as the lathering agent. SLS is a common irritant causing redness, dryness and itching. Just like humans, a dog’s skin is their largest organ and anything used on them is easily absorbed in the body.

“Using the natural odor-fighting power of colloidal silver, we formulated Clean Coat to target the odor-causing bacteria on your dog’s skin and fur and give them a little extra time in between baths,” Garriott explained.

But not all dogs like to be bathed and washed. Clean Coat was designed so pet parents don’t have to wash their dogs all the time, and this is beneficial for them.

Just Dog plans to continue growing its product lines, and it recently launched a few other natural grooming products, including an ear wash that is aloe-eucalyptus scented, and Pure, a bottle of pure colloidal silver to help soothe wounds, hot spots and all of dog’s sensitive spots.

“I think it’s important to continue to produce products that we see a need for in the market and in keeping up with this current trend, producing natural products that are truly natural. We will continue to be 100 percent honest with our ingredients, as we believe ingredient integrity is key to our success,” Garriott emphasized.

Best Shot Pet Products’ comprehensive experience with advanced silicone copolymers and conditioning technologies is what distinguishes it from other companies. It’s what led to developing the pet industry’s preeminent professional grooming system and what drives its ongoing research for more desirable hair effects and future innovations.

“Our culture is rapidly changing alongside its advances in technology. Virtually every demographic segment of our culture is opting for pet companionship. [And] pet retailers are successfully capitalizing upon all of this by offering convenient pet wash stations and full-service grooming. It is a matter of supply and demand, not to mention big profits,” explained David Campanella, national sales and marketing director for Best Shot Pet Products Intl.

Campanella believes that pet grooming’s business model has proven to be very lucrative as with other pet ownership-related services. But this isn’t without its challenges, as Campanella has observed that companies are challenged to differentiate their products in order to stand out. As such, he notes a spike in “good ol’ fashioned soap sales.”

“Much of this momentum, I believe, is attributed to the push for natural ingredients crossing over from the human shampoo and food industries. ‘More natural’ and ‘ingredient disclosure’ are very good for our industry; however, some marketers are pandering to ‘fear, doubt and ignorance’ when it comes to shampoo ingredients,” Campanella said.

That’s why Best Shot, in its third year of full ingredient disclosure, continues to appeal to customer’s desire for transparency and fact-based education. Customers can ask questions about the ingredients and performance, and Best Shot is more than happy to explain with substantive facts backed by science. And with plans for more interactive social media, seminars, advertising and more, Best Shot aims to advise others on the importance of a quality product, integrity and ingredient transparency.

Tools

The FURminator deShedding Tool was created by a professional groomer when she couldn’t find a grooming tool that worked effectively for her. Its features—a curved edge that conforms to a pet’s natural build, the SkinGuard that prevents digging in at the edges, the Edge Guard that protects the tool when it’s stored and the FURejector button that releases collected hair—sets it apart from other products.

“It’s all part of the FURminator Ultimate Hair Reduction System—a complete regimen that helps pet parents pick the right tools to groom, de-shed, bathe and discard pet hair in the comfort of their own home. We’re providing grooming confidence with trusted products that make it easy for pet parents to determine the right steps and when to perform them,” explained Eric Kenney, vice president, marketing and product development for Spectrum Brands Global Pet Care.

Kenney explains that pet parents want to ensure their pets have the best lives they can provide and as a result, humanization trends are impacting the market. And “providing them with the right tools—and the right education to use them correctly—takes a deep understanding of the market.”

FURminator plans to continue to emphasize educating pet parents on the benefits of regular grooming through the FURminator Ultimate Hair Reduction System, including explaining the differences between brushing and de-shedding.

“The grooming sector as a whole should continually work to understand the consumer more thoroughly than ever before—including their motivations, their pain points and the things they do for themselves that they wish they could do for their pets,” Kenney said.

Andis Company is a global leader in the grooming tools industry, offering the highest quality professional grooming products on the market for over 95 years. It provides a wide assortment of electric grooming clippers and grooming tools for professionals and the at-home pet parent. Andis is also pushing the boundaries in grooming education, providing materials that have become a must-use resource for groomers and pet parents alike.

“Growth is occurring in the pet grooming sector for several reasons, but at the top of the list is the nearly unlimited access to education. Not only do trained groomers have the ability to access online educational courses, but pet parents are accessing grooming information online so they can care for their pets at home,” explained Danielle Gallo, senior manager of product marketing at Andis.

Gallo says the rise in pet ownership, especially among younger generations, is increasing at-home grooming and the need for professional grooming with breeds that require a certain style of grooming. Andis is addressing this with products, like the Nail Clipper, that are designed for use by professionals and at-home groomers. It has also designed some of the quietest tools, like the Cord/Cordless Nail Grinder, to help address the common struggle of pet anxiety from the noise.

According to Gallo, the grooming sector is hungry for education. That’s why Andis plans to continue providing world-class learning opportunities to all levels of groomers and providing insight into the latest trends in grooming.

“Our advice to others on keeping the grooming sector healthy is to continue to make the space friendly and welcoming. People love this industry for its culture of caring, and we look forward to maintaining that with all our partners and customers!” exclaims Gallo.

Evolution Shears is a company that was started by a groomer and a sharpener, Abbe and Moe Hann, to market a shear that has the ability to prevent/alleviate hand issues such as carpal tunnel and tendonitis. The shears are different from any other because each pair is custom to fit to the user’s hand and fingers, aiding in control and making the scissor feel like an extension.

“I was forced to stop grooming when my hand became so bad that I couldn’t hold anything without dropping it, including a glass of wine at a restaurant! [These are issues] groomers are facing every day—hand and arm pain, back pain, hip pain, neck and shoulder pain—and we’ve come to realize that healthy grooming isn’t just about hand pain, and our shears can also help prevent all of the above,” explained Abbe.

Abbe says that the pet grooming sector has shown such amazing growth because groomers and pet parents are becoming more educated about the health and welfare of themselves and the pets in their care. And that the continued growth of the grooming sector depends on the groomers themselves.

“I think they need to continue to educate pet parents. They need to project an attitude which reflects their education and competence. They need to demonstrate the quality of their products and equipment by keeping up to date, by keeping everything clean and by keeping their shops or vans attractive and well maintained,” Abbe said. “By demonstrating quality and knowledge every day, the industry is elevated in the eyes of pet parents and the public, and the value of grooming is enhanced.”

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