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March 31, 2015

Consumers’ purchasing decisions reflect an increase in environmental consciousness. While that pertains to the products they pick up off the shelf, it also applies to services they purchase. Groomers can harness this increased awareness—and spending—by offering a mix of eco-friendly products and services.

Human Grooming Trends

As often occurs in the pet industry, most trends follow closely behind those in parallel human markets. According to a report published by Transparency Market Research in 2013, a surge in the organic personal care market to $13.8 billion by 2018 was predicted. That growth will likely transfer to organic grooming as discerning customers demand the same care for their pets as they do for themselves.

“We see more and more clients interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle, not just for themselves but for their canine companions as well,” said Brian Corby, president and co-founder of Green Dog Wash, an eco-friendly grooming business with locations in Boulder and Tampa. “A driving factor is knowledge that such products and services exist. The average consumer is much more knowledgeable now than when we opened.”

Started in 2009, Green Dog Wash opened their doors with the goal of reducing their clients’ anxiety by eliminating cages and having canine stylists who work one-on-one with their clients. As for their grooming products, Corby said, “Our human clients appreciate the alternative things that we are able to provide, such as all-natural ShamPooch Bars, products that we resell in the shop and products that we use on a daily basis to keep the shop clean and in order.”

Green Grooming Products

PL360, an eco-friendly grooming product manufacturer formed as a merger between PawGanics and PetLabs 360, debuted at Global Pet Expo last month.

“Eco-friendly means a lot more to pet consumers than it used to,” said Katie Rogers, marketing manager of PL360. “For consumers, it’s not just about using a product that is safe for the earth; it’s about choosing a product that is safe for the earth, safe for their pet and that works to their expectations. PawGanics’ grooming products fit into this trend in a few ways. One, in regard to safety, we only use plant-based ingredients and all of our formulas are biodegradable. We are able to provide the consumer with a natural product that is gentle so they can feel safe using it on their pet. And, furthermore, it’s a product that isn’t going to kill the grass in your backyard after you rinse it off.” She emphasized that the safety goes both ways: for the pet and for the planet.
PawGanics offers three foaming shampoos, four deep cleansing gel shampoos and two SKUs of grooming wipes.

When selecting an eco-friendly product mix, Rogers pointed out that simply being “green” isn’t enough for consumers.

“For consumers looking for an eco-friendly product, it isn’t enough to just be ‘safe.’ The product needs to work to their expectations or they are going to be back to square one looking for the right eco-friendly product that is safe and works,” she said. Part of their success, Rogers said, is that the PawGanics products clean dirt, odor and muck and rinse quickly.

Satisfy the Customer

As consumer demand increases for eco-friendly products, businesses have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking it a step further. Beyond their product mix, “green” is an operational choice at Green Dog Wash.

“We strive to be as green as possible,” said Corby. “We have even approached being green from the ground up and use water-mixing values to control the temperature in each station, no-VOC paint and allergy-certified flooring, to name a few.”

For traditional salons, offering an eco-friendly selection of products or even a suite of green services can capitalize on this growth segment.

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