Pet Age spoke with Tiffanie Morton, a pet stylist at The Dog Stop in Trussville, Alabama, to learn about the importance of high-quality grooming and how it strengthens the rest of the business.
Q As a groomer, what’s a typical day for you?
A A typical day starts by assessing the unique grooming needs of every dog in our care for grooming that day. I constantly adjust my schedule throughout the day to ensure dogs get done on time and with quality services and care. I also take time throughout the day to sanitize and clean my area and reorganize so my next groom can go as smoothly as the previous groom. I also take time throughout the day to check on the dogs who are waiting to be picked up, as well as the dogs waiting their turn to be pampered. At the end of the day, I clean and sanitize the grooming and bathing areas and prep the salon for the next day.
Q What brands of equipment, shampoo, etc., do you use?
A I first invested in a pair of Wahl Bravuras, and it changed the way I groom. They are very lightweight and easy to use. My only complaint was the limit on lengths with the 5-in-one blades and they seemed to have a difficult time cutting through extremely thick coats. So when Wahl came out with a cordless version of their KM10s, I ordered a pair. They are still fairly new, but on the rare occasions I have to use them, I have no complaints. We also use a combination of Espree shampoos, Mutt Knows Best Shampoos and Artero shampoos. The last, but most valuable product in my arsenal, is cornstarch. I have found it to be the absolute best product to use for breaking up mats painlessly.
Q How does the grooming aspect of your store bolster its retail department and training, daycare and boarding services?
A As online ordering and delivery become increasingly popular, grooming is one thing that keeps clients coming to brick-and-mortar establishments. Clients, as well as their pets, build a bond with their groomer and will often ask their groomer for advice on food, treats, vet care and training. If clients are already in the store for grooming services, they are more likely to take part in the other aspects of pet care that retail stores can offer.
Q What recommendations do you have for potential salon owners or retailers who want to offer grooming in their stores?
A The most important thing is to verify the groomer is experienced and knowledgeable. One of the most unfortunate things about the grooming industry is the lack of a “board” to be certified through. Anyone can claim to be a groomer, and some people may even know how to shave a dog down, but grooming is so much more than washing a dog and shaving it. Finding a groomer who has been properly trained and is knowledgeable can be very difficult. When interviewing for a grooming position, ask how they were certified in grooming. Don’t be afraid to ask for a mentor as a reference; when it comes to taking razor sharp objects to a live animal, one can never be too careful. So as an owner, you can never ask too many questions. Also, most groomers will have a portfolio of their work, so ask for reference photos as well. Lastly, ask if they would be willing to do a working interview so you can see them in action. Once a salon owner finds a great groomer that does great work and treats each dog with kindness, let them know how much they are valued. I’ve personally seen quite a large number of groomers leave their places of employment due to lack of appreciation