BY: JENNIFER HIGGINS
It may be true what they say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” but why give in and give up? Maybe it’s time to “join ‘em so you can beat ‘em!”
In order to become or remain competitive in any industry, you must identify and try to meet the needs and wants of your consumers. Doing this requires knowing what’s hot and what’s not, following trends and, at the end of the day, focusing on what is going to grow your bottom line.
As pet needs and pet owner desires continue to evolve, so too should the offerings of pet product retail establishments and manufacturers. What drives those needs and desires is also something that should be considered. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), “The pet grooming market has been segmented by product type into conditioners and shampoos, scissors and clippers, and combs and brushes.” TMR also reported: “Pet owners purchase various types of shampoos and conditioners for allergy prevention, odor control, color enhancement, protection of natural oils and coat care, among others. Increasing demand for safe and healthy products is expected to drive the conditioners and shampoos segment over the forecast period.”
TropiClean produces one of the more well-known and omnipresent lines of bathing products. Aptly named for its tropical fragrance themes, TropiClean has all but cornered the market on odor control with its signature line of shampoos and conditioners imbued with the essences of papaya and coconut. According to James Brandly, associate trade marketing manager for Cosmos Corporation and account executive liaison for TropiClean, “Our mild coconut cleanser is a key component of our shampoos for its ability to cleanse gently and thoroughly, leaving the pet looking and smelling great.” He continued, “One unique feature of our grooming products is the long-lasting fragrance. We consistently receive positive feedback on our tropical and botanical fragrances and how they leave pets smelling great long after the bath.”
In 2019, TropiClean will introduce “a new TropiClean Papaya and Coconut Waterless Shampoo and is also launching a new TropiClean Tear Stain Remover, which helps keep pets’ beards and wrinkles clean and odor-free.” Brandly noted that “over 61 percent of pet parents say that odor management is a basic need when purchasing grooming products (Consumer Insight Market Structure Study, 2018). In addition, they have other needs that include, but are not limited to, improvement of their dog’s skin and coat, reduced shedding and relief for itchy, dry skin. Therefore, we continue to focus on odor management and scent, while also developing solutions that address specific needs like deodorizing, de-shedding and itch relief.” What sets TropiClean apart from the competition is innovation. As Brandly explained, “We have a constant desire to develop new products that are different than what is available and make our existing grooming products better. We invest in things that bring value to pet parents. We strive to create and provide healthy, quality products to improve and enrich the lives of pets and their people.”
Pura Naturals Pet’s vice president of sales and marketing, Julie Creed, gives a glimpse into 2019 and beyond: “Organic will be an important and necessary trend. Customers want to know the products they are using are safe, natural and cruelty-free. That’s why we are committed to developing products that are USDA certified organic, made in the USA and Leaping Bunny certified.” She continued: “Our products are evolving in ways that make things easier for pet parents to care for their family pets; from greater options with in-between baths to extending our popular all-natural flea and tick treatments to include new flushable wipes.” Described as “Organic Pet Wellness,” Pura Naturals Pet maintains an eclectic array of organic grooming products introduced four years ago that have been followed by “a unique line of wellness products and an organic line of dental care and SKUs specific to cats and dogs.”
Having met the challenges that come with developing a product for pet ear care with its Ear Cleansing System launched in 2017, Pura Naturals Pet continues to lead the way with natural, safe and effective grooming and wellness products for cats and dogs alike.
Known for its reliance on science, attention to detail and quality as it “promotes only those products it believes will truly revolutionize health care,” Innovacyn boasts a rich history of parenting product lines that originated and still serve in wound care. This history of science and wound care helped with the development of a line of bathing/grooming products, including one very popular bathing product under Vetericyn Animal Wellness called FoamCare. The popularity of FoamCare can be attributed predominantly to one feature: the spray-on application. This mode of shampoo application makes covering the entire animal extremely simple. The foaming action avails itself to making it easy to saturate an animal’s coat without repeated pour-in-hand or spot applications. Finally, FoamCare’s specific formulas allow much faster rinsing of the coat, which reduces stress on the animal and saves time for the owner. In addition, FoamCare comes in three coat-specific formulations and one that is medicated. Each FoamCare formulation is paraben-free, plant-based, skin-conditioning and helps the pet retain essential oils in its skin and coat. As if that wasn’t enough, FoamCare also “smells great and gives a show-worthy clean; delivers nutrients vital to skin health; and even enhances the animal’s natural immune system against dermatological disorders,” said Geoff Hamby, director of marketing for Vetericyn Animal Wellness. “The excitement around our FoamCare product line continues to build, so we are remaining focused on promoting it. While we have no grooming products in the pipeline for 2019, we will be releasing an exciting health and wellness product in mid-2019.” The excitement Hamby speaks of may very well be explained by the fact that FoamCare Medicated Shampoo “makes it simple to clean, heal and soothe the animal’s skin. It is intended to help treat dry, itchy skin, hot spots, dermatitis and other skin ailments. Our medicated formula is sulfate-free and contains anti-inflammatory and cell-proliferating ingredients for a deep, conditioning clean that helps restore skin’s defenses.” It is understandable, then, that Innovacyn can let the 2019 trends ride for now.
When asked what he feels 2019 holds for pet grooming and bathing products as a whole, Paul Armstrong, earthbath’s president and CEO, didn’t mince his words. “I think you’ll see more CBD-infused grooming products to keep up with the raging trend,” he said. “Manufacturers will be putting energy into making their products in the United States and trying to find angles around promoting and marketing ‘local.’ The latter presents challenges to scaling distribution, but [also] opportunities for regional niche brands.”
Not surprisingly, Armstrong noted, “the natural category will continue to thrive; existing brands will work harder to shed ingredients like sulfates, parabens and phthalates, and other popular ingredients such as coconut water, coconut oil and argan oil will continue to proliferate into grooming products.
“A potentially slowing economy will bode well for at-home grooming solutions, tools and other accoutrements, while making business in the professional grooming category a bit more challenging if people decide to forgo the groomer and bathe pets at home,” he added.
earthbath will be rolling out several new products early in 2019. These new products have been created in keeping with earthbath’s mission to produce American-made, natural products. Armstrong said: “We listened to [our] customers and are producing an oatmeal and aloe vera itch-reliving wipe with vanilla and almond scents, and we’ve also blended an Anti-Chew Spray without alcohol that contains bittering agents and natural apple fragrance.” He continued: “We will also be introducing a Treatment Balm with organic, fair trade shea butter that we purchase directly from a women-owned cooperative in northern Uganda.” All of the new products, as well as the existing ones, are California-made, sulphate-, paraben- and phthalate-free and are not tested on animals. Armstrong and the earthbath team are so confident in the quality and success of their products that they “back all earthbath retail purchases with a money-back guarantee.”
Dremel is a brand that can boast of its name having infiltrated the vernacular. Just as Jacuzzi is used in reference to any type of hot tub, regardless of the actual manufacturer, Dremel appears to have come to describe any type of rotary grinding tool. According to Marie Verceles, brand manager, integrated marketing communications at Robert Bosch Tool Corporation NA, “Dremel has always been known as a go-to solution with a thousand different uses. One of the natural use cases we saw [was] among pet groomers and pet owners for nail grinding and pet nail care. As a leader in the rotary space, providing a product that effectively and safely grooms pet nails while offering a tool that can also be used around their home for a variety of purposes was an ideal path for the brand.” This summer, Dremel will be launching the 7760 PGK, whose target consumer will be pet owners preferring to groom their pets at home. This newcomer to the Dremel pet grooming collection will come with a Paw Guide attachment to ensure ease and safety of in-home grooming. Consumers will find a more ecofriendly battery design and the runtimes will be longer. Verceles noted that, at Dremel, “The focus is to provide our users with innovative, versatile, easy-to-use products. We also understand that consumers need instructions, particularly if they’re new to grooming. To help get them up-to-speed on the grooming process, we’ve also included a Quick Start Guide that comes in the box and provided educational videos available on our YouTube channel.”
Previously only accessible through a veterinarian, the ZYMOX Ear Solution series is now available in retail pet supply stores as well. Unlike veterinarian-prescribed ear care products that require a separate solution to clean the ears prior to treating them, the ZYMOX patented LP3 Enzyme System combines naturally derived enzymes that provide “gentle relief without the need for the pet owner to pre-clean the ear prior to application.” ZYMOX’s signature feature is the management of painful, irritated ears without the use of antibiotics, which is a popular demand among pet owners. Deirdre Putman, marketing manager for Pet King Brands (the makers of ZYMOX and Oratene), said: “Pet owners are more aware of the risks or side effects associated with antibiotics. They are more educated regarding what they can do to help their pets without another costly trip to the veterinarian.” As a bonus, there are two solution formulas from which consumers can choose; one with hydrocortisone, for the relief of extra itch and inflammation, and one without hydrocortisone. Putman added: “Being able to offer products that provide therapeutic benefits such as ZYMOX Dermatology without harsh chemicals or antibiotics will continue to be on the rise in 2019 to keep up with the demand from pet owners and the prevalence of ear and skin issues in pets.”
Sturtevant’s Veterinary Remedies Canine Antiseptic Powder remains one of the most preferred canine skin care products on the market. Sturtevant’s antiseptic powder, along with all of its other products, are known for their efficacy, safety and value—even by veterinary professionals.
“What defines us is our natural approach to pet care,” said Steve Rosenfeld, owner of the F.C. Sturtevant Company. “All of our products are developed holistically. We source all of our ingredients in the USA, where our products are produced as well. We are planning the release of several new items in 2019. These include a canine ear powder, a feline skin care powder and an equine product to treat pastern dermatitis.”
When asked for a glimpse into the future of pet grooming products, specifically for skin care, Rosenfeld replied: “I see a general move to more natural-inspired products being sought by groomers. Too many products containing artificial fragrances and chemicals have caused allergic reactions and even conditions including dermatitis on pets in their care, causing groomers to pay more attention to the types of products they are using in their services. I see an even greater effort to use safer products in the future; there are many products that are safe for everyday use without compromising their efficacy.”
Having 30 years of experience from running their own grooming operation, Groomers Helper CEO Ed Berger and business partner Chuck Simons took it upon themselves, in the name of safety, to create the appropriate grooming table clamps and arms because they were unable to find exactly what they needed anywhere in the marketplace. Berger said: “There is no crystal ball in the grooming industry, but there have been a few constants that we believe will continue throughout 2019. This attitude of “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” was their solution to working safer and smarter, emphasizing safety and efficiency. Both groomer and animal safety are paramount, so if less time and effort are required to ensure the safety of pets and the professionals that groom them, the more likely groomers are to implement protocol to do so. Important, but less of a priority, is efficiency, which dictates the conservation of every groomer’s most precious commodity—time.
Occupational safety, along with the protocols and implementation that come with it, is one of the more important investments employers make in employees in all types of industries. The grooming industry is one of the more prevalent when it comes to risk of injury. Injuries incurred by groomers from the animals in their charge can result in a few ramifications. If the injury is serious enough, professional medical attention will be sought, interrupting that day’s productivity and possibly that week’s appointments (filing a workman’s comp claim, etc.). According to Berger, “This is one of the primary reasons that every major grooming operation in North America, and thousands of independents around the world, have at least a Groomers Helper Starter Set on every table. Many opt for the full Professional Set for even more control. The system is simple in its design and magnificent in its impact.”
The concern for animal safety has become more of a priority as pet owners have evolved into pet parents. With this evolution came a rise in pet owners’ protective instincts. Maintaining the safety of the animal on the grooming table remains a top priority. The Groomers Helper Safety and Positioning System (which includes two different size Grooming Loops, one Loop Adjuster, one Tether Repair Kit and one Groomers Helper Dryer Holder) “prevents dogs from falling off the table by positioning them in the proper place and from jumping off the table by restricting their footprint and mobility. It also has an emergency release built into the grooming Safety Loop that comes with the set, and a panic snap on the optional Loop Adjuster.” In 2018, Groomers Helper introduced the No-Choke control lead, which “prevents the webbing from choking down on the dog’s neck when either the handler or the dog pulls tight.” For optimum safety, the No-Choke also has an emergency release buckle. In Berger’s opinion, the Groomers Helper Safety and Positioning System “should be part of every salon, kennel and veterinary operation efforts to handle dogs safer.”
Groomers Helper technology doesn’t stop at grooming table attachments for safety. ActiVet brushes, stainless steel and German-made, are comprised of a flexible head and are “task-specific brushes so advanced that they can cut up to 40 percent off the time spent de-matting, undercoating and finishing.” As observed by Berger and Simons, “They not only save hours every day, but because of the flexible head, they also significantly reduce the muscular stress on the hands, wrists and forearms of the groomer.”