As a pet groomer, you have a unique and rewarding career that allows you to work with animals and their owners daily. However, like any profession, it's important to continue investing in your skills and knowledge to ensure that you stay current and competitive in the industry. Whether you're just starting out or you've been grooming pets for years, there are many reasons why investing in your career is crucial. From improving your techniques to expanding your client base, the benefits of investing in your career as a pet groomer are numerous and can help you achieve long-term success in this fulfilling field. For Lily Moreno, owner of Daugroom in Lancaster, California, not being afraid to take risks is what got her where she is today!
My name’s Lily and I run my own home-based grooming studio, Daugroom. I’m all about simplicity, so the name Daugroom just felt right. It’s a room where your dog (daug) gets groomed! Many were against the name, but I stayed true to myself and stuck with it. I wanted a name that stood out while also being easy to remember.
Although it feels like I’ve been grooming for decades, it’s only been about five years. Like many groomers, I started in a corporate salon, but unfortunately, my experience wasn’t the best. It just wasn’t my setting. I was very limited for someone who fell in love with grooming and wanted more than what my former salon could teach. I wanted to invest in myself and GROW.
In a corporate salon, you’re limited by rules and regulations made by people that aren’t groomers. These rules and regulations would often limit my way of working WITH a dog instead of against them. I wasn’t allowed to try certain tools or products outside of the company line. From what I’ve learned and know now, there were dogs with skin issues that could’ve been helped with better products. There are also restraints that aren’t for every dog. I’ve learned that there are dogs that do best with no restraints at all. It’s all through learning and investing in my knowledge outside of a corporate salon.
The famous “Where do I start?”
At the beginning of being on my own, I was working under my parents’ backyard porch with two buckets to haul out warm water from the bathroom inside. Good times. Being independent, I was finally able to dive head-first into my passion. That’s when my business came about. One of the first directions I took into investing in myself, was connecting with groomers who I looked up to and who’s style inspired me. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! Be respectful and understand that in our field, time is money. If there’s a groomer that you really like, ask them if they offer lessons. There are also so many webinars and educational sources available for you. My first one-on-one was with Asian Fusion Queen, Arisa Thomas. She was so nice and an overall badass, who helped me build a foundation for my style of grooming. I finally didn’t feel so lost. It helped me diffuse that confusion of “Where do I even start?”. Not only did I learn new tricks and techniques, but she also taught me a little on tools and products. I saw so much improvement the following day. After that, I was taking classes, seminars, and webinars left and right.
Don’t get frustrated!
Grooming is a lot of trial and error. The sooner you realize that the more often you’ll save yourself from disappointment. You never stop learning. There’s no solid perfection, just continual learning in the beginning. It takes time and practice so enjoy the process. There’s no timer for improvement. Sometimes you feel like you’ve reached a plateau, where you’re having a hard time growing. Go back to your roots or try something new! Splash in some color, maybe try shaping your heads or ears differently. Don’t ever be afraid to try something fresh and new! You can sign up for the latest class, too.
Your social media is a really helpful tool to invest your time in as well. It’s the best way to stay updated and connected to trends, new tools, and techniques in the grooming world you can put money into. There’s always a new cut, shear, and shampoo to try. A lot of my tools and products I’ve found through Instagram! Many groomers and companies offer discount codes or special offers on their accounts, too.
One of the ways I currently work on improving my cuts is by looking through pictures of grooms I really like and then trying them out for myself. You can break it down. For example, you can work on the way you want your legs to look one week, then focus on tails the next week. It helps to set your grooming goals. I also pick and choose from various techniques I’ve learned from seminars and classes to decide what works for me or just simply what I like best. It will help you find your own style!
YOU are the investment!
You’re going to have to spend money to make money. Put your extra earnings (tips!) into quality tools and you’ll end up saving more in the long run. Quality tools not only help you cut on grooming time, but they also last longer. Less money on maintenance. Trust me, that brush or comb is worth it! Investing in yourself is so important because not only do you better your craft, but you also get to charge your worth. Clients will notice an improvement in your work if you invest in yourself. It all shows in your work.
You can attend and participate in trade shows to grow in your grooming journey! You learn so much from the classes and seminars offered, it’s so worth it. They have a ton of fun and educational classes taught and led by great groomers, who have been in the industry for many years. You’re able to ask questions and see live demos! You’ll learn something new every time. Meeting people in the community is awesome, too. Trade shows is where we all come together by a shared passion. My grooming friends are always recommending new stuff for me to try to improve my grooms!
One last thing:
Leaving my corporate setting was the best decision I ever made for myself. Don’t be afraid of taking risks and don’t second guess opportunities to invest in yourself. I left my job at a risky time at the beginning of the pandemic with nothing but my clippers and shears. It gave me the opportunity to start working and investing in myself. The sky was the limit. Set yourself goals and learn, learn, LEARN. Don’t be too hard on yourself and have fun with it!! The mistakes you’re making are most likely mistakes we’ve all struggled to work past. Just keep working at it because practice makes progress!