The first few years of my grooming career were spent working in salons. Needless to say, there were many distractions that made the grooming experience stressful and, in some cases, dangerous. The phone was constantly ringing off the hook, customers were coming in and out throughout the day and there were 15-25 dogs being taken in at once, stored in cages all day while waiting to be serviced. While I am thankful for everything being in a salon taught me and prepared me for, leaving the salon life was the best decision I made for this career as it has given me a new appreciation for what I do.
As dog groomers, we wear many hats for our clients. Some of our favorites include being magicians, teachers, cheerleaders, and therapists. Whether we know it or not, these many hats contain seven virtues (among many other things) that shape who we are as groomers. These virtues carry over into our personal lives and shape who we are as people as well.
A year ago, I adopted Dakota. She is a Pomeranian and Husky mix. At the age of three years old, she was surrendered to a local rescue. When I saw her image on the rescue’s site, I knew I needed to adopt her. She was showing your typical signs of stress, lowering her body, wide whale eyes, tail tucked, panting, and ears pinned back. At that time, I was in the animal care field for six years and knew how to read body language.
What tools are you using at home? Have you ever been given a proper brushing lesson?
Every dog groomer has heard these 6 words in this exact order more than once in their career. So, when was the last time this dog was groomed? How often do you brush at home? What tools are you using? Have you ever been given a proper brushing lesson? These are the 4 questions I ask the parent as the groomer every time I run into a situation like this.
I own a self-service dog wash. Contrary to your imagination, it is not an assembly line of dogs on a conveyor belt going through a car wash coming out clean. It's a place where people go to bathe, groom, and clean their own dogs. There are grooming tubs, tables, dryers, and many other supplies to help owners groom and bathe their dogs. I am a groomer and a boarding/daycare facility owner and I 100% believe in a DIY Dog Wash.
Since opening up on my Instagram (@truevibesunleashed) about taking my newborn to work with me, I have received an outpouring of love and support from the Groomer-Mom community! I usually post very cute pictures and videos of my son and I at the salon figuring out how to keep him happy, calm, sleep, and entertained while I finish pups for the day. Other mothers began in-boxing me saying I make it look fun and easy. The honest truth is: it's not easy at all!
With the pandemic still going strong, a lot of salons have closed and there is a dire need for groomers. People are getting burnt out and there are more dogs than ever since it seems like almost everyone got a Covid Puppy. Salons are struggling to find reliable, experienced help and there aren’t many options available when it comes to education as most of it has become digital learning. The shop I manage the salon for decided to take on an apprentice with the hopes of mentoring someone into a quality, life-long groomer.
Many groomers are interested in becoming Brand Ambassadors and just don’t know where to begin. If this applies to you, we have good news! Blackworks is holding a Brand Ambassador Contest.
As a professional cat groomer choosing tools for feline grooming can be difficult in a dog groomers world of tools. It’s true, most tools for the professional groomer are meant for canines and grooming them. I have been a professional grooming cats for over 7 years now. What works on dogs, is not necessarily the best for felines. I was a dog groomer for many years, but many tools, let’s face it, are truly designed with a dog’s skin and coat needs in mind.
What is it like to see “real good” done in your community? When we ventured up to Las Vegas, NV to assist with the last stop of the 2021 Pup Relief Tour, we knew we’d see the impact made by Brian Taylor and his fellow groomers on our community, but we were not truly prepared for what we witnessed.
In September 2020, just shy of my 30th birthday, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I had already been negotiating the terms of my lease, and it wasn’t too late to back out. I could stay where I had built a full client list, had guaranteed work and not nearly as much responsibility. I was so close to everything I had worked so hard for that I decided there’s no way I can stop now. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.
What does being healthy mean to you? Okay, we’ve gotten the eye rolls out of the way. Now, let’s ask a different question: what does holistic health look like to you? Was your first answer the same as your second? Because to me, health is holistic. Holistic health is health. In other words, all parts of you (“whole”-istic) are being cared for consistently.
The Dog Father of Harlem - Brian Taylor created The Pup Relief Tour in 2020 to help pet parents who are in need financially during the pandemic. He took 63 black groomers across America to groom 863 pups Pro Bono. He traveled across the country and stopped in 7 cities so far. He knows the pandemic is not over and there are people who still need help. He has recruited some good groomers to go on another journey to groom more pups. His mission is to bring people closer through the love of pups. His groomer pals are off to another adventure July 26th to Philly, Orlando, Birmingham, Fort Wayne, and Vegas. Their mission is to groom as many pups as they can.
There are many reasons for budding and seasoned groomers alike to attend Groomer Trade Shows. Organizations like Barkleigh and World Pet Association put on a variety of groomer-specific trade shows that occur in locations all over America such as Groom Expo (in Hershey, PA), Groom Expo West (in Pasadena, CA), Super Zoo (in Las Vegas, NV). Let us walk you through our Top 5 Reasons for attending Groomer Trade Shows.
America’s second longest continuously running sporting event and second only to the very prestigious Kentucky Derby is none other than the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. For those who have never been, or those that have never heard of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, it typically happens in very cold February in New York City with the judging of the breeds happening at Piers 92/93. The group judging groups are the “finals”, and Best in Show, which is the crowning winner, happens at the historic Madison Square Garden.
The way you present yourself IS your brand. Not only through videos or photos on social media, but in the salon too! We all want to make money doing what we love. But, more importantly, to get there, we need our clients to
see the value and quality in their grooming experience with us as groomers as well.
Heal what ails your furry friend by choosing a medicated shampoo! Medicated dog shampoos can be used to treat all kinds of conditions, from dermatitis, to yeast, to everything in between. At Ryan’s Pet Supplies, we carry a variety of products that you can use to keep your dogs happy, healthy, and looking their best.
As a professional pet groomer, I was not born knowing how to market myself to clients. I would wage that most groomers did not inherently have this knowledge, either. These few tips have tremendously helped me find my own personal identity and create a well-defined brand, as well as appeal to my “ideal” client. This has created wonderful boundaries for me professionally and has helped to prevent burn-out.
After working many years in retail, I simply became bored of how redundant the days became and how corporate upper management treated hard working individuals. I was working at a High-End store on 5th Avenue (New York City) a job I DREAMED of; and I honestly worked for a woman who was so degrading, but people tolerated her because of how much status she had within the company. It was the worst job of my life. I knew I needed a change. I quit and took a few months to regroup.
It’s about to be springtime and you know what that means: Flea & Tick season. There are several pests that pose a threat to our pet buddies but the worst of them can be treated with simple topical treatments or pest collars. At Ryan’s Pet Supplies, we carry a variety of products that you can use to keep your pets pest free!
As we scroll through Instagram, we see all these beautiful groomers displaying their magic. I used to hesitate posting my personal grooming pictures because I felt like they weren’t good enough in comparison. (If you feel this way keep reading!)
While you’re here and I have your attention, I wanted to talk about all things aesthetic, style, beauty and yes *vibes* (side note - I love that word so much, I don’t even care how overused it is). Recently you may have seen that I was generously awarded the “Aesthetic as Fluff” award from the lovely Britt Johnson. Things like online style is something that Britt and I have talked about quite a lot over the years. To some, online “vibes” may not be a priority, they just enjoy posting photos and videos and I’m here to say that is 100% cool. This is not a place of judgement; this is a place to uplift and to celebrate individuality.
Jason aka @GroomerWithMuscles blessed us last week with an interview on his experience being on HBO Max’s Haute Dog. Well, this week he blesses us with his favorite products that groomers can find at yours truly: Ryan’s Pet Supplies. Let’s jump right in!
I honestly didn’t think I would make it onto the show. I know there’s a lot of groomers that are better than me. I’ve only been grooming around 8 years. And yeah, when I did the interview, I was excited to hear back from them and tell them that I’m going through the final process. I did another interview, and they were like “we love you, you’re in!
Photography is a groomer’s best friend. It is one of the best ways to create a client connection, showcase your talent and keep track of your personal progress. Your patrons will remember the extra time you took to take that beautiful picture of Fluffy. Every single one of them deserve the one-on-one attention that we can offer at the end of their groom. The few moments we take to put on their bow or bandana, spray them with some delicious perfume, sneak in a couple kisses, and set them up for their photo can create some of the most amazing memories with your clients. Here are 5 tips that will help create better quality grooming photographs:
When creatives haven’t developed a strong sense of self, haven’t accepted ourselves as perfectly imperfect, and use others as a mirror for self-judgement, it’s a recipe for self-destruction. I don’t take it personally when my dogs slink off to bed instead of watching Well Groomed with me; and I no longer take stock in what other people say or do. How much time do you waste analyzing others instead of trying to better understand your beautiful imperfect creative self?
I have always had a love for animals specifically dogs. Having my own dogs and experiencing the struggle of finding a good reliable groomer and then the inconvenience of transporting them back and forth – I started to connect the dots that there was a need for an easy yet pampering experience for our beloved puppers.
It is our mission to take care of people who take care of pets and that includes listening to what our people who take care of pets have to say! We listen to what you have to tell us at trade shows, in customer service, and through social media. We collect all of this information and we work with our product development team & our manufacturers to come up with products that solve problems and meet your needs in the best way possible. You could say “you spoke, and Ryan’s listened.” Check out some of the new products available now at Ryan’s Pet Supplies
We’ve all been there before. Clients can be upset for a number of reasons. They’re mad the groom is wrong. They’re angry their dog had to be shaved when they didn’t brush them. They didn’t even show up to the groom and now you’ve lost money. Their dog has blood in their stool and are possibly trying to blame you. Whatever the reason may be, we can give you this advice: don’t let it get to you. And your groomer community is here to support you with words of wisdom.
It’s ironic how the holidays can be a time of great joy and completely anxiety-provoking at the same time. The holiday spirit does a fantastic job of fueling us up to give the best of ourselves. Much like a car, it doesn’t matter how much gas we have in the tank. If we don’t maintain our bodies or push ourselves too hard too fast, we will crash right into a wall.
Happy holidays groomers! This time of year is one of the busiest, yet joyful times of the year for us at the salon. Clients are racing to get their fur babies in to look especially beautiful for holiday cards and gatherings, tips are generally much more gracious, and of course- tons and tons of baked goodies line the counters for staff members to enjoy.
In a dream world all the pets we groom stand perfectly on the table and we play with puppies for the remainder of the day. In the real world we have some who love to be groomed, that it becomes an everyday part of life. Then we have others we remember more. Those are the ones that are fearful, that will bite or snap, that are wild and will not stop thrashing around. Usually they’re the ones who are not a good fit for salons. But, where do those clients go next?
I have always loved animals, in fact in the very same place I chose to set up my “Grooming Garden” this summer is where I used to have my childhood chicken coop and baby rabbits. If someone would have told me that in that same place a few decades later I would run my own professional business and people would be paying me to make flower crowns for their puppies, it would have blown my ten-year-old mind.
Losing your best friend comes in all shapes and sizes. For me, it was my beautiful spotted creature whose soul I named Sprinkles. I first met Sprinkles on an Amish farm as a Sprightly little puppy. She was to be euthanized because she was deaf if nobody wanted her. I instinctively knew in my heart that she was the dog I had always wanted since I was 14, listening to Sublime and them singing about their Dalmatian. It was love at first sight as she ran to my arms and I took her home. Sprinkles inspired me to become more involved in the dog world. Although I was already a dog groomer I wasn’t as devoted to it as I am now. We went everywhere together, from car rides to camping adventures. She always had my back.
I often think about my first competition. As I was headed to the completion or a trade show, I was uncertain as to what to expect exactly, causing me to be a bit nervous; and is a clear reminder of how this all started. My friend Natalie and I made a pact to do our first competition together and we chose the Bichon. Many people thought we were crazy for choosing such a challenging breed, but our hearts were set on it and we were in love with the breed.
Partnering with local shelters, rescues, and black-owned pet businesses, the Pandemic Pup Relief Tour (PRT) is a nationwide initiative to help pups and pet owners who are experiencing hardships during these unprecedented times. Originally including a road trip for pop-up grooming events to 6 cities, the PRT has now grown ever larger. Gloria Hardaway aka @GloriaTheGroomer participated in the PRT and wants to share her experience with the grooming community.
As a groomer, when it comes to building a successful relationship with the dog you are grooming the number one step seems obvious, right? Train the dog to act accordingly on the table, in the tub, with the equipment, blah blah blah. Wrong (in my opinion – even though that is very important). Of course you have to train the dog, but you also need to train the owner. Even more so with “doodles” because almost everyone that buys them seem to be first time animal owners. It’s not a bad thing whatsoever! No matter how much learning they attempt to do on the internet – at some point they inevitably need the assistance of a professional. That is our chance to shine, to educate, and to build a relationship that will benefit not only them but us as well.
You’ve been there before. Client comes into your shop and is trying to explain away some problem with their dog that usually boils down to they weren’t taking time to brush their dog, etc. No shade, that’s why we as groomers are here to help! But wouldn’t it be nice if the owner DIDN’T try to lie their way out of their shame? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were just honest? However, it does make for some pretty interesting stories …
Everyone loves a clean dog and since Tub Dog Tuesday is a big hit with groomers, I wanted to share some tips that I've found has aided me with dogs, old and young, in the tub. They may just aid you or a friend in a time of need. And as I have said, during this time of high stress in our society, a clean, snuggly puppy is what we all need!
While working in the pet salon I was getting a lot of good comments from clients and other groomers and that pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and take another step in my career which was grooming competitions. When I competed for the first time it was really stressful because I didn't know how everything goes and on top of that I have a language barrier. During that competition I felt so many emotions, met new people and learned a lot from the judge's critique that it made me want to compete again and again.
When Covid-19 regulations went into full effect, Brian “The Dogfather of Harlem” Taylor had to make drastic decisions in order to keep his business afloat. He unfortunately had to let go most of his employees, he maxed out all of his credit cards and used up most of his savings to get by. When the word got around that Brian was in trouble, some of his most loyal clients begin to give Brian donations. They asked that the donations be used to help less fortunate pet parents. With the donations, Brian decided to create the Pandemic Pup Relief Fund. Through the fund, he raised $2k and he was able to groom countless NYC pups for free. Brian was so inspired by his client’s generosity and wanted to do much more, thus the Pandemic Pup Relief Tour (PPRT) was founded.
I have been working with dogs and cats since I graduated high school in 2006 as a bather at a local boarding facility and recently got let go from an animal hospital. I started to groom on my own in October of last year. In these few months, I learned a lot about grooming and bathing. I had always stuck to the same tools: a comb, a regular brush, my 2-speed Andis clipper and straight shears. LOL. Now I know about all of the following tools that have greatly helped me refine my grooming techniques.
At Ryan’s Pet Supplies it is our mission to take care of people who take care of pets. These times are uncertain for everyone and groomers are no exception. That’s why we are choosing one groomer a month to feature on our blog. This month, we chose Sherri Klose.
Connection is the key component to success and fulfillment in the grooming industry.
I was talking with a friend the other day who also works in the service industry and she mentioned something along the lines of, “When it comes down to it, we’re a business, and we’re selling a product.” Yes, we are a business. Yes, we are selling a product. But we are also connecting with people. We are connecting with animals. We are building relationships and our clients are trusting us time after time to take care of their beloved pets. So how do we reconcile the business aspect with the relationship aspect?
There was a time where the words ‘healthy’ and ‘grooming’ were rarely used in the same sentence. That's because, let's face it- the grooming industry as a whole is a generally UNHEALTHY one! We are constantly trying to master our time booking appointments, bathing, and grooming dogs, checking out clients- ON REPEAT. But, what about YOU? We essentially get lost in the craziness and forget about the greatest asset to keep our businesses running smoothly, which is us- the groomer! And that just simply needs to change.
At Ryan’s Pet Supplies, our mission is to take care of people that take care of pets, and that doesn’t just mean fulfilling your supply orders! We are here to take care of your body and mind and maybe pepper in some humor and self-love along the way 😉. So, we’re here to provide some resources accessible to groomers for self-care. Déja has prepared 3 different yoga poses that are perfect to release all the tension in the places groomers hang onto it most and she would know best – she’s the owner of True Vibes Unleashed and a full-time groomer.
Grooming is a physically demanding career. Between lifting large dogs, standing all day, and the repetitive motions that come with brushing and shearing, you can quickly find yourself in a world of pain. Groomer Deja Pearson, from True Vibes Unleashed says that you can avoid pain in the body with yoga and has even set up her own business to combine all of her passions of grooming and yoga. Follow us on this journey of self-care and self-love for groomers.
Many strays come to Ryan’s Pet Supplies. We are not sure if this is due to the area that we are in or if they can just sense all the dog lovers, but for whatever reason we seem to have a stray dog come around at least every month or so. The road we are on is very busy, and the LAST THING any of us want to see is a pup run over in the street 😧. Everyone at Ryan’s tries their best to corral dogs away from the road so we can catch them, bring them inside, and decide next best course of action (calling the owner, calling animal control, helping find a foster home).
Everyone knows about brick & mortar grooming shops and mobile grooming. While mobile grooming has begun to take off in recent years, brick and mortar stores are probably the most popular. Owners are very familiar with dropping their dog off at the shop and then picking them up. For both elderly humans and pets or those that can’t leave their home, mobile grooming offers a valuable service by bringing the shop to the front yard. But is there a third option?
At Ryan’s Pet Supplies, our core mission is to take care of people that take care of pets. In order to promote this mission, we decided to give back to our community during COVID-19. We are giving $150 gift certificate to a groomer in need each month until the crisis is over. This month’s story comes to us from Neil and Azure Hensley from WoofworX Pet Grooming We are excited to share the next story of triumph from our groomer community. See below for how Neil and Azure made it through their crisis.
Maybe you were put out of a job because of COVID-19. Perhaps you decided you were done with your previous career and it is time for something new! You love animals, so why not grooming? Well, let us tell you, grooming is very hard yet very rewarding work. It takes a lot of training and education to cut it as a groomer (are we right)? But the benefits can outweigh the negatives for certain people. We reached out to the groomer community and we asked you! Here are some things that groomers said when asked “what would you tell someone that is just starting out?”
The COVID-19 Pandemic has had severe impacts on economic activities and has caused major disruptions in supply chains. This has impacted production and operations across all industries, including the Pet Industry. Ryan’s Pet Supplies’ leadership team and staff are working diligently with our suppliers, to procure goods, and up to date information to best serve our customers. As states begin to re-open, many producers of goods for the pet industry are still limited in their production capabilities, while additionally putting in measures to safely re-open and protect their employees’ health. Our supplier partners are working with us and using every resource available to them to expediently catch up with a backlog of demand.
We wanted to spotlight one of our favorite groomers, Katrina Short. Hailing from Northern California, many of you might know her from her creative grooming skills that she puts to work on Zeus and Kevin aka her Giraffedoodle and Zebradoodle. And if you don’t know who she is, it’s time to hop on the train: with 18.3k follower on Instagram and counting, she has quickly won over the hearts of groomers and non-groomers all over the world.
There has been such a debate in the groomer industry over when it is safe to start grooming again. While all states have different laws, we all know that groomers areessential and many of you have been on the forefronts of making sure that the government is aware of this. Of course, please listen to the guidelines put forth by your state. If they have declared it safe to open up your shop, just follow the proper techniques and guidelines for sanitizing and social distancing.
As part of our Groomer Appreciation, we’d like to spotlight Groomer Jess Rona. We found her Instagram and website sometime last year and were blown away by her creativity. We then met Jess about a year ago at Super Zoo and truly enjoyed high-end yet mellow, down-to-earth approach to grooming. We got with Jess to ask her a few questions about her career in the grooming industry.
So, you’re a new pet parent, eh?! Well, let us be the first to say CONGRATULATIONS! You are about to embark on a wonderfully rewarding journey. Adding a new member to your family is such an exciting experience but can be daunting if you aren’t sure what you might need. Well, fret not because at Ryan’s Pet Supplies our mission is to take care of people that take care of pets (and that includes you now!). We have created a checklist to make sure you have all the things you need to become #1 Dog Mom or Dad.
While there might be an end in sight, many are still affected by the COVID-19 situation. We have asked and received many of your stories on how you have been impacted. Reading through the stories submitted, each one of your stories touched our hearts. We are so grateful to be part of a community of strong men and women dedicated to pets and animal welfare. Our mission is to take care of people that take care of petsand your stories continually inspire us at Ryan’s Pet Supplies. The story that we chose this week comes from Groomer Tara Kunsman of TEK Grooming.
While the global economy has experienced an unprecedented disruption that has affected everyone, including our beloved Groomers, our friends at Andis Grooming, Barkleigh Productions, Inc. and Learn2GroomDogs are aware that many Groomers are out of work yet are at home with nothing to do. That’s why they are offering these classes and certifications for FREE!
We never thought there would be a global pandemic that would span months, putting many out of work and destroying the global economy. Amidst one of the most challenging situations any of us have ever faced, we have seen our grooming community come together and support each other. We are so grateful to be a part of such a formidable community. Each and every day, you inspire us to continue our mission. Our mission is to take care of people that take care of pets.
The health and safety of our customers and staff are our number one priority, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we operate our business safely and efficiently; amidst the rapidly changing situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.