For many in the pet industry, grooming has been a blessing in disguise and also, a surprise to the overall impact that it can have on one's life. For our good friend Reggie, coming from a small town in South Florida and getting in some trouble in his younger years, pet grooming entered his life at a pivotal time while on probation back in 2018 and he hasn't looked back since. Since then, Reggie a.k.a. "Reggie Scissorhands" has established a prominent presence on various Social Platforms acting as a true inspiration and motivation to others. We sat down with Reggie to learn more about his story and journey, and here's what he had to say.
How did you get started in the pet industry:
Coming from a small town in South Florida in my younger days I was a student-athlete. I left my hometown of South Bay, Florida on a full-ride scholarship, to go play football at the University of Kansas in 1995. I lost that scholarship after a year due to me getting into trouble, so I ended up at Iowa State where I played for 2 years, on another full-ride scholarship. During my senior year at Iowa State, I was arrested for the first time in my life. Unfortunately, it was the week before my last semester in college. Due to my arrest, I lost my full scholarship at Iowa State and ended up coming back to Florida. Instead of me finishing school, I became a full-time drug dealer. Due to that choice, I faced my fair share of legal issues because of the bad decision for the last 20 years of my life.
In 2018, I had a probation officer that was applying a lot of pressure on me because I didn’t have a job. I reached out to a friend that was a groomer and asked her if she needed any help. Her answer was, she didn’t hire friends or family, so she referred me to someone that needed a bather. I took the job, and I went in to help someone as a bather for about 6 months. During those 6 months, I found myself drawn to the animals that I bathed. I felt a strong connection with these animals. My time as a bather, allowed me to realize how much satisfaction I felt while providing services to those animals. It was then that I decided that I wanted to learn to groom. An unforeseen circumstance caused the shop to close, so I lost my job, and my probation officer began to threaten to send me to jail. I make up a fake resume, placed it on Indeed and received a hit from a mobile company that needed a groomer. She asked me to come in to do a working interview on a soft coated Wheaten Terrier. So I got on YouTube, studied, and watched other groomers, groom a Wheaten Terrier.
I went in two days later, passed my working interview, and began working for that mobile grooming company. After 3 months of working for that company, unmanageable conflict developed between myself and the other groomers, which pushed me to go purchase my first 1989 RV. I converted that RV into a mobile grooming unit and Xpress Baths and Grooming was born. I got my business registered with the state and got working as a legit mobile grooming business. My RV was where I made all my mistakes and I learned how to groom. I began to post the pictures of the dogs I groomed on Facebook while tagging my clients and my clientele began to grow.
How did you realize you needed to learn more about social media?
Due to my getting in trouble, I got on Facebook late. Once I created my account and started using social media, I had no clue that sharing before and after pictures of my grooming was actually helping me spread the word about my work. I didn’t realize that my tagging of clients, was actually free advertisement! I witnessed a lot of people using Facebook in the wrong way, so I was not thrilled about using it to grow my business. Based on what I saw on social media, from people venting to posting about events I didn’t foresee it as a place to develop a business. I saw Facebook as a tool to connect with friends, family, and people you’ve lost contact with, not a place to market a growing business.
I didn’t grasp how big of an impact social media had on my business and me as a creator until, 2021. I decided to go to Atlanta Pet Fair Grooming Expo, I signed up for a couple of classes and it was there that I ran into people that were established pet influencers.
After forming a connection with other groomers during the Atlanta Pet fair, I was added to a few grooming groups on Facebook, which in turn allowed me to see that there was a whole community of us out there. I was also able to see how social media extended the pet influencers’ reach to a broader and more racially diverse audience. It was then I recognized I was behind, but I knew I was where I belong.
How did you learn more about social media?
In 2021 after losing several grooming jobs to toxic environments and crashing my grooming van after only having it for 90 days, I was devastated!! I purchased a fold-up table from the Facebook marketplace for $50.00, and I found a spinning tabletop and dryer and began my journey with house call. I groomed outside, on patios, in garages, laundry rooms and I wasn’t embarrassed about having to start over, I would go live as much as I could to share my grooming life with my followers. After a few months of doing house calls, I opened a grooming shop in the area I grew up in. I knew that area was poor, but I still decided to try this location with the hopes of being a successful business. I found I was still having to do house calls due to having days when I had no customers or people were no-call no-shows. I had customers coming to get grooming services with no money to pay. I couldn’t turn the owner or the pet away, so I kept grooming, and I shared these cases of matted dogs with my followers by going live every time.
In January 2022, I found a former medical transport vehicle from Facebook Marketplace. People were moved and helped me by donating gifts of grooming equipment and other items for my van to help me get everything ready for mobile grooming services. Around this same time, I began to see the lack of support from my area. So I had to make the tough choice to close my grooming shop and focus more on getting my van ready for mobile grooming. I learned more about social media by joining grooming groups, following a lot of other groomers, and studying how the other groomers used their platforms to teach or market products or to just showcase their skills. Social media allowed a lot of people who didn’t have a voice or name to develop one. Live grooming was my tool. I found other groomers with a large following and I was able to see how they were using their platforms to market their skills, and themselves into a known brand. I also realized that the pet influencers I followed, were thriving just from being themselves. With that, I discovered authenticity is vital on social media.
The pivotal point for me on social media happened in July 2021 when I created a TikTok account. The first few months of being on TikTok was hard for me, I had to get at least 1000 people to follow me before I could go live. So I created videos of my grooms and posted them but even then, it was difficult to get people to like my videos. So I began to follow trends doing what others were doing and I quickly discovered, it was not me. I decided just to be myself and let my authenticity show. I started using songs that others were not using. I started speaking on my videos and posting extremely matted dogs. Those 3 things allowed me to catch onto the algorithm, and I took advantage of it.
I liked how TikTok allowed the user to create/edit videos and shared them to other social media platforms to see. One day, I dropped a video at midnight and I woke up the next day and had 50,000 views. In January 2022, reached 1500 followers on TikTok and was able to go live! I discovered my videos were getting a lot of attention and traction, so I started speaking even more and I began posting graphic real live videos of the extremely matted dogs I serviced. I discovered the more extreme the case was, the more people came to my page as followers and my live watchers’ numbers grew to unbelievable numbers and views. I could truly say that things shifted for me in a positive way on social media. Live grooming turned me from being an unknown local to someone who is now known internationally.
What impact has social media had on your career/business?
The impact has been pretty much evident when you look at the things that have happened for my company and my career, since joining TikTok. Since joining TikTok, I’ve been empowered to show people my skills live and it’s also allowed me to gain a following of over 137,000 people. Within a year’s time, I went from being your local groomer to being the featured speaker on different podcasts, and a brand ambassador & in magazine articles. I’ve also gained clientele in my local areas that didn’t know about my business.
Using my platform has allowed me to network with other brand ambassadors, pet influencers, and potential clients. Not only am I making the content, but I’m also connecting and engaging with people all over the world. Pertaining to the future impact social media will have will be the number source of paving your own way. It’s turning into the go-to, for any small business and individuals who lack finances or support to actually be the odds. It’s currently the number one tool for the small guy. I think that’s the number one reason everyone should learn social media. To me, doing things live is a way to eliminate any type of bad reviews, people will see you for themselves.
Why should others make it important to learn more & utilize social media in their day today?
It’s important to learn more about social media because in this day and age, more and more people speed time with a device in their hands. Being that the companies know this, they are spending good money to place ads in your feed or paying influencers to promote their products. Social media is a place to provide you an opportunity to educate your clients on how you operate, it gives them fair chance to see you in action and what you do with their pets while they are in your care. People have the misunderstanding that pet grooming is playing with puppies all day. My live grooming shows them that it’s not all fun and games. Social media gives insight to owners on how to properly care for their pets between grooms.
What do you want people to know?
When used as a tool, social media has a very powerful impact. Within one year’s time, social media has not only helped me establish my company it also allowed me chances to reach and inspire people that want to be groomers. Looking back, it has put me in a position to run a very successful mobile grooming business. When I go to grooming expos and shows I must introduce myself because of the social media following and how I use it. I’ve been fortunate to receive several ambassador opportunities, I’ve also been included in content collaborations with other groomers across the country. I was nominated for Favorite TikTok Groomer by Ryan’s Pet Supplies “Best of the Best” which to me was huge! I was humbled by this. There’s power in social media.
Stay Authentic & make quality content. Drop heartfelt content, people will know if it’s not real!
Follow Reggie and his business "Xpress Baths & Grooming" on Social Media! TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram!