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Category: Business Tips

Taking the Leap: My Road to Business Ownership

Being a boss requires deciding to take a chance. You’re ready to go off on your own but you may feel scared, unprepared, and maybe even clueless. Thankfully, you are not alone, and you won’t be the first person to feel this way! It all begins with an idea and whether you have an amazing idea or just want to create a future designed around your own terms sometimes it’s best to just take the leap! We caught up with our girl Ashley Tilson, owner of Ash The Spooky Groomer to find out more about her journey to business ownership.

How I began in the Industry:

My name is Ash, and I have been a part of the grooming industry for going on 17 years! My start in the industry was a terribly slow burn. I had just graduated from Cosmetology School and while I waited a few months for my state board exam date I thought why not get a part-time job? My dog loved going to Petco, so I applied! When the manager called me, he offered me a position in grooming, to which I was very hesitant as I was super uninterested, and well 17 years later I NEVER looked back. I did pass my state board exam and have always kept my Cosmetologist license active and up to date! From there I worked as a Grooming Salon Leader, attended the Petco Mentor Academy, and was a Grooming Mentor for our region before I departed from the company.

What Inspired Me to Take the Leap to Open a Salon:

My biggest inspiration to open my salon was the confidence I slowly developed as I applied for the Blackworks Ambassadorship back in 2021. I took a major step out of my quiet little comfort zone, and when I met so many wonderful, amazing, and supportive groomers from around the country and the world, I felt so at home and comfortable. My vision for what I had dreamt of for my salon was quite simple. One-on-one grooming where every dog gets the same treatment. I do not want to tack on additional costs, and I need a quiet environment for all the pups I have been grooming now for ten-plus years, to dogs who are now seniors, and they get to be at ease and relaxed. I knew in my heart that it would take a lot of work, but my senior dog friends are all worth it and I would do it all over again for their comfort and mine.

Some of the Obstacles I’ve Faced Along the Way:

During my career, I’ve been faced with many obstacles along the way. Many of those were not-so-supportive people. Some people wanted to make me feel like I would fail, people said my vision would never work, and the bullying and downright mean environments. There were days I wanted to quit the industry altogether because of how negatively I had been treated. I was beginning to self-doubt and question my spot in the industry. But I followed my heart, and I could not be happier to be in a stress-free and non-toxic environment doing nothing more than what I love. Some other obstacles I faced were learning finances and spending! You never realize how any of that works when you start on your own. Sometimes product orders may not arrive on time or things break and you need them repaired, and you are the janitor! 

How I Overcame Them:

Obstacles are inevitable for sure! But I have to say what helped me overcome my obstacles was knowing my clients and I deserved better. I knew I would stop at nothing to make this environment a reality! My passion is to stick to my vision! With advice from my peers in the industry, many sleepless nights of picking industry leaders’ brains, attending leadership dinners at expos, and putting myself out there and seeing these amazing people, again all over the world believing in me, the decision was easy! I took the jump, and I do not regret a single thing! Most importantly to face these obstacles I just took the jump! I overcame by saying enough!! It is time to make things happen! I went out and made connections in my community, I was introduced to a wonderful vet in my area. I went in weekly to collaborate with him and make a beautiful space to call my own and I don't regret a single thing! I pushed outside my comfort zone to make things happen. This was my fresh start and my way out of a work environment that no longer suited me. 

Things I’m Still Learning:

One thing that happens as a business owner is there is always something new to learn. Some of the things I am still learning are how to allot my time to my clients and how I can better serve them. We are in an industry where we will never stop learning. Things will always evolve and change in the grooming world. Even with 17 years, I learn things daily! Which is something I have adapted to very easily being that Cosmetology is exactly that way as well. I take as many classes and courses as I can. Our education is endless and the tools we are given nowadays in this industry are amazing, so I highly recommend to everyone to utilize them! Take the classes, put yourself out there and meet everyone! If you want to take that leap, you CAN do it!


I am humbled unbelievably at the support I have had for my business from my fellow grooming friends! My business has been growing and growing and I kept my vision strong and here it is! Catering to senior and disabled pets in a calm environment. It is all I have ever wanted, and I cannot thank those who believed in me enough. As for you reading this! Your visions and your dreams can be a reality! You are capable of doing anything you desire in this industry! Your success is in you!

Follow Ashley on Instagram and visit her website to learn more!