At first, when I was asked to do a blog about myself, I was definitely shocked. Because in my eyes, I’m just a groomer that loves what I do. But to understand WHY I was shocked, let’s start at the beginning. When I was a kid there were only two things I loved to do. And that was playing drums and loving on animals. I am a person that follows passion and purpose over the money in my bank account. (Although money is definitely important). My mom wasn’t a fan of dogs much. She said, “anything that has bigger poops than her, she doesn’t want it in the house.” So all we had were Chihuahuas. So I used to pick up stray dogs, feed them, bathe them, and put them back outside. Years later I realized I loved it so much, I wanted to get a job doing it. “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”
How I Got into the Industry:
So at 16, I went to apply for the bather position at PetSmart. I walked in with my mom’s five Chihuahuas thinking “if I bring dogs, they will see how much I love them and hire me.” WRONG! They said I had no job experience. So guess what I did? I found a job washing dishes (washing dishes and dogs, the same thing, right? Ha-ha). I worked at Coit’s Root beer Stand for three months. Then I quit, reapplied at PetSmart, and got the job. I think at this point the manager was annoyed with my calling, so she gave in.
Well, not to toot my own horn, but man I was good at what I did. I was fast, friendly, came early, left late, and dependable…. OK, I guess I’m tooting my horn now. But I was the bomb dot com.
Now I’m 17 years old. We were low income, so what’s next… you guessed it. I joined the BADDEST military branch on the planet. The United States Marine Corps. Now, this part of my life could be an entire novel. But in short, growing up without a father figure, the Marines were the next best thing. I did that for four years, including a year tour in Iraq from 2005-2006.
Life After the Marines:
After getting out of the Marines, I fell on hard times in Florida. I made bad decisions, and I ended up homeless for a bit. Sleeping under bridges definitely makes you rethink your life’s decisions. One thing about this part of my life is that this was the breaking point. I tried multiple times to leave this place for good, but the universe had other plans for me. Somehow some way, I ended up back in my home state of Oklahoma with a different outlook on life. Just remember, everything in life happens for a reason. You can’t rush the process, but you can trust the process. And that’s exactly what I did.
How I Overcame Obstacles:
I decided to use the GI BILL to go to OSU-OKC to be a veterinarian. Mainly because I believe I was born to stand out. I mean with a name like Frazel, I was destined to be different. And there aren’t too many African American animal doctors out there. Well while going to school I realize that all this schooling wasn’t for me. So I switched my major to business and got a job at PetSmart again as a bather. But to be honest, I only wanted a degree because I would be the first in my family with one. But now not only am I a bather… I’m a bather with military training which helps with attention to detail, working in an efficient manner, respect and so much more.
My salon manager told me one day, that I should be a groomer. Now I take pride in my work, so for my manager to notice how awesome I was, makes me feel amazing. So I did it!
How I Prepared for Grooming:
I went to the training; it was only four weeks long. But I loved it because my instructor focused on safety more than anything. It was very well structured and it was a great starting place. After the training, I was sent back to my home store where I had to do 100 dogs. My manager had to sign off on each one before I could make a commission. I had to do 25 body contours, 25 short-legged trims, 25 long-legged trims, and 25 poodle cuts.
So now I’m a PetSmart Certified groomer. Yay! But it didn’t stop there. I wanted to do this for life. So I kept learning. Not just about grooming, but body language, handling techniques, out-of-the-box grooming like coloring, and breeds. Learning all the breeds, their origin, and their temperament helped a lot.
One of my biggest obstacles I would say was my image. I’m not dumb. I get that I don’t look the part of a typical groomer. First off, I’m a male in a 90% female-dominated industry. Second, I’m 300 pounds and a 6’1” gym rat. And lastly, I’m black, which makes up for less than 5% of the industry. Basically, I’m a big black dude that plays with puppies for a living…. and I LOVE IT! Most folks don’t take me seriously at first. That’s why I have to focus so much on my work ethic and output. Those that know me, understand that I refuse to change for anyone. I found a saying, “BE YOU, THEY’LL ADJUST”.
Advice to Readers:
Looking back at it all now, I’m proud of myself. I picked the perfect profession for me. I’m passionate about grooming and I try to be different. I want to be that positive light on others’ negative days. I want to cheer folks up when the world is gloomy. I want to connect groomers with each other and work together…NOT against EACH other.
So if you are looking for a career change or lifestyle change, and you have thought about grooming, please understand, that in this field the pay does NOT equal the passion. What do I mean? Well, most groomers are underpaid and overworked but yet we still come to work every day. Why? It’s because we ABSOLUTELY LOVE this job! So be careful cause groomer BURNOUT is real. I was there. And right when I was about to give it all up, I bounced back and made a name for myself.