Hi! My name is Kioana, and I’m the owner of Bark N’ Park Mobile Grooming located in Warwick, Rhode Island. This was my first winter as a Mobile groomer! Being a mobile groomer in the New England area has been trial and error for me. I converted an old school bus in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic to my mobile grooming salon. Since it’s generally VERY cold in the New England area, my day usually starts at 7 AM to check my pipes to make sure the pipes didn’t freeze overnight. Then I start my bus, turn the heat up full blast to start warming up the Pynk LaGuagua!
There are some mornings when all my efforts to keep the pipes from freezing fails. I’ve been running into this issue a lot this winter due to the bitter cold we have had. Some the things I do to make operations easier before I begin my day are:
1. Insulation is Key!
I have some Insulation in my bus but not a lot, so it still gets cold. I cover my hot water heater, pipes, and water pump with a layer of blankets. I have one heated blanket with a timer on it to cover the layer.
2. Hot Water Heater for the Win!
I then plug in my hot water heater to get the water warm for the first client. I then check my clean water tank to make sure it isn’t frozen. On the rare occasion that it is frozen I set up my heater to face the tank so it can be defrosted.
3. Heat, Heat, and More Heat!
While I groom, I keep a heater running, it gets pretty warm in the grooming area of the bus.
4. Hose Hook-Up for Morning!
If I do run into some frozen temperatures, instead of canceling my morning appointments, I fill 8–9 gallon jugs with warm water to bathe my first appointments. I have a hose hook up that I can hook up to the sink in the kitchen that I use to fill up the jugs.
5. Heating Blankets to the Rescue
I keep them (water jugs) wrapped up with a heating blanket, so they stay warm throughout the day.
Mobile grooming in the colder months may seem discouraging and yes, it took a few cold nights before I was able to find what worked best for my bus. It's not the most convenient all the time, but it works. And don’t stress, during warmer days Mobile Grooming is a breeze! Once the Pynk LaGuagua is all warmed and ready for the day and I get behind that wheel it’s nothing but car karaoke and podcasts heading to the first client!
Kioana is happiest when she is creating; so it came as no surprise when she started dyeing her mother’s Chihuahuas with food coloring. She took a leap of faith by applying to a local veterinarian's office as a vet technician. In addition to veterinarian services, the office offered pet grooming services. This is where she met the woman who would change her life and set off a series of events that would help shape the course of her career, Danielle. Meeting Danielle showed her that there is room for strong, creative African American women in this field.
When she wasn’t working with the doctor, she was always in the grooming room, learning and watching. After three years as a vet technician, she knew that wasn’t something she wanted to do forever. Kioana started working at PetSmart in 2009 as a bather for three months and then enrolled in grooming school, where she received her certification as a dog and cat groomer.
In 2013 she became a certified creative groomer by one of the industries’ top creative groomers, Lori Craig.