By Michelle Knowles
As I sit here, answering one last Facebook message for the night, I am struck by how important communication is in our lives. Communication can be verbal, or with body language and even the tone we use to convey a message.
We all know how essential good communication is between the groomer and the pet. We also know that communicating well with our clients can make or break a lifelong business relationship or friendship. But I am profoundly aware of the opportunity we have as groomers to discuss our ideas, techniques and knowledge with each other.
In this digital age, we can share product results, tool expertise and new research the second it becomes available to all our peers, worldwide. Our industry is moving forward at a rapid pace and just like veterinarians who were once not even considered a trade, we are experiencing a renaissance of ideas and growth into a respected profession.
We are many, with various schools of thought, education, mentoring and experiences. We all add to the health of the industry. I have a motherly love for groomers everywhere. I care deeply for you, not just what you do. I have traveled the road of needing tips to feed my family, having hands so cut and bitten and falling into bed so tired that I don’t know if I can do it again tomorrow. My love of our craft has sustained me through these hard times and I wouldn’t go back and change my decision to be a groomer at any price.
I have learned from dogs, cats, many peers, mentors and students. The one thing that remains a given in this profession of change is that we learn by sharing the things that we know with one another. My wish is that all groomers everywhere never tire of learning new things that they may better communicate with each other, as well as clients and the pets they love. Certification, up to now, has not been required by state law or licensing but in a multibillion dollar industry, you may find yourself left behind without the proper education.
There are many different certification courses that are available today. These can and do enhance your credibility to your clients, employers and your peers. I have heard too many times that certification doesn’t mean anything and it is not a worthwhile endeavor, but this is far from the truth.
The grooming and boarding industry produces about 5 billion dollars a year within the United States alone. The more groomers that seek continuing education make the grooming industry stronger. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Education is valuable in that it promotes communication. Pick an online group you feel comfortable in, find a mentor, learn a new breed trim that you haven’t done before. Remember when you first started grooming? You may have needed help constantly before you became comfortable with the process.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, well I say it takes a village to raise a groomer. Hold your sisters and brothers close, boost them when they need it. Share your knowledge so that those who follow are better than we are. It is important for us to remember that open discussions are better in finding solutions, and when we stop talking with one another the learning stops as well. ✂