By Kathy Hosler
Almost everyone has a favorite restaurant. A place you love to visit and tell your friends about. Of course, that restaurant has to serve great food, but a lot of restaurants out there sell wonderful food. To become your favorite, and to win your loyalty as a patron – they have to do more. They have to do something special that makes you choose them over their competition.
The same is true for grooming salons. There are lots of great pet stylists. To be one of the ones who are always in demand, you need to turn out superb grooms…and more. You have to do things that make you stand out from everyone else. And, often it is the finishing touches that you put on the pets you groom, that keeps you head and shoulders above the rest.
Many salons put bows on all of their finished pets. The bows can be as basic or elaborate as you like – the sky’s the limit. You can make them yourself or purchase professionally made bows. Some stylists opt for collar bows or neckties. Bandannas are also a favorite finishing touch for many salons.
“I keep a nice selection of bows so I can match them to the dog’s collar,” says pet stylist, Joni Frank. “And, if they aren’t wearing a collar, I have a basket of material for bandannas. Oh, and new puppies go home with a squeaky toy!”
Pet safe nail polish or nail caps can be used to coordinate with the bows and bandannas. If you make your own bows and bandannas, you might even order ribbon and bandanna material that is personalized with your salon
name or logo.
Many stylists and salons have finishing touches that are a ‘signature item’ for them. “I get bling mesh in a huge variety of colors and designs. The elastic makes it easy to slide over their heads,” shares Kim Geidel of Barking Beauties. “A lost dog was found by animal control, and because it had one of my pearl bling necklets on, someone recognized that it had to be a Barking Beauties client. The pet was quickly reunited with its owner.”
Some salons have a signature cologne that they put on every pet. Others let their clients choose from a variety of colognes and they offer special seasonal scents. Colognes could also be made available for purchase in your retail area, if you offer this. That way clients could keep their pets smelling their best in between grooming appointments.
Finishing touches can go far beyond the bows. “Feather extensions are my most recent finishing touch,” says Krista Creekpaum, of Krista’s Grooming. “I get bags of feathers at the craft store, cut to size and glue two together. They are attached to the pet with a crimp bead. It’s durable, easy and quick, and can be washed with the dog at home.”
Many pet parents like to bling up their pets with jewels and/or color. Jewels can add sparkle and a touch of elegance. They are affixed with pet safe adhesive. Body bling in the form of jeweled butterflies, flowers, ladybugs and more are available. Pet safe glitter or ‘fairy dust’ can give a little pizzazz to any pet. To complete the look you want, you can even apply larger than life faux eyelashes to the pets.
Lots of pet parents are really enthusiastic about having color applied to their pets. Temporary color can be applied with pet safe blow pens, chalk, crème chalk pens, hair mascara, or hair crayons. If you are just starting to experiment with hair colors, you can begin by putting just a touch of color on the tail or ears. You can use stencils to place designs on short or long hair pets. As you become more confident, you can graduate to airbrushing colors on the pets and using permanent colors.
Another super important finishing touch is one that will not cost you a penny. It’s the way that you present the finished pet to the client. When you call or text the owner to let them know that their pet is done, do you sound like this: “Hi, your dog is done. The charge for today is $55 and we close at five o’clock. Bye.”
If you are smart, your call or text will sound more like this: “Hi, this is Karen from Best Pet Grooming. Your dear, little Suzie is finished with her makeover, and now the cutest pup in the world is ready to be picked up. She can’t wait to show off her gorgeous new blinged-up hairdo
When the owners arrive at your salon, make giving them their pet as special as if they were receiving a prestigious award. Say something like, “Here he is…the most purr-fect kitty in the world! Doesn’t Mr. Whiskers look spectacular? And, how about those jazzy bows and matching
This is the time to make your client feel like their pet is the most important one that you groom – because, at that moment, it is! Finishing touches are more important than you think. Pet parents go wild about them and post endless photos of their pets on social media. Then, they rave about you and your salon to their friends.
Make every visit to your salon unforgettable. Add some new finishing touches to the pets that you groom. Give their owners plenty to talk about! ✂