By Kathy Hosler
When you get dressed for a day of grooming, do you glance in the mirror and think, “Wow! I really look good?” Well, you should. In order to do your best work, you need to feel good about yourself and the way that you look. Your appearance plays a major role in the way your clients perceive and treat you. Pet parents want to know that their precious fur babies are being cared for by a qualified stylist, and professional attire helps reinforce that confidence.
The pet care industry has grown by gigantic leaps and bounds in recent years. Today’s stylists have become respected business people and as such; cut-offs, t-shirts and flip flops are no longer acceptable attire. To fill this need, more and more manufacturers are designing stylish, well-fitting, pet themed professional grooming attire.
When Jodi Murphy introduced her USA made clothing line, giving pet stylists a professional look was uppermost in her mind.
“I designed all my own patterns. My grooming apparel fits like upscale clothing; it’s not loose and boxy looking.” says Jodi. “The fabric I use is a breathable nylon. There are literally thousands of nylon fabrics on the market. My biggest challenge was to find one that was durable, washes well, and can air dry quickly,” says Jodi. “Quick drying is really important for mobile groomers. They often get wet during the process of grooming pets, and they are in and out of their units going to client’s houses.”
Besides helping you present a positive image, professional grooming apparel is also designed to protect its wearer. Do you know that your health could be impacted by the clothing that you wear while you are grooming? Could grooming apparel possibly contribute to how long (or brief) your career as a groomer may be? Possibly…when it comes to grooming apparel, its importance in protecting you cannot be underestimated.
Do you know why most grooming clothing is made of nylon or a nylon blend? Nylon has a high-density weave – hair cannot adhere to it. The nylon material keeps hair from getting on the skin and undergarments of the groomers that wear them – and that can really minimize problems. Have you ever had embedded hairs in the creases of your elbows or in other ‘delicate’ places? It’s no fun, and it can lead to serious infections, painful abscesses, severe itching and more.
That’s one reason that you should never groom in cotton ‘scrubs.’ They offer no protection from hair. In fact, hair clings to them and works itself deeply into the fabric. Then when you wash the scrubs, some of the hair can transfer to the other clothing, and soon there are tiny hairs everywhere, ready to poke and irritate your skin. And, bacteria can easily cling to regular clothing and could possibly be transferred from one pet to the next.
Many groomers get hot and request that manufacturers produce sleeveless tops; however, that puts them at risk for hair getting into their skin and their undergarments. An alternate solution would be to try a roomier top. When you wear something that does not cling to your skin, it allows air to circulate and to keep the wearer cooler.
Manufacturers have designed their groom wear with all of these concerns in mind.
Mr. Robert Heller, owner of Max & Molly Wear says, “Our designs go beyond appearance. Everything is designed for the comfort and protection of the groomers. On our tops that have short sleeves, the sleeves extend almost to the elbow. That’s done on purpose to protect the elbow crease from hair slivers.
Our pants are made to be long with a flair on the bottom to cover the top of the shoes. That protects the socks from getting covered with hair,” continues Mr. Heller. And all of our tops have a covered pocket or a snap closure to keep hair out. (That’s a real bonus for any groomer who has ever found a ‘surprise gift’ of poop in their pocket from a dog they were carrying).”
“Our line is designed by groomers for groomers,” says Ms. Michelle, owner of Pet Groomer Apparel in San Diego, California. “Design and fit are uppermost in importance. A lot of our smocks have a ¾ sleeve. That allows groomers who sit to groom to rest their elbows on the table and not get any hair splinters, and the longer length also helps protect the stylist from scratches from the pet’s toenails. We offer sizes to fit almost every groomer – from XXS to 4XL and we are introducing new products – like our convertible cargo pants.”
“Quality is important to us,” says Elaine Millard of Professional Designs, Inc. “All of our apparel is made right here in Iowa. Our seams are double stitched during the construction of the garments, and we use reinforced snaps for durability. We are happy to do custom orders, like embroidery, special inseam lengths, or adding elastic to the waist of our tops or ankles of pants.”
Gone are the days when groomers had a really limited choice of work wear. Now, everyone can have a stylish wardrobe of colorful, professional outfits and uniforms that will help you put some pizzazz in your workday. Yes, now you can have it all…fit, fashion, fun and protection – all designed exclusively for the pet care professional. “