Jodi Murphy - Groomer to Groomer

Interviews with the Icons

Jodi Murphy

Jodi Murphy is a powerhouse in the grooming industry. She’s a self–taught groomer who has built an international brand bearing her name offering everything from educational materials to tools and apparel…and she’s not stopping there. With customers and admirers from around the world, Jodi has established herself as one of the top professionals in the industry and a mentor to groomers everywhere. 

Jonathan: Hi Jodi, thanks for meeting up with me. It’s no secret that you’re a hugely successful entrepreneur. What advice would you give anyone who’s thinking about creating and growing a brand?

Jodi: Honestly, I never imagined that I would get into designing a clothing line—or manufacturing any products for that matter. It just all fell into place for the mere sake of demand. I started the clothing line because there were no manufacturers that I liked or would wear their clothes. So, being that I lived so close to NYC, I decided to beat the pavement and find a factory. I found a fabulous pattern maker and designed my own styles. 

Everything that I have done I did because there was a need for it and it was important to me. I only sell what I believe in, so if I were to give anyone advice, I would say to do what makes you feel good and what you believe in. Find yourself a graphic designer that will help you create a brand and carry it through to all levels of your business and social media. Logos and color schemes are so important.

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Jonathan: One of those products is my favorite grooming book, Dog Grooming Simplified, which offers a different approach to learning trim styles. What inspired your vision for that project?

Jodi: I’m pretty much a self–taught groomer. I was taught how to shave dogs down and that was it. I decided to buy a mobile van after grooming for one year because I had small children and I wanted to be home for them. Once I started my business I soon realized I knew nothing, so I started going to dog shows to see how the breeds were supposed to be groomed. I brought home the Dogs In Review magazine, and each time I had a certain breed to groom, I would look at the photos of the show dogs and try to mimic the trim using pet techniques. 

After several years of producing videos, I was getting countless people telling me, “You should write a book, you’re so easy to learn from,” so I decided to sit down and write a book. Well, it wasn’t that easy. Once I started, I realized that I was just recreating the wheel. I wanted my book to be different than the others, so after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to use real show dogs as the models because that’s how I taught myself how to groom! I hired one of the top show dog photographers in the country, Miguel Betancourt, to photograph all the breeds for me. 

I remember my daughter calling me one day asking me how to groom a Welsh Terrier. I explained the lines to her, and not even a week later, she called and asked how to groom an Airedale. I said, “It’s the same haircut, different breed.” That was my epiphany to simplify the learning process and to group the breeds by pattern similarity. 

Jonathan: A family effort, I love it! Speaking of family, your daughter, Mackensie Murphy, has followed your footsteps in the grooming industry and has become a very successful GroomTeam USA competitor. How does it feel to see her succeed in the industry that you’ve contributed so much to? 

Jodi: To be honest, I really was not happy that she wanted to be a groomer. She was such a fantastic artist and I wanted her to pursue that career. She started bathing dogs with me in my mobile van when she was 10 years old. She never showed any interest in grooming, and when she went off to college, she got a job as a bather. After she started, the groomers there were telling her that she is so good and she should groom. So, she threw in the towel at college and got into grooming. 

I wasn’t happy at first, but then realized how talented she was and how her artistic eye carried over into grooming dogs. This natural talent has made her a phenomenal groomer and I’m so very proud of her and what she has accomplished in such a short period of time. 

Jonathan: Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; you too are a GroomTeam USA alumni with your own claim to competition fame. What is your proudest win from your competition career and why? 

Jodi: I was blessed to have made two traveling teams; one to Milan and one to Barcelona. On both teams I received gold medals with my Cocker Spaniels—those are wins I will never forget. Although, I have to say my most memorable was the Oster Invitational Tournament Of Champions held at Intergroom in 2005. There were 42 groomers invited from around the world. Each groomer came with a breed of their choice and everyone had the same amount of time: two and a half hours. I had a stunning tri–color Cocker Spaniel that I had been grooming for a handler that I never used in the contest ring because I knew I could never get his bevels done in the normal two–hour timeframe that the shows had for the Sporting group. So, when I realized I had two and a half hours for the Oster Invitational, I thought to myself, I think I can do it! He was the flashiest, most beautiful dog and I knew he would turn heads, so I entered him. I won the entire competition with him and a prize of $4,000. But, honestly, the money didn’t matter to me, it was the caliber of groomers that I was in the ring with that made the difference.

Jonathan: Impressive! And through competition you became well known for your love of Cocker Spaniels. What is it about the breed that has captured your heart? 

Jodi: When I first got married, I was just 21 years old. I couldn’t wait to get my own dog. My neighbor had this cute dog and I remember asking what it was, and he said “a Cocker Spaniel.” So, I started searching in the newspaper for one. I bought my first Cocker shortly after that, then I bought another one about a year later. Now, mind you, they were just pet–quality dogs, but I loved them all the same. Fourteen years later, I became a groomer. I went to my first trade show and decided that I wanted to compete. From there, I bought better–quality dogs from breeders. Once I saw what their correct temperament truly was, I loved them even more. I love their beautiful faces and long ears and how they’re so eager to please and love everyone. I’m just a sporting dog type of person. My dad was an avid bird hunter and I grew up with as many as five Pointers at a time and went on countless field trials with my parents as a child.

Jonathan: Well, it appears that your passion for dogs runs in your blood. I understand you’re working on some new projects. What can we expect to see coming down the pipeline from you? 

Jodi: My focus has always been on education. Last year I launched my streaming site and I have been adding content regularly. I started a new project for the streaming site called “Jodi to the Rescue.” I am traveling to grooming salons offering free critiques on the client dogs that have been groomed before the dogs go home. I will help modify the trim and show how to improve balance, style and finish work. These lessons will be recorded and added to my streaming site. I feel that groomers will be able to relate to these situations as these are real, everyday salon struggles. 

Jonathan: Sounds absolutely exciting. I can’t wait to see it! ✂️

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