2020 was a year that none of us will ever forget. As COVID-19 invaded our world, it caused the postponement and cancellation of grooming shows, seminars, trade shows and grooming competitions.
But rather than simply canceling the shows and leaving attendees, competitors and vendors high and dry, many shows went virtual. Although it was not the same as being at a show in person, multitudes of groomers were eager to participate. With the need to connect with their fellow groomers and experience some semblance of normalcy, virtual shows were just what the “dog–tor” ordered.
What is a virtual show?
These are events that are presented entirely online. It is a real change from the way groomers have always experienced industry shows, yet in some ways, it is the same. You still get to attend fantastic seminars, watch exciting grooming competitions and enjoy shopping at the trade shows. Surprisingly, virtual shows have some unique advantages over in–person ones.
Although grooming shows are held in many locations all across the country, attending them was still prohibitive for some groomers who would have to travel long distances to get to a show site. Now, everyone can attend a virtual show from the comfort of their home or salon. You don’t have to take time off or close your business in order to attend. And, you don’t have to find a house sitter or arrange for someone to care for your pets. There are no travel, motel or meal expenses. In fact, some groomers said they saved so much money by attending virtually, that instead of going to their usual one or two shows a year, they registered and enjoyed all the online shows that were available to them.
How does it work?
If you have internet access, you can attend the virtual shows. After you register, you will receive an email with the show schedule and links to all the webinars. All the seminars are viewed through Zoom. You do not need to have a Zoom account, you simply click on the links you receive by email. Through the Zoom presentations you will have a VIP view of everything, and you won’t have any trouble hearing the presenter. Many of the speakers provide handouts for their seminars, you simply have to print them out.
During the seminars, you can ask questions of the speaker and get an answer on the spot. You also get to interact with other attendees using the chat feature. Many of the speakers give out their email address and social media information so that you can contact them later if you have any additional questions.
Continuing education is critically important to keep abreast of new and changing facets of the industry. Many certificate courses on topics such as hair and skin, safe handling techniques, hand–stripping and dog behavior were offered. By participating in a seminar and then taking a short quiz at its conclusion, you can receive a personalized, framable certificate to display in your salon, on your website or on your social media pages.
The grooming demonstration seminars are fabulous. Whether it is hand–stripping, Asian fusion, breed–specific trims or creative, you get to see the entire process. It’s truly like receiving a private lesson from the premier groomers of the world. Additionally, you see what tools and products the stylists use to achieve their finished results. With the “best seat in the house” you are treated to close–up views of every groom.
Another great feature of virtual shows is the unlimited replay feature. At in–person shows, there are often four or five seminars held at the same time. That means you can only attend one of them. But at a virtual show, you can experience every seminar—one as it is being presented and the others later. Also, this feature allows you to re–watch any of the seminars as often as you wish up to a certain date.
Grooming competitions are done a bit differently at a virtual show, but they are still very interesting and exciting to watch. Attendees get to observe the magnificent grooming skills of the competitors and see close–ups of the dogs as the grooms progress. Several groomers shared that the virtual shows have encouraged them to try their hand at competing because the shows have given them the ability to closely watch the stylists from start to finish and see how they produce their winning grooms.
Much to everyone’s delight, a trade show is held in conjunction with the seminars and grooming competitions. Just because it is not face to face doesn’t mean it’s not a spectacular event with bargains galore. Sponsor spotlights are held in between seminars. Through the spotlights, companies showcase their tools and products and give short demonstrations on how to use them. As always, the trade show pricing and special deals allow groomers to stock up on necessities, try new items and get lots of bargains.
Here’s another great bonus: At in–person trade shows, you might not get to visit every booth, and as a result, you may not know about a great deal someone is offering. If you miss a live presentation at a virtual trade show, you can click on an exhibitor and instantly see the show specials that they have. Then you can shop at your convenience.
Until we have in–person shows again, take advantage of the virtual shows. Enjoy the convenience and participate in the many benefits of learning, shopping and being together—it’s just what the “dog–tor” ordered! ✂️