By Kathy Hosler
“I was one month out of grooming school and had been grooming for just two weeks when I attended my first show,” said Krista Creekpaum. “Learning more was my goal, and eight years later, it still is. It’s true, the more you learn, the more you want to learn.”
Many groomers, like Krista eagerly attend multiple grooming shows every year. They have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and self–improvement. Unfortunately, there are still some stylists who have never attended a grooming show and been able to experience the things they have to offer.
The most common reasons given for not attending shows are; I can’t take time off work. The shows are all too far away. I can’t afford to go. My customers won’t understand. I’m doing ok just the way I am.
So, you think that you can’t take time off?
Oh yes you can. Show dates are posted months in advance, giving you plenty of time to arrange your schedule.
“Like anything in our lives, we have to plan accordingly,” says Jameson Kon. “We plan our clients’ appointments to be before or after a grooming show. And, we add a day or three to each show so we can have a mini–vacation or hang out with friends from our industry. We work hard. Attending grooming shows is a way to treat and reinvest in ourselves.”
“Going to grooming shows gives me a chance to learn new techniques and see what others are doing,” says Amanda McGrath. “Since I work alone this is very important to me. Many of the tips and tricks I have learned over the years have more than made up the cost of attending.”
Too far away?
Grooming shows are now held in many locations all over the country, and the world. Almost everyone can find a show close enough for them to attend. If it’s absolutely impossible for you to get to a grooming show in person, there are many fabulous online seminars and training that you can take advantage of.
Can’t afford to attend?
There are many easy ways to budget for a show. Take the money you make from one groom a week and place it in a show account. Then you will have the funds you need already saved when it is time to go. Put a tip jar on your check–out counter with a sign that says all tips go toward continuing groomer education. Attending shows is a tax deductible expense!
“I totally get it that it can be expensive to attend shows,” shares Jameson Kon. “But, why not plan it with fellow friends in the grooming world, and split the hotel cost, or car rental, etc. Think of this as an investment, because the things we come back with are priceless.”
Think Your customers won’t understand?
After all the bad publicity that has been in the news and on social media lately, you need to reinforce the confidence your clients already have in you. They should be thrilled that you are continuing your education to improve yourself and your business. Tell them that you are going for them and their pets; to learn new grooming techniques, see new products, and to be educated in new handling techniques to become a better groomer—all for them!
“I always have a take–away from the educational summits at the shows,” says Dawn Kinney. “Sometimes it’s salon safety, or maybe how to improve speed or technique, but learning from the industry giants always motivates me to be a better groomer. Watching the level of grooming at the demos and competitions is also inspiring, and meeting groomers from around the world has forged some life–long friendships.”
Think you don’t need to go to shows because you’re doing ok?
Are you really, or are you just a step away from groomer burnout? Whether you are a new groomer, or a seasoned veteran—to keep yourself fresh and excited about your career you need the grooming show experience. Attending shows exposes you to informative educational seminars, time and labor saving tools and equipment, and much needed interaction with your peers.
“The grooming industry is always changing,” says Amanda McGrath. “That’s why I feel it’s a must to attend seminars and trade shows,”
“I’ve been grooming for 30 years,” says Wendy Roberts. “I have yet to leave a show without a whole bucket of new knowledge.”
“Nobody knows it all,” adds Cynthia Kohl. “It’s never too late to learn, especially about what’s new in products, tools, and technique.”
Education is the key. Learning new services that will enable you to increase your income can pay for your show expenses many times over. Say you go to a show and learn a new technique that saves you ten minutes per pet. If you groom six pets a day, you could finish working an hour earlier. Just think about what you can do with an extra hour a day.
Suppose you learn how to do an add–on service that you charge $15 for. If only three clients per day opt for the service, that’s an extra $45 a day in your pocket. If you groom five days a week, you could be putting an extra $225 in your pocket every week. That’s over $11,000 per year!
Even if you are happy with your grooming skills and the way you do business, attending shows will validate and confirm that you are providing excellent services for your clients.
“The shows are invaluable for watching, learning, and breathing in new information and technique,” says Nancy Gross. “They are also a confirmation that I am already familiar with and keeping up with certain styles and education. At the shows I learn even more and I get to experience the “shear” joy of seeing and handling products, equipment, and talking to other professionals.”
That “shear” joy is shared by Daryl Conner when she emphasizes how important it is to meet others of our “tribe”.
“No one can understand what we do like another groomer,” says Daryl emphatically. “And being able to TOUCH the tools we wish to buy is something you can only do at a show. It is so much better to buy things like shears when you can hold them first.”
Amanda Zeller agrees when she says, “I love seeing the latest and greatest tools and equipment on the market to make our jobs easier. I also enjoy watching other groomers and their grooming styles. You can pick up lots of tips and tricks (dos and don’ts) from many different people.”
“The longer I groom, the more I’m convinced that attending shows is important,” concludes Krista Creekpaum. “When I attended my first show, I was looking for the support of other groomers. I still look for that, but I hope that now I’m providing support to others, as well. So, I attend to learn, to get support from my peers, and to give support in return. It’s what I like about shows and it’s why I find them an important part of my life.”
Dawn Kinney sums it up by saying, “If you have never attended a grooming show, I urge you to save your tips this year to fund a road trip to the show of your choice. It will expand your skills, knowledge, self–confidence, and circle of groomer friends. Invest in your career…you’re worth it!” ✂