Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Woofs With..... A Groomer

Today's Woofs With.... interview is with a lady very close to our hearts, Katie Smith, who is an excellent groomer, plus runs the doggy daycare business that I go to!  Katie's website can be found here.  We wanted to ask Katie how she got started as a groomer, and exactly what that entails.  If you have ever thought about pursuing a career in grooming, or are just interested what they do, read on for some in depth insights...

Katie at work in Rascals grooming salon

What inspired you to become a groomer?

I moved to Orlando, Florida with my partner and decided to volunteer in an animal shelter (Orange County Animal Services) as I missed my dog who had recently passed away at home. I loved working there and interacting with the dogs on a daily basis. It had never crossed my mind that I could have a career working with dogs, i thought it was just something I enjoyed doing in my spare time. I later realised that the pet industry was huge and full of opportunities! After attending the Global Pet Expo the April before, I came home full of ideas to open my own pet business.

Tell me about the pets in your life?

As a child I had two pets: a rabbit called Loopy (who became a house rabbit) and a dog called Charlie (a Bichon Frisé). I now have a Tibetan Terrier called Maggie, who I adopted two years ago from a grooming customer. I also know hundreds of other dogs who I love to play with on a daily basis at work.
Katie with Maggie, her Tibetan Terrier

Describe a typical day for us?

A typical day would involve getting up, walking my dog, picking up the daycare dogs and going to the shop. We then walk the daycare dogs, while the other member of staff gets started on the first grooming dog. Throughout the day we bath and hand dry the dogs, brush them through with a slicker brush and then a fine comb (to check for knots) and then we hand scissor them to make them look beautiful!
Throughout the day I also have to take bookings, check the stock for the pet boutique and place orders, check the stock levels for the products for the grooming room, and keep on top of daily cleaning jobs!

How did you get your business up and running?

After returning from America, I went to see a business adviser who advised me to complete a business plan, do a competitor analysis and budget for the project. After I had gathered all this information, I felt more comfortable going ahead with my grooming course (City and Guild Certified Grooming Academy for Professionals). After I completed my course I started renting a small building in the local area at a low rent in order to build but my business and not accrue any debt.

What do you love most about running Rascals?

I love how every day is different, I initially chose to change my career as a marketeer to a dog groomer because I loved dogs, but over time I have seen how rewarding working with animals can be. Every day you either make a dogs life better or more comfortable. You teach them to be well behaved and responsive. I love how creative my job is, I get to experiment all day making dogs look beautiful. And I love the boutique as it enables me to browse one of a kind pet products from small hand made businesses, and offer them to my customers.

And what do you find most difficult?

It is hard but on the rare occasion a dog comes into to see you with their coat in such a poor condition.  This could mean mats, knots, sores, rashes, grass seeds, ticks, fleas. You want to do everything you can for the dog, but you know that in the long term you cannot guarantee that the owner will bring them back before their coat gets into a bad condition again. We try to help the dog as much as we can, and 9 times out of 10 you know the dog leaves feeling much better and happier than when it came in.

What would your top advice be for someone interested in pursuing a career in the pet business?

Do your research, check what competition you have and how you can be different and stand out from the crowd. Be the best qualified person for the job, and get lots of hands on experience. Always do a business plan and budget. There is not much room for error in dog grooming, you're only as good as your last customers reviews, so remember that you have to keep the customers happy, as well as their dog!

Thank you so much Katie for taking out some time from your busy schedule to answer some of our questions.  We hope our readers find it as interesting as we did!


  1. That was pawsome!! And I bets she does a MUCH better job at stealin' the furs than Ma does!!
    Ruby ♥

  2. What a great interview! Maggie is just adorable ☺

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  3. Great interview! Mom works at a groomers and loves giving the doggies a bath and drying them into fluff balls! BOL!

  4. Thanks for joining the blog hop!

    It's great to combine your passion with your career, isn't it? What a rewarding job.

  5. Great interview but we are not great fans of the groomers but peeps is. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. Very nice to meet you lady. Butt you are not getting my hairs
    Lily & Edward

  7. Very cool post! We used to live in Orlando. Now we live slightly on the outskirts. It's a small world. :-)

  8. Hi Y'all!

    I've never been to a groomer...

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  9. Very interesting post. It is great that Katie was able to combine her love of pets and her business and make a go of it. It sure sounds like she did her homework to assure her success. Thanks so much for joining the hop. I was on vacation last week so I am just catching up now. :)

  10. this was a pawesome interview and she is one smart lady!! Would love to read a follow-up post where she talks about the different personalities of the dogs she has groomed. That would be fun too!

  11. That was a nice interview! Although grooming is not our favorite activity, our groomer Miss Jacquie is one of our favorite humans!