Groomers Seek Ergonomics, Upsells
In professional grooming, products that offer safety for pets and groomers as well as opportunities to pump up services reign.
Steve Nicolosi, national sales manager for Glo-Marr Pet Products in Lawrenceburg, Ky.
Gina Dial, vice president of sales and marketing for John Paul Pet in Austin, Texas
Danielle Gallo, marketing product manager for Andis Co. in Sturtevant, Wis.
Megan Mouser, global education manager, animal division, for Andis Co. in Sturtevant, Wis.
Carmen Slaven, marketing product manager for Conair Corp. in Stamford, Conn.
Frank Bickley, owner of Westhampton Pet in Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
Connie Bailey, senior manager of grooming operations for The Pet Club in Phoenix
Pet Product News: Tell us about the trends you are seeing in professional supplies, tools and equipment for groomers, and where they are coming from.
Steve Nicolosi: We are seeing more requests for boutique or spa-type products, from foaming facial shampoos to finishing sprays to designer colognes.
Gina Dial: In shampoo, botanicals, widely known for their healing properties. Pet care is being influenced by current trends in the human market. It is safe to assume that trends in the beauty industry would filter down to the pet industry in shampoos and conditioners since those who purchase pet shampoo are the same demographic, and we are “humanizing” our pets more and more.
Connie Bailey: There are a lot of new deshedding shampoos and conditioners on the market; everyone’s coming out with their own. Deshedding is a big upsell for the industry, and these shampoos and conditioners help with the blowing-, drying- and pulling-out undercoat. Also, the large, 8.5-inch chunker is a great tool to replace straight shears because it works to soften the look on any haircut for a natural look.
Carmen Slaven: Ergonomic grooming tools and cordless, quiet tools for a comfortable setting with pets.
Danielle Gallo: We’re seeing a shift to electric clippers, which give groomers multiple speed options. Groomers like having flexibility in their tools when working with different-sized animals and varied temperaments. The ability to speed the clipper up or down has proven very useful.
Megan Mouser: Tools seem to be getting brighter and smaller than ever before. I think this comes from a space of individuality and more groomers wanting to personalize their workspaces.
Frank Bickley: Grooming isn’t about your equipment; it’s about your experience.
PPN: What challenges are facing the professional grooming marketplace?
Nicolosi: As far as our types of products go—topical skin care, shampoos, sprays, etc.—we see a lot of competition from new manufacturers starting up. But we are in our 53rd year of business, and our customers, old and new, trust us and our abilities.
Dial: From a shampoo point of view, there are many. Many consumers get overwhelmed by the selection and end up purchasing an old standby. Education about products at point-of-sale is crucial in the decision-making process, but the challenge is finding the space to do it.
Mouser: One of the challenges for a groomer is as simple as choosing the right tool. Doing your homework is very important. If you know someone with a tool you might like, ask to borrow it and take a test run. It’s important to find high-quality tools with a low physical impact on the groomer.
Slaven: Merging the service retail mindset with the grooming business can be an extraordinary opportunity if handled with the customer experience at the frontline.
Bailey: There are some really good supplies out there that are limited, and I don’t know why. Maybe production? There are a lot of new items out there that are good, and it’s hard to keep up. You have to go to industry trade shows to find out what’s really new out there, unless you’re really digging in and researching. Also, finding the right groomers to help build our business; there just are not enough groomers to go around. It’s hard to find a really good, experienced, gentle-handling groomer with a good work ethic.
Bickley: While the internet is slowly putting me out of business on the pet supply side, grooming will survive. There’s plenty of business for them.
PPN: Manufacturers, where do you look for new ideas?
Mouser: I like to watch what’s trending in the professional barber and beauty industry—most pet trends follow human trends. For example, vivid hair color and creative barber cuts have been popular lately, and I’ve seen creative grooms online and at trade shows all [last] year. Different cultures bring different flare to the grooming world, so I also follow a lot of overseas groomers for inspiration.
Nicolosi: We listen to our customers about what they are looking for or are being asked for. When an idea or trend starts for overall health care, skin care or hair care in people products, the next place it shows up is in the pet industry.
PPN: What are groomers’ top requests and demands in professional supplies, tools and equipment?
Dial: The cost of supplies can be an important issue.
Bickley: I would like scissors that never need to be adjusted, even if you drop them on the floor! Actually, I am happy with my 20-year-old dryers; I maintain most of my equipment myself, and I’d rather stick with the stuff I have already paid for than start spending my money on fancy new stuff.
Slaven: Product knowledge is most requested by groomers—education and product knowledge.
Nicolosi: They look for spa-type products; something they can advertise as an extra, charge a little more for and provide an overall “experience” for the pet.
Gallo: Versatility is key. Versatility in power, blade speeds, blade options, accessories and even colors is becoming critical to the grooming tool purchase decision.
Bailey: We want something that helps us work more quickly and effectively along with safety. Time is money in the pet grooming industry.
PPN: How important are material and manufacturing sources?
Bickley: It’s very important. Everyone wants to buy American—it means a lot.
Nicolosi: We only source our raw materials for ingredients from the U.S. Also, all of our packaging components are sourced domestically. That is what most people want to see.
Gallo: This has always been a subject that is close to our hearts at Andis. As an American manufacturer for more than 95 years, Andis believes whole-heartedly that our best products are those that we make right here in the United States. We know every groomer wants a high-quality tool that will be durable and efficient, and we’re proud to make that product for them here in America.
PPN: What do you see or hope to see in the future for professional grooming?
Nicolosi: More growth. People will always have a need for groomers and their services, so we all need to stay current with what people want for themselves and their pets.
Bailey: I’d like to see groomers ensure they’re using the right tables and keeping them at the right height. Whatever it takes to groom ergonomically and safely so you don’t wear your body out.
Slaven: Continued growth for the professional grooming industry, as more and more pet parents want to keep their pets healthy and happy.