Posted: January 27, 2014, 1:05 p.m. EDT
Groomers perform their best when using the right brushes and combs for the job.
By Audrey Pavia
Grooming is an art, and the artist’s tools are an important part of the creative process. For groomers, brushes and combs are two of the most crucial pieces of equipment when it comes to making a dog look good.
Manufacturers of brushes and combs are offering products to help make the groomer’s job easier. Whether it’s rakes meant to eliminate loose hair or ergonomically designed handles to reduce hand strain, manufacturers are producing products to meet groomer needs.
Shedding is a big concern among dog owners, and many people turn to professional groomers to help reduce the amount of unwanted pet hair around the house. Tools designed to help groomers remove loose hair from a variety of breeds are an important part of manufacturers’ brush and comb lines.
"Andis has added Compact Deshedding Tool #80565 to the existing line of grooming tools,” said Cheri Grabowski, marketing product manager for Andis Co. in Sturtevant, Wis. "The Compact Deshedding Tool is ideal for small to medium-sized dogs. Andis also offers the #65760 Deshedding Tool for medium- to larger-sized dogs.”
Breed-specific kits can help customers determine needs. mikumistock/Shutterstock
The company’s Deshedding Tool is engineered to prevent skin irritation and safely and easily remove tangles and mats, Grabowski added.
"The Compact Deshedding Tool is great for shaping, thinning and finishing all dogs that have a minimum undercoat,” she said. "The blades easily remove loose hair.”
Grooming rakes designed to remove loose hair also are a part of the Oster line.
"The wider the teeth, the deeper the rake will go into the coat,” said Christina Pawlosky, national training manager and certified master groomer of Oster Professional Products, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions in Boca Raton, Fla. "They are most effective on the heavier, double-coated dog breeds.”
Oster produces the 18 Tooth Coarse Wide Ride, designed for heavy-shedding large breeds such as golden retrievers and German shepherds, and meant for shaping, finishing and thinning coats. The Oster 10 Tooth Coarse Rake has the same benefits as the 18 Tooth Coarse Wide Rake but features a much smaller head.
"This makes it easier to maneuver on small, double-coated, thick-shedding breeds,” said Pawlosky, who noted that it’s a good tool for maneuvering in small areas such as armpits and behind ears, as well as for general shaping, finishing and thinning of coats.
The 18 Tooth Medium Rake is designed for finer-shedding coats, especially as a follow up to a coarser rake. Featuring a narrower design, this rake works well on both large and small breeds, according to Pawlosky.
At Pet Palace, a grooming salon in La Verne, Calif., owner Mark Levy uses Paw Brothers combs for use on both fine and coarse dog hair.
"These combs are great because they accommodate different coat textures and thickness,” he said. "The round handles eliminate some hand strain. Plus the safety features are innovative. They’re safe because they have ballpoint, angled pins, and this gives dogs a no-scratch brushing experience. It’s safe for both groomers and dogs.”
Ease of use also is offered by Coastal Pet Products in Alliance, Ohio, which manufactures the Evolution line.
The spring 2014 Coastal Pet grooming line will feature a combo brush with coated tips and a newly designed ergonomic handle, according to Dan Pirigyi, project analyst coordinator.
Convincing dog owners to provide at-home brushing and combing between visits to the groomer can help keep canine coats in good condition and boost sales of brushes and combs at grooming shops that also offer retail products.
Educating customers on the benefits of grooming at home will help encourage the practice, said Cheri Grabowski, marketing product manager for Andis Co. in Sturtevant, Wis.
"Grooming tips resonate well for dog owners and will help take the fear out of at-home grooming,” she said. "Look for ways to include this information on packaging and in-store literature. In addition, find ways to partner with manufacturers for development of selling aids, such as shelf talkers and counter mats.”
Display can be an important tool in the sale of brushes and combs, according to Dan Pirigyi, project analyst coordinator at Coastal Pet Products in Alliance, Ohio.
"Merchandising displays promote the sale and use of grooming tools by consumers in between visits to the groomer, which keeps coats healthy and well-groomed at all times,” he said.
Sales tools provided by manufacturers can help sell brushes and combs to dog owners, Pirigyi added.
"Quick response codes on each of our product packages link to demonstration videos and detailed product information,” he said. "These videos are also available for in-salon use.”
Merchandising tools in a way that emphasizes their effectiveness when used as a set can help sell the products.
"Tools should ideally be sold as sets, because they are more effective as a team than if used by themselves,” said Christina Pawlosky, national training manager and certified master groomer of Oster Professional Products, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions in Boca Raton, Fla. "For any tools that do not come in prepackaged combinations, retailers should consider offering recommended pairings—perhaps including a discount for the set.”
Pawlosky also recommended creating sets for specific breed types and making it as easy as possible for customers to determine which set meets their needs. —AP
The combo brush-comb is designed for frequent use without unnecessary hand strain, Pirigyi said, adding that the new ergonomic handles also are featured on other Evolution tools, current and new, including combs and rakes.
"Comfort grip handles are easy to hold for hours,” he said. "The rotating teeth speed up the process and make the grooming experience more pleasant for all.”
Aquila Brown, owner of Yuppy Puppy grooming salon in Spokane, Wash., appreciates the Master Grooming Tools equipment offered by PetEdge.
"They’re great for removing loose and dead coat, and they decrease drying time,” she said. "Their combs, brushes and scissors are all first rate.”
According to Daryl Conner, manager of Yankee Clipper Pet Grooming in Rockport, Maine, the grooming industry is moving away from the typical symmetrical cuts of the past and toward more modern looks.
"We are a creative dog grooming salon and offer unique coloring and scissoring techniques,” she said. "Our desire to use the best tools allows us to be on the cusp of new techniques.”
Conner prefers the Honeycomb, made by Aaronco, which comes in a number of different sizes.
"They are well-made and last such a long time,” she said. "We prefer Aaronco combs and brushes because of the high quality and durability. In the retail part of our business, we offer less-expensive hand tools that are reasonable quality for home use.”
Conner also mentioned that the FURminator, All Systems products and a variety of guide combs are available for sale to her clients.
"We try to offer economical alternatives for nail trimmers and brushes. We even provide free brushing techniques and lessons for our regular clients,” she said.
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