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Reflection and Certification

Posted: January 7, 2014, 2:35 p.m. EDT

By Jorge Bendersky

As we begin a new year, looking back at the events of the previous year seems almost inevitable as we are bombarded at every turn by countless "best of" or "worst of" lists of just about everything.

As I came across all these lists on what seemed like every TV channel, it got me thinking: Why not revisit some of the most notable events or stories of the grooming industry during the past year and highlight some of my own personal opinions and experiences as an industry professional?

One reality is that the grooming industry has caught the attention of lots of media outlets, as we now can see groomers all over the news on an almost regular basis. There definitely has been a big change in the last six years since I graduated from being a local good groomer to much bigger status with local, national and international media presence.

Lady Luck was definitely on my side back then because the added visibility, and the public relations skills that come with it, opened doors to many other opportunities.

GroomingCopyright:Shutterstock/Rob Wilson

I am humbled by the fact that, after conducting seminars at trade shows around the country and demonstrating to other groomers and pet professionals how to increase their exposure by learning public relations basics, I still receive letters from past attendees relaying appreciation for what they learned.

Attendees learned how much they can benefit from something as simple as properly showcasing to people the good deeds that many pet professionals do during the course of their daily work. In my experience, most pet professionals have a real love of animals and often do many wonderful things to better animals' lives, such as volunteer at shelters.

This knowledge of how to expand their businesses by exposing the good deeds they already do gave them not just free publicity but also a platform from which to encourage others to share their own personal good deeds.

As a result of all this sharing, more animals get adopted, the people who work hard to give homeless pets a second chance get recognized, and their businesses grow by attracting more clients.

In the end, everybody wins.

The Topic of Certification
I believe I can address the issue of groomer certification from a unique perspective because, without dating myself, I have worked in the industry from the time when a groomer could thrive without being certified as a master groomer. Now, the industry has grown so much and become so visible that certification is almost mandatory.

The grooming industry, a subset of the larger, ever-growing pet industry, has witnessed huge growth and dramatic changes.

With the worldwide media attention of pet spa services, such as color enhancements, glitter tattoos, feather extensions and beauty treatments, the grooming industry has turned into the pet beauty industry, with groomers and grooming salons being held to the same standards as their human counterparts and businesses.

Holding the proper credentials not only helps groomers build clientele and bigger platforms for career expansion opportunities, but also gives grooming salons a seal of approval to guarantee the quality standards of their staff.

One downside to the growing grooming industry is that sometimes entrepreneurs with little or no experience in the pet industry focus on the money first and the wellness and comfort of the animals second. Encouraging businesses to hire certified pet professionals is the best way to protect the reputation of those businesses and, more importantly, uphold the safety and well-being of the pets. Happy, well-groomed dogs and satisfied, grateful owners exiting a salon make for the best advertisement a business can have.

There are several ways one can obtain a Professional Groomers Certification. I earned my Master Groomer Certification with International Professional Groomers Inc. (IPG). I decided it was the organization that best fit my personal expectations, as it covers the spectrum from training those just starting in the business and seeking certification as a skilled bather, all the way to those who wish to achieve the highest level of professional certification.

Learn more about IPG by visiting its website at or emailing me directly at



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