PRIDE+GROOM is extremely proud to announce its groomer interview series. We are grateful for our growing professional pet grooming community. Dog grooming is not easy. Dog grooming has harsh conditions, long hours on their feet and demanding schedules. Groomers have supported our company from day one; testing products, giving feedback and making great suggestions for product development. We want to share some of the best Groomers' experiences, advice about the grooming process, share their skills, grooming tools, customers' stories and much more.
Each month, we feature a new groomer interview and share their insights about the grooming process. Today, we had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Levine, Professional Groomer for over a decade and now at the Oakland location of Wag Hotels !
PG: How did you get your start in the grooming industry? How long have you been grooming professionally?
I knew I wanted to work with animals, but I also wanted something with creativity so I started looking into grooming. I lived in Connecticut at the time and was pleasantly surprised when I found there was a grooming school somewhat near to me. I started attending CT-K9 in Newington Connecticut shortly after.
PG: Do you have a favorite dog or cats breed that you’ve worked on, or a signature dog haircut, grooming process that you’ve developed or perfected?
The shih tzu is super goofy and cute, so I'm very partial to them simply based on their temperament. Poodle mixes are fun to me because you never really know what their hair texture is going to be until after you bathe and dry them. They are like little surprises. I think within the past year specifically, I have really been focusing on trying to incorporate salon style grooming into my day to day clientele.
PG: What do you look for in your grooming supplies? What are some of the lessons you have learned when sourcing grooming tools?
I look for comfort and durability. I'm not always the kindest to my tools so when I do find one that lasts through my day to day, I'm happy. I have learned the hard way to not impetuously purchase cheap shears. They are useful in the immediate, but I have learned that each tool is an investment, and needs to be treated as such.
PG: Do you have any favorite grooming tools and pets' product brands?
Wahl is my favorite when it comes to clippers. I have a bravura and KM cordless that I could not live without at this point. Also, I'm so grateful to be grooming at a time where wide blades are a thing?! I bought a set of the Zolitta wide blades and it's like unlocking a hidden level in your favorite video game. For shears, I adore Harebone Harrison for their chunkers and thinners. Chris Christensen's curved shear is something I have as well and will probably be buried in... And finally, Zolitta's Colibri shear is as light as a feather, making it so comfortable and easy to perfect a cute, round muzzle or foot. For bath time though, Pride+Groom products have changed the game for me. Every dog's coat that I've used your products on has come out looking so rejuvenated and healthy. Not only does it feel good to use a product that smells and performs well, but to know it's actually helping the coat makes it all the better to me. Artero, Heininger, iGroom, and of course Pride +Groom!
PG: Do you participate in competitive dog grooming?
So this year will be my first time competing! I signed up for the entry level of Mixed Salon/Freestyle at SuperZoo in Las Vegas!!
PG: If so, what are some of the challenges you face in competitive dog grooming that aren’t necessarily present when grooming pets for clients?
I will let you know once I compete! Haha.
PG: Can you please share one of your favorite photos of a dog or cat from your time as a professional groomer?
Or a professional grooming picture with a little story behind it?
Ok, so the room is a mess, I am tired and disheveled looking because it's the end of the day, but I love this picture. Where I work there is a giant window where people can look in and see what the department is up to. I actually really love that because it's allowed clients to see how their fur babies are with us. This owner came a little early and caught me finishing her dog and was genuinely glad to see her baby relaxed and allowing me to scissor his face. Instances such as this reinforce my love for the industry. Making people and their dogs as comfortable and happy as I possibly can.
PG: What do you find most satisfying about being a professional groomer?
Building connections with the dogs and pet parents. To me, people are entrusting you with a family member.
PG: What advice would you give to new groomers just getting started in the groomer industry?
Educate yourself under a mentor or go to a grooming school. There are so many nuances to the profession I feel someone new should be as prepared as possible. Also, relax! I'm happy there are so many prolific groomers practicing positive energy when grooming because it genuinely makes a world of a difference. Dogs can read us like a book. Make it a happy one!
I think being a great dog groomer and a successful one are similar to me! Success is possible as long as you genuinely love what you do and want to provide the best service possible for the pet as well as the client.
PG: What are the latest trends in pet grooming that newcomers to the industry should be aware of?
Wide blades. As I've mentioned above, it seems like such a subtle improvement, but man is it worth it. They cut beautifully and efficiently.
PG: As a professional groomer, what are some key tips for pet parents about good skin and coat care for their pets at home and how to make a professional groom last.
I'd recommend a high quality shampoo and conditioner for at home bathing and educate the pet parent on how to properly dry and brush the coat after the bath. I think what people at home tend to do (I used to as well) is wash their dog and let the coat air dry without brushing or combing it out. Leave-in conditioners are also very useful in maintaining a healthy coat. Also, I think making brushing at home a positive experience for the dog is important too. Give them treats and praise for allowing you to brush them. The happier the dog is during the process, the easier it will be to preserve the coat.
WHO IS PRIDE+GROOM?
The very first clean beauty brand…for dogs!
PRIDE+GROOM is a female and minority owned all-natural pet grooming company born and bred in New York City. We designed our coat-specific dog shampoos with a light, fresh signature scent that says goodbye to the overwhelming fragrances currently in the dog grooming market. Our packaging and branding humanizes our pet products making them attractive and user friendly.
We offer wholesale pricing for professional use or resale, discover our producthere
Our company is rooted in our love for dogs and cats, and we’ve put all our energy into creating products that let us care for them, their coats and their skin in a way that is natural, nurturing, and specific. Our formulas are a unique blend of essential oils sourced from around the world. Each ingredient has a purpose. Like Marshmallow Root Oil, in our Non-Shedder, helps detangle and nourish those dogs, like doodles, with hair that grows and is prone to matting.
PRIDE+GROOM is deeply committed to giving back to the community. We developed our ONE FUR ALL conditioning shampoo that we have donated to over 1000 shelters around the country. This amounts to over 50,000 needy rescue dogs getting the PRIDE+GROOM treatment before heading to their forever homes for adoption.