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An Interview with Two Top Pet Groomers in Nigeria

Posted on 6 m read 113 views
If I didn’t have any respect for dog groomers before, I do now. In 2015, I was privileged to groom a couple of dogs. One in particular tested the limit of my patience. I talk about my experience here. So, I became rather curious when I came across the Instagram handles of these two dog groomers. Their pages are filled with amazing before and after looks of unkempt to groomed dogs. Pawfect Pet Grooming and DoggyLounge are fantastic at what they do. They are Nigerian groomers based in Abuja and Lagos respectively. Enjoy my chat with them.

How did you get into grooming and when?

PAWFECT: I grew up with animals around, we had dogs, cats, birds and more to play with. When I became a young adult, it was natural to get a dog. As my puppy got older, I took it to the best known grooming place, which is majorly a vet clinic and inquired about the grooming procedure. Even though I had no grooming experience, the answers were not satisfying. So I left without actually having my dog groomed. That was the first time I realised, that, there was a gap in the pet grooming industry, it was about 3 years ago. But I didn’t think much of it until 2 years down the line, in 2017 when I started grooming for friends, and rendering the service professionally.

DOGGY: This may sound a little cliche but grooming found me. I had my first Lhasa Apso, Kim, 9 years ago. She has really nice beautiful coat which came with a lot of grooming needs. I did not know anyone who could help so I did my research got some tools and the rest as they say, is history.

 

Your favourite dog breed?

PAWFECT: I consider myself an all-breed dog lover but sometimes I see myself tilting towards the toy breeds, they look so adorable especially, after a stylish trim.

DOGGY: I really do not have any favourite dog breed because I believe every breed is unique however there are 3 breeds I would consider my top breeds. In no particular order, they are:

  • Lhasa Apso: they are excellent guard dogs originally bred to be guardians in Buddhist monastery plus they are small and cute (chick magnet).
  • Rottweiler: mostly for sentimental reasons, I’ve always had at least one growing up. I believe the are super intelligent, and tough.
  • Miniature Bull Terrier: I’ve always wanted a black one.

 

How difficult/easy was it for you to set up a grooming centre in a country like Nigeria?

PAWFECT: It was really tough, and tough on different levels. First level is the mental anxiety that comes with setting up an unprecedented type of business. You are not really sure if people will key into your idea, and if they do, when exactly will that be? Before I commenced, I did a bit of market survey and research, the numbers were not looking good. Despite the gruesome forecast, I decided to plunge right in, trusting my instincts. So believing in yourself and in your idea when the environment says your idea would not survive, was the first battle I had to conquer.

The second level was sourcing for tools, equipment and products. We don’t have much to select from, so I had to order everything I needed, starting from grooming table, the clippers, shears and ending with pet care products, (shampoos, conditioners etc). Continuously searching pet stores for good products or waiting for new stock arrival that will give me the best result, is the second hurdle to overcome.

So, if one could overcome these two hurdles, the rest is relatively easy.

DOGGY: I can’t say it’s been easy or difficult, I just believe that with every new business you have to put in work first.

Groomed dog by Pawfect Pet Grooming

Groomed dog by Pawfect Pet Grooming

 

Has it been profitable?

PAWFECT: Every business is profitable, depending on the strategy, pet grooming inclusive. With the growth of the middle class and pet culture awareness via the internet, it has the capacity to generate unimaginable revenue. So yes, it has been generating revenue, and I expect to break even in another year.

DOGGY: It has.

 

Most rewarding part of your job?

PAWFECT: The gradual transformation of the pet from shabby to chic and client’s reaction when they see the transformation, it really gladdens my heart.

DOGGY: I get to meet new dogs and help people better care for their pets.

 

How do you deal with difficult patients (I mean the dogs)? Any dog bites?

PAWFECT: Dogs feel our energy, so it’s important to approach with confidence and patience at the same time. Once one is afraid it makes the job stressful both for dog and groomer. Personally, I talk to my patients (dogs) with a calm, even tone. Sometimes, I play classical music and 99% of the time they respond really well and cooperate. The first groom’s is usually the toughest, that’s why early introduction to grooming is highly recommended.

In respect of dog bites, yes, I got lightly bit once, but it was nothing serious. It’s important to know the basics of dog anatomy in order not to harm/hurt the dog while grooming and understand dog behavioural pattern. With these two tips, you are safe and dry, always.

DOGGY: Patience! Patience!! Patience !!! Once the handler is tensed the dog tends to be tensed as well. Lol, I have had a couple bites.

Groomed dog by DoggyLounge

Groomed dog by DoggyLounge

 

What ONE thing is required to start this business?

PAWFECT: Lol! Patience, Passion and Perseverance. ONE word; triple P.

DOGGY: Love for dogs.

 

What 3 tools can’t you do without?

PAWFECT: My Andis clipper, Thinners and Slicker brush.

DOGGY: Dematting comb, Grooming scissors, Grooming comb.

 

Did you acquire special training for this?

PAWFECT: Yes, I did, I am trained and certified. I aim to become a certified master groomer soon, (first in Nigeria) so I have an enormous amount of training to undergo.

DOGGYNo I didn’t. I read books, magazines, articles basically any and everything I could get my hands on.
Groomed dog by DoggyLounge

Groomed dog by DoggyLounge

Your take on the pet grooming culture in Nigeria?
PAWFECT: In the past couple of years no one thought about pet grooming as a trend in Nigeria but, with the rapid growth and trendy nature of the urban middle class, the awareness is increasing and would continually rise in the years to come.

DOGGY: It’s small but it’s growing.

 

Do you think this is a viable industry for Nigerians?

PAWFECT: Oh yes, absolutely.

DOGGY: I know it is.  More dog lovers and dog professionals have been emerging so there’s no doubt that this has stirred up some interests in the industry.

 

Your grooming mentors?

PAWFECT: Natasha Kuzmina and Jess Rona

DOGGY: Melissa Verplank

 

How long does a typical grooming session last?

PAWFECT: Depends on the condition of the coat(hair) and the client’s (dog) grooming experience. If the client is consistent, 2 hours or less could be sufficient. If the client is not consistent and is matted, it may take as long as 4 hours.

DOGGY: It really depends on a number of things like if the dog is matted and how much matts or if the dog is well behaved because a badly behaved dog would take longer. But typically 60 – 120 minutes.

Matted dog groomed by Pawfect Pet Grooming

 

What services do you offer?

PAWFECT: We offer:

  • Full groom transformational make over, which is: bathing with shampoo and conditioner
  • Leave in conditioner moisturizing or deep moisturizing herb mask, depending on the state of the coat e.g. dry or flaky skin
  • Salon standard blow dry
  • Cleaning of ear canal
  • Nail clip
  • Sanitary trim
  • Bespoke/breed haircut.

We also offer extra services as

  • Pet nail colouring
  • Pet hair colouring (my favourite) and
  • Many creative pet grooming add-ons as well as sales of pet clothing and pet jewellery.

DOGGY:  Our service includes:

  • bath with shampoo & blow dry.
  • Haircuts
  • Hand stripping
  • Special baths & skin therapies
  • Dematting and deshedding
  • 15-minute brushing.
  • Light face trim.
  • Nail trim.
  • Ear cleaning, hair removal & flushing (if needed)
  • Scissoring feet & pad shaving.
  • Sanitary trim.
  • Anal gland cleaning (on request)

 

MEET FLORA
Flora Okpala is the founder of Pawfect Pet Grooming, located at plot 826 Ado-ekiti Close, off Emeka Anioku Street, Garki II, Abuja. Her Instagram handle is: @pawfectpetgrooming

MEET PAUL

Ebiye Paul is a professional dog groomer from Lagos, Nigeria. He runs a dog grooming & lifestyle service for dogs in Lekki, Lagos (DoggyLounge). His Instagram handle is @doggylounge

So many take-home points from this interview. What was yours? It was a pleasure to interview Flora and Paul. I wish you both the very best in your endeavours. Thank you for the opportunity.

More pictures of their work below:

 

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