other benefits as well, like coat whitening,
of tool or product that you think needs updating?
Illg: I’d really like to see some other methods or equipment that might be more effective and less painful for the pet when it
comes to ear cleaning. Ear cleaning is an
extremely important part of every groom.
Not only making sure that the ears are
clean from any debris, but removing the
excess hair from the ear canal is vital as
well. There are ear powders on the market
that are supposed to help numb the canal,
making it easier to grip. But as far as I’ve
seen, the only useful tools are hemostats to
remove the hair.
Illg: Pet grooming styles and trends are constantly evolving. Social media has allowed
for easier communication and sharing,
leading to new and fun ideas being implemented daily. It is important for groomers
to stay up-to-date with the latest styles and
trends. We want to always provide the
best experience possible for our customers and their furry friends.
I’ve noticed that more and more folks
are concerned with leaving their pets in
the hands of strangers, and rightfully so.
Constant reports, videos and photos of
mistreatment in pet salons can worry anyone. Consumers are constantly looking for
a reliable, trustworthy company who will
take care of their pets. That’s why it’s so
important to stay open and honest about
everything that happens in a salon. Get to
know your customers, stay in touch via
social media and highlight how fun the
grooming process can be.
PPN: How are groomers best educated in the
Illg: The best way to get educated in this
field is through good ol’ motivation. There
are countless ways of getting into dog
grooming, but it all comes down to your
motivation to learn. I find that grooming
schools are very useful, especially if you
are more hesitant to learn. Grooming
schools offer students a set schedule and
routine to help with all the information
that comes with dog grooming.
in order to succeed in your field?
Illg: While it’s not necessarily a quality, first
and foremost, a new groomer needs experience. In this field, we aim to provide our
customers with what they want. In doing
so, we may come across a hairstyle we’ve
never done before. Social media allows
people to share ideas quickly, and different styles can become popular overnight.
Adaptability is key; the longer you’re in
this industry, the more skills you’ll pick
up along the way.
Patience and understanding are also
key qualities. Pets are a lot like kids; in
fact, many folks refer to their furry friends
as their children! The more frustrated you
are, the more frustrated your pets will become. Even if a pup has been to a groomer
before and has done fine in the past, the
smallest thing can stress him or her out
during their next visit. Learning how to
properly handle a dog in this situation can
make or break your success in this field.
And, of course, the most important
quality needed is an endless love for pets!
over the years you’ve been in the industry? What are
the biggest changes you’ve noticed?
Illg: Plenty has changed since I first started
my career in pet grooming. Millennials are
now the largest group of pet owners in
the United States. These young folks treat
their pets like children—nothing wrong
with that!—and it’s led to a big shift in
how products are marketed and sold to
I’ve seen more customers engaging
with us online, from sharing ideas on Ins-tagram and Facebook to requesting information on certain pet grooming topics via
blog posts or videos. I find new inspiration
daily—from the latest in pet hair dyes and
nail color to fun summer cuts and accessories for our four-legged friends to enjoy.
I’m excited to see how the grooming industry continues to evolve over the years.
PPN: How doyouseethegroomingindustryevolv-
ing in the future to meet consumers’ needs and
Illg: I believe as technology continues to
evolve, the grooming industry will follow
suit. Mindfulness and credibility is key
in this day and age. As more consumers
opt for pets over parenthood, the trend of
treating pets like family will continue to
rise. More consumers will want to keep
tabs on their pets at all times; whether that
means implementing live feeds and video,
creating engaging apps or something else,
groomers will have to be more communi-
cative than ever before.
Again, I believe the rise in social media is going to have a continued impact on
the future of the grooming industry. Consumers are going to continue to come into
our shops requesting certain cuts or asking that we use certain organic products
for their pets. It can be a tricky line; you
are the groomer after all and, while you
want to cater to your customers’ needs,
certain things aren’t always possible in a
pinch. More folks are also leaning toward
holistic care for their pets, and that’s something groomers need to consider as well.
Pet owners are going to ask what products
you’re using, what techniques you use and
so on. This industry is booming, and I believe it will continue to grow, so be vigilant, read up on the latest pet trends and
try to always stay two paws ahead!
Liz Illg is the owner of Puff & Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting, which has four locations
in the Phoenix area. She received her bachelor’s
in business from Arizona State University and
her master’s in education from Northern Arizona University. Her education and passion
for animals turned her college pet-sitting days
into full-time business ownership. Illg has
hosted events and raffles to benefit local pet rescues by partnering with other pet businesses in
the community. She has also been featured on
several local media outlets to share her love and
knowledge about caring for pets.