In Style

Melinda Owsley  |  Professional Pet Stylist

Trends change they always do but the one thing that always appeals to the eye is balance. We are wired to recognize it. You will see it. Every home, regardless of decor. Pictures, wall hangings, curtains, etc… There is a balance to style and if there is no balance…wow it sure stands out.
I came from the corporate world where we did cookie cutter cuts. Thankfully I had the opportunity to attend the wonderful Paragon School of Dog Grooming, and I always strived for more.
What I see at many shops is the bladed all trim. #7 thru #3 3/4 all over with a round head. While this is simple, neat, and clean it leaves no room for creative flair, flaw correction, and in many cases leaves Poochie looking like a bobble head.
What about time? People don’t want to pay more and time is money after all??? How do we maintain a timely service while individualizing each pet?
I built my local popularity by doing simple trims that create balance. I use snap on combs. I generally clipper the body and jump two steps longer for legs and head. This naturally creates balance. Combined with correct product selection, I always recommend a premium line, and proper bathing and drying technique, I can do a style trim as fast as I can shave a dog down.
Espree even has products that can add volume to a floppy head, allowing for efficient shaping.
When you take these steps as a stylist you will create a following. You will set yourself apart as a groomer and will have your customers regularly commenting how their pet has never looked so good.
Find your style, find your balance, make your mark!!!

All Mixed Up!


Article written by: Melinda Owsley

In the words of the great Bob Dylan…the times, they are a’ changing.  17 years ago, when I completed grooming school, we focused our main attention in breed standards. I remember the Complete Dog Book from the  AKC as one of our primary text books.  We focused of pure breeds because that’s what we mostly worked with.  Pure bred dogs got groomed, mixed breeds ran around back roads in the country.  Today, probably 75% of my clientele fall in the “designer breed” category, and are most certainly “groom dogs”.  I go days sometimes without seeing a purebred dog.
This bothered me greatly, when the phenomena began.  I didn’t want to see us lose the value of our purebred dogs, but mostly, I didn’t like seeing my clients lied to and exploited, by the ever famous, pocket padding, breeder of the non-shedding, non-matting, doodle.  It hurt my heart to see breeders that work so hard to preserve and protect their breeds, get passed over, in search of an even more expensive mutt.  I’ve come now to just accept it.
I see so much ugliness on the professional grooming groups, in response to mixed breeds.  So much disrespect to the owner, of said mixed breed… So much personal offense and indignation. Jokes and cutting comments when legitimate questions are asked. “What is the best length for a doodle?” “A #7f all over!!!” Tons of laughter… It’s getting old, groomers.  While I agree that we are responsible for educating our clients, we should do so gently, and by leading with example.  I don’t consume animal byproducts anymore… How obnoxious would I appear if I were a waitress,  taking an order like, O…M…G… you want steak??? I hope you like diabetes, then proceed to make their order look and taste horrible, just because I could? This may seem ridiculous, but is our general attitude really that different?
I don’t support or recommend any dog be bred, sold, or bought, unless it is by a dedicated breeder that health tests and guarantees puppies.  I personally own two wonderfully bred Standard Poodles and a Cocker Spaniel.  My clients see this, my clients get my advice if they ask for it.  I lead by example.  I personally feel if you aren’t willing to invest in a dedicated breeder you should adopt.  Indiscriminate breeding didn’t start with Doodles.  Allergy ridden, bad bite, bad eyes, ill tempered, fiddle fronted, Shih Tzus made up LITERALLY 75% of my clientele for a decade. When it wasn’t them it was a warty, puss eared, pooping Cocker on my table…all of them were “purebred” but no closer to breed standard than I was… Society is never going to make sense, they are always going to go from one goofy trend to the next. Personally, I prefer Doodles and Mixiewhatsits to the Shih Tzu and Cocker of yesteryear.
I give my mixed breed clients the same care, consideration, time, and quality work as I give my pedigreed crew… I use the same product, strive for balance, and work to find each pet’s perfect trim.  Why? Because I like money, I like referrals, and I love tips.  I am a stylist, and I approach my clients in a non-judgmental way.  I have specific products I use on apricot Poodles, due to the texture of the coat.  I love Espree’s  Keratin Oil Shampoo, and Aloe Hydrating Spray as a light conditioner, then follow up with Boost spray to help lift the floppy coat…. My Doodles get the same thing…. I want them balanced and beautiful… Not shaved down because I’m too good to groom a mutt.
It saddens, me just like it does my industry peers, that we are loosing the public’s interest in the wonderful sport of purebred dogs.  However, at least in my region, I have seen a drastic increase in the quality of care and value placed on the canine family member.  This is my main concern before anything else.  My clients hire me, because I come highly recommended, and I give them the best I have, regardless of papers… Because that’s what I do;) Happy Grooming Everyone!!!