The Houston World Series of Dog Shows: My 3 Takeaways

I had a such a great time at The Houston World Series of Dog Shows this weekend! I got to meet and hang out with so many hard working, talented dog groomers here in Texas! Some of them drove over 3 hours in order to attend this show, and they said that the trip was well worth it – and I agree!! The venue was enormous!! Now I know why they say everything is bigger in Texas!

The highlight of my trip, and the reason for coming out to attend this show, was learning so much from the groomers that I had the chance to meet. As I met with groomers in all different stages in their career, it seems to me that many of us are asking very similar questions. I’d like give my thoughts on the most commonly asked questions, and the great ideas that came up during the conversations I had with the groomers at the show.

  1. Groomers are now more connected than ever:
    • One thing that I noticed is that it feels like there’s a strong feeling of community among groomers here in Texas. There are several supportive Facebook groups that are just for groomers in all different areas of Southeast Texas. Several groomers that I spoke with showed me some of the groups they were in where they share helpful information and ideas to try to help each other grow their businesses. Groomers in Georgia also have several different Facebook groups for local groomers, and that seems to be the current trend all over the world. Now that we have more tools available to us, groomers are feeling more connected than ever before. There’s a sense of community from the local level all the way up to the international scale. Groomers feel supported by one another. No one understands a groomer quite like another groomer.We all share a deep love for dogs, and we love doing work that we really care about. It’s the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. The highs are so high, and the lows are so low because we care so much about the work we do.
  2. A common concern that came up is the question of pricing. Some were concerned that others in their area were charging much less than they are. Others were concerned that they weren’t charging as much as the other groomers in their area. I’d like to share my thoughts on the issue of pricing. There are a variety of ways to ask the question, but I’d like to sum it up into one general question: “Am I charging enough?”
    • I believe that the better question to ask is, “Am I charging enough for me?”Am I earning enough to sustain my business so that it is still operating in a month, a year, and 5 years from now? If the answer is “no”, than you must make the neccesary adjustments to your prices in order to change that answer to a “Yes.” Don’t feel bad if the answer is “no.” “No” is much better than “I don’t know.” “No” means you’re clear – you’re self-aware, and now you know what you must get to work on in order to make your business profitable. “I don’t know” means you have to get clear on your numbers. How much do you need to earn each day in order to cover your expenses every month? That’s the only number you should be concerned about. Not anyone else’s. We all have different tests in our businesses and in our personal lives. No one has the same tests, so there’s no need to look at anyone else’s answers. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
    • It really doesn’t matter what another groomer or the shop down the street is charging. Their prices have nothing to do with what you need to charge in order to sustain a profitable and successful business. Everyone has different needs, and different lifestyles. We all have different goals and expenses. To try to compete with another based solely on who has the lower price is a “race to the bottom” as Seth Godin likes to say. When you try to win based on the “Sort by Price” approach, the work becomes unfulfilling because it becomes a numbers game instead of doing quality work that you’re proud to do. It’s a race to the bottom instead of a race to the top, and winning may be the worst thing that can happen when you’re in a race to the bottom.
    • “There’s always the opportunity to cut a corner, sacrifice lifestyle quality and suck it up as we race to grab a little more market share. But the problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win. You might make a few more bucks for now, but not for long and not with pride. Someone will always find a way to be cheaper or more brutal than you. The race to the top makes more sense to me. The race to the top is focused on design and respect and dignity and guts and innovation and sustainability and yes, generosity when it might be easier to be selfish. It’s also risky, filled with difficult technical and emotional hurdles, and requires patience and effort and insight. The race to the top is the long-term path with the desirable outcome.” Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog:
  3. Another common question that I was asked was, “What scissors/clippers do you use?”
    • In, my opinion, it doesn’t matter what brand or type of scissors I use. Seth Godin, best-selling author & blogger, tells the story about Stephen King’s pencil. The point of the story is that it doesn’t matter what kind of pencil Stephen King writes with. It’s not the pencil that he writes with that makes his writing so great for the people who like his work. For the people who don’t enjoy reading his books, I am convinced that changing the tool that he writes with will not change any of their minds. It’s not the tools that make the artist great. It’s the willingness and ability to master their craft.
    • I believe that working on your scissor control is much more important than the brand of scissors you choose to use. It’s about practicing your scissor techniques for at least 10,000 hours. It’s called the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book Outliers. “Malcom Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. He also notes that he himself took exactly 10 years to meet the 10,000-Hour Rule, during his brief tenure at The American Spectator and his more recent job at The Washington Post.”
    • There is no substitute for experience! The only way to develop confidence in our skills is through dedicated, focused hours of practice. It’s about putting in the time and effort required to gain the skills and the ability to execute an excellent haircut. That’s the only way to gain the mastery and skills required to be able to confidently deliver a quality haircut no matter what type of scissors you have available to you. As long as the shears are sharp and well maintained, I know I can deliver a quality haircut with them. I believe that the mechanics of scissoring, the ability to control the shears, and your scissoring techniques is all you need to focus on developing. Don’t worry about what kind of shears you’re using, or what brand other groomers are using. Focus on developing a keen eye for symmetry and balance, and your ability to control your shears. It takes time, and I believe there are no shortcuts to success. Only by putting in the time and effort can you produce the kind of haircuts that are remarkable!

I’d like to thank all of you who support my blog, my videos and follow me on my journey through life on my social media channels!! Thank you so much for your time and attention, and all of the encouragement and love you send my way! I am deeply aware that all of my success comes from the generosity and the support of the people who care enough to share my work with others. I feel so grateful and fortunate to be able to enjoy the opportunities that come from having such a dedicated and loyal audience like you. So once again, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you!

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