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Spa Stuff...

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  • Spa Stuff...

    Hi Y'all,

    I'm finally taking the plunge (and advice from friends and family) and have decided to start a dog spa in my home. I'm using a spare bedroom for now, with plans to eventually build a room in the garage. I will only be grooming dogs with a size limit of 20 -25 lbs (physical reasons).

    I want to set my self apart from the other groomers in the area, which are mainly vet's office groomers. There is only one other grooming establishment, and it has a waiting list just to become a client. I'm hoping to tap into her overflow. Unfortunately she never returned my calls to meet with her. The groomers at the vet's offices around here pretty much do assembly line grooming (no disrespect intended for those who work at the vets). I will be offering one on one, premium shampoos and products, warmed towels, hand drying, hand scissored finishing, aromatherapy, homemade treats (when permitted).

    I already have insurance and permit lined up.

    Where y'all come in...
    I need a classy sounding name with out sounding cutesy (I have been struggling with this part for months!)
    What types of products (shampoos, etc) do you all recommend for the spa experience
    Anything I've left out?

    Thanks for your time!
    My life is lived in the company of dogs

  • #2
    I am so excited for you!
    To me, the most important factor in creating a spa atmosphere for your clients first and foremost is the "presence" they feel when they first come in- both the presence of your space, and of your demeanor when caring for their pets. It is what their senses perceive when they are there- sights, sounds, smells, energy given off, and therefor how these things affect their feelings.
    You should look at the openness and layout of the salon area, the lighting, the airiness or quality of the air and its movement thru the space, the colors that you'll use and how you'll integrate your fixtures and equipment so that they do not detract from the serenity and calmness of the space. And most of all, how you will feel thru the days as you work in your space, with your equipment (choose tools that supportively help your body do the work you love to do).
    For products, it is important to look at products that fall in line with how you want to feel while you work (consider ingredients, scents, cost effectiveness and purpose of implementation- you always want a REASON for the services you provide), and how you want your clients to feel while they are there- both human and canine/feline. After addressing the salon or spa area design, then look at great quality products that not only are made from good sources, but are also good for the environment and are oriented towards providing for a smaller eco-footprint by using them I believe that using good products not only is better for the environment, but also for our sense of professionalism, pride in our business, and adds to our accomplishment of changing the overall experience that your clients receive when compared to more average salons. Of course, we can go to great lengths to have a beautiful salon, but the quality of care, handling and the styles that walk out the door will ultimately be the proof that we are dedicated on many levels to provide the best for our clients. And above all,,you can certainly only ever achieve a "spa quality experience" for your clients, irregardless of how you design your salon, with how you implement your care and passion into your work each day.
    Good luck to you, and I hope you accomplish this awesome step in your career! ~Exciting!!
    Some of the product lines that I like, and I think you'll like, too:
    ShowSeason's Naturals Line
    AromaPaws entire line
    Canine Society Megamazon lines
    Canine Spa Therapies
    Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt


    • #3
      Windy, I agree with your first statement about "presence" and I would like to add that in a "spa", I would expect the stylist to be more knowledgeable than your run of the mill chop shop.

      I will good things for you (and Keegan!).
      "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
      People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me


      • #4
        Well said Chris

        I would like to add, you can have the atmosphere, ambiance, products, etc, but you HAVE to have a knowledge of the products and how they are used, as well as, when you would use them. Personally, I don't think having a shampoo or facial scrub makes it a "spa", you have to offer specialty services and have the know-how in how and when to offer them.

        Congrats on your new venture!!


        • #5
          I guess I should clarify "spa" for the area I live in.
          Using a blueberry facial would be considered a "spa", using warmed towels and aromatherpy will also be considered "spa". One on one with their baby is defintely a luxury.
          What people here are used to is dropping their animals off at the vets at 7 am, picking up about 5 pm. Their pet sits in a cage with a cage dryer in a kennel full of barking dogs. They get the basic shampoo and nail trim, and most are smooth little round faces, no styling sprays, no smoothed out hand drying and blending.
          For me to pamper these dogs and do these other things I will be considered upscale, really.
          I recently worked for the areas best vet clinic (training to be a vet assistant, but was really a high falootin cleaning lady). Many times I was embarrassed to take a groomed dog out to it's owner. I may not be trained like you all are, but I still put out a better looking dog than the places around me.

          Gee....I was really hoping for encouragement here....

          My life is lived in the company of dogs


          • #6
            I'm sorry for coming across as if I was not encouraging!! It's GREAT that you want to stand out and offer specialty services

            Perhaps I misunderstood your original post, as I thought you were asking for advise on "spa stuff" and I thought I'd throw my 2 cents out there.

            Again, I wish you much success and I'm sure people will be very pleased with their (and their dogs) experience in your low stress, personalized SPA

            PS: what about PAWZ Salon or Le Pawz


            • #7
              I read nothing BUT encouragement! As well as what everyone thought you were asking what they thought of as a spa, It realy is a matter of perspective, what they meant and what a spa is. Go gat a mikes unjangle your nerves and you will do fine, Lots of luck.
              ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~


              • #8
                I think all the posts so far have been encouraging to you, they are suggesting that you research and fully understand any products and services that you intend to offer not that you aren't a knowledgeable groomer already. There are some really great Aromatherapy products for pets on the market (as stated above), and I remember Gracy Rose talking about Aromatherapy baths in her seminars, you might want to contact her about those they sounded great! You could also do pad/elbow balm treatments, mud wraps, sugar scrubs, etc. there are a ton of spa add-on threads with ideas. The list you did above with everything that sets you apart from the other groomers in your area looks great and you can definitely add the "spa environment" as a bonus (soothing music, quiet shop since you only take 1 (or a few) pets at a time, cozy home environment, etc.)

                It sounds like you have some really great ideas so far, good luck!


                • #9
                  I was encouraging you and also admiring your cute little boy. I hope you make a ton of money so you can buy him lots of stuff.
                  "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                  People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me


                  • #10
                    I'm sorry for being so sensitive....I'm dealing with some family issues that have me wearing my heart on my sleeve lately. Focusing on grooming is keeping me sane right now, lol.

                    Thanks for the ideas....keep em coming

                    My life is lived in the company of dogs


                    • #11
                      If I was going to rename my shop, I would call it "The Classy Groomer". I think YOU will be ok. You do good work and have tried hard to improve. I am "A Cut Above" however and that works as well!
                      <a href="" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


                      • #12
                        Paws a Moment: Canine Salon and Spa

                        Special Pet Spa: For the Pampered Pet


                        • #13
                          There is a "spa" around here that has recently gone under. I tell you what probably did them under. They charged a spa price without really offering a superior service. I work at a vet clinic but we use Isle of Dogs for curly dogs (and when I feel like it). They other shampoos and conditioners are high quality. We hand dry everything and we really take care of the dogs. I think the other place simply could not compete, especially when our dogs looks better and are happier. I can't tell you how many clients that switched from them to us commented how "stressed" out it felt the moment they walked in the door.

                          I am NOT a spa but my advise would be to really focus on the environment first and foremost. The environment should feel relaxing and safe. That is what the client will first "feel". And then just provide well groomed dogs and happy dogs.

                          Good luck!
                          "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Smart-n-Pretty View Post
                            I was encouraging you and also admiring your cute little boy. I hope you make a ton of money so you can buy him lots of stuff.
                            I need alot of money just for his meds! He has a collapsing trachea, and we nearly lost him a couple weeks ago. It was horrible! My toy poodle has cushings and my collie mix has bladder cancer. Wonder if I could get a government bailout?
                            My life is lived in the company of dogs


                            • #15
                              Heeeeey Debi! Long time, no see, starting to wonder where you went!

                              Anyway, there's so much you can do with this. How exciting! Everyone has some great ideas so far. I don't think you'll have problems standing out from other shops. I've seen your work and it's very good. There's one angle for you there - offer to do novelty/unique clips. Example: bolero trim on a Cocker, or lion cuts for Poms. Get some colors and see what you can do with them.

                              Do you plan on having a bathing system? They really do get the dogs cleaner. You can advertise them as doggy bubblebaths (or something similar) and emphasize the higher-end products you use. Maybe have a sample for clients to sniff? Or how about a "cologne bar" for when the dog is done? Show Seasons has some tiny little bottles of cologne, and I've recently fallen in love with some of the scents - I bought several at Intergroom, and kept one for myself and Xavier

                              If you have a lobby area, make it inviting. Use smells, decorations, make posters, make it your own. Put that round little Yorkie face where everyone can see him!

                              If you need some more ideas, check out this video:
                              I went to this seminar last year. Some really good ideas about how to stand out, as well as a few good laughs. Hope it helps. Tell us about your progress! Can't wait to hear it!