Debbie Chaffee is a long time member of Petgroomer Forums and is known by all there as Daesue. She is funny, kind and a genuinely NICE PERSON who has had a rough go of it in this industry. She has persevered and I am going to use her own words to tell her story.
Here is her "tiny salon" story.
My salon is just steps from my kitchen. It measures 20’ long and just 9’ wide.One day (and it was as silly as this) I got really tired of grooming my Siberian cats, so I decided to find a cat groomer. There were none in my area. So, I thought, well, why don’t I become the groomer?? I went on the hunt for just how to go about doing this.
I had several choices, a land school an hour away? On-line school? A salon?
As I was weighing all the pros and cons, I came out of this grocery store that I never go to and there in front of me was a dog grooming salon with a sign in the window “Dog Grooming School.” So I called. 12 hardest weeks of my life later, I had completed a basic course. I set about finding a job and I worked briefly at one salon and learned how to fluff dry, which I still consider to be an invaluable skill.
My next job I lasted 3 grooms. I was fired in the middle of a Schnauzer. It’s a long story, and it tested my mettle a bit. I had been honest about being fresh out of dog grooming school. The first dog they gave me was a poodle which I mushroomed the top knot, then they handed me a Schnauzer. I had never groomed a Schnauzer, but I had Notes From the Grooming Table and I could follow directions. Looking back, it wasn’t that I was new, it wasn’t even the Schnauzer groom, it was that I had questioned the owner on her under the table way of paying people. None of it made any sense and when I questioned her looking for clarity, she asked me if I was from the IRS. I just really wanted to be a dog groomer! And yes, I finished that Schnauzer! The whole story of me being fired was actually very funny. The owner didn’t even have the courage to do it, but sent another groomer to fire me.
All of my life incidents have taught me to be a pretty strong woman. And all this firing did was make me more determined to learn dog grooming. However, it did shake my Schnauzer skills lol.
My son suggested I take the small room in the guest house and open my own salon. He even suggested a name for me.. “Iffy but Spiffy Grooming.” After a good laugh, I looked at that little room, got a credit card, and bought enough stuff to open a small salon. I decided to start with what I knew and build from there. I live by a couple of mottos. One is “There is always room for another rose in the garden” and the other is.. “What one man can do, so can another.” Since I live in the county, zoning laws are different than the city, but I got clearance anyway and started handing out post cards. I started with 2 customers and have built a lovely business for myself that makes me happy. I continue to learn and educate myself, either through seminars or dvds.
I want to thank all the women whom I have met through on line forums and in person, who have watched some of my own videos of me grooming, kindly correcting me and showing me different ways to get the job done. To you who have shared your knowledge with me, thank you! You are all the best!
PS. A few years ago, I went back to grooming school. I went to the school that was an hour away and learned how to do a Schnauzer! (blogger's note: I have YET to see a photo of a schnauzer she has done but I believe her! )
I have been friends with Debbie (Daesue) for years online and we have chatted a lot, worked her through a lot (including sarcoptic mange diagnosis that the doctor couldn't figure out) and she is a good, true friend. I find her an inspiration and a wonderful human being.
AND just for giggles, here is a video she sent me of her bucket bathing her own cat. A reminder that you should NEVER send a blogger anything you do not want used....