The New England Groomolympics

For years, Katie Heikkila had devised a plan to bring ordinary, New England pet groomers together with a competition to celebrate their everyday work. Her vision was both simple in concept and radical in its goal of drawing everyday groomers into an endeavor perceived to be as glamorous as it was highly competitive. The culture of grooming competitions is a difficult one to enter. It’s a world that can be intimidating to some.

It’s a huge commitment in time, money, and coat upkeep to enter the competition arena, and it can be difficult for many stylists to find owners with dogs of the right quality that are also willing to allow their pet to travel long distances for days at a time. A dog of less-than-stellar attributes may not turn heads in the same way. This creates enormous hurdles for the majority of groomers. It can become a logistical nightmare that makes the dream of winning seem faraway.

But Heikkila did not want groomers’ trepidations to risk not having their talents recognized. Just last month, Heikkila, now the founder and owner of New England’s Groomolympics, quietly realized her dream with the first annual Groomolympics. Heikkila is an instructor at The Whole Pet Grooming Academy in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and has been grooming for 18 years. She competes in creative grooming contests and says of everyday groomers, “We groom double coats, drop coats, and everything in between, and do amazing work. We work hard and I feel we need to be celebrated.”

Groomolympics Logo

Participants of this year’s Groomolympics likely found this competition much more inviting. With lesser entry fees, lower travel expenses because the first round of judging is done by photographs and the remainder is local to New England, groomers found it easier to enter. Groomolympics has toned down some of the requirements associated with traditional grooming competitions, and has made the event local and accessible to New Englanders.

Although the first annual Groomolympics has just concluded, New England pet groomers are encouraged to enter next year’s competition to showcase their skills. The competition is open to groomers living and working in any one of the New England states: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. This year’s winner is Elsebeth DeBiase, stylist and proprietor of Coastal Creations Pet Salon in Bucksport, Maine. DeBiase, who has been grooming for 15 years, says “I entered this competition because […] I perceived it as a less intimidating atmosphere where I could compete live for the first time with my pet quality Bichon Frise.” The finals were judged by a well-known industry figure and author Ellen Erlich.

A cocktail reception will take place at the Sturbridge Host Hotel this Saturday evening, October 15, 2016, during the New England Grooming Show to celebrate and congratulate the semi-finalists and DeBiase. Everyone is welcome.

In the spirit of celebrating pet professionals, PetEdge will be there, and we invite you to join us. Collaboration with groomers has played a role in the success of our company in our 60 years of service to the pet industry. PetEdge is an industry leader in producing and distributing grooming supplies from tables and tubs, to clippers and consumables. We’re so passionate about supporting pet professionals that we’ll be running groomer-focused specials at the event. Come check us out!

Grooming Poodle

October Is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, and while there are 3-4 million shelter dogs curled up in cages, waiting against the diminishing hope of being rescued from euthanasia, heed this advice: don’t adopt a shelter dog this month. Yes, that’s right: I’m recommending that you do not adopt a pet during Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, for there’s more than one way to support shelter dogs.

Cute Dog

While it’s great that a commemorative month is in place to raise awareness of dogs in shelters, some would-be parents don’t always consider whether the time is right for pet adoption. Meanwhile, groomers are usually the last people that need to resort to a shelter to find a pet. Possibilities for gaining another four-footed family member abound in our profession; a deluge of neglected, matted animals seems to mysteriously turn up at our door. Customers abandon dogs, one or two locals treat grooming salons as a depository for strays, and, naturally, our dog-loving connections are bountiful. Perhaps you’ve once been tempted by a doe-eyed mutt gazing at you helplessly or by a harrowing story of animal neglect or abuse. By obliging to your humanity, you added one more number to your zoo’s keep: this is how some groomers end up with one-too-many pets in their household.

The fallout from these “do right” gestures occasionally works itself out. But not always. Having to send a dog back to the shelter is hard. It’s hard on you, it’s hard on the dog, and the people at the shelter are affected, too. For this reason, the only time you should get a dog is when you’ve been thinking about it and talking about it and discussing it with people for some time. If, after thoughtful consideration, you’ve decided it is time for a pet, then YES! Head to that local shelter you’ve researched and see if one of their dogs suits your household.

But if it’s not the right time to expand your family with a four-legged friend, you can still participate in Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. In fact, as groomers, you can raise more awareness on pet overpopulation than most other people by promoting October’s Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog theme. This alternative could allow you to help dozens of animals instead of just one. Remember that collaborations play a role in how a shelter affords to operate. Public donations and ongoing partnerships with shelters allow for the better care of shelter dogs.

Here are some ways to make great strides toward helping homeless dogs, without the usual 15-year commitment of pet adoption.

  • Make a sign advertising October as the Adopt-a-Shelter-Pet Month, and hang it in a prominent spot in the salon.
  • Place a jar on the counter and label it for donations: “Not the right time to adopt a shelter pet? Donations go directly to (name of local shelter) and help care for the pets.”
  • For the month of October, use a sliver of space from your own advertising to promote the cause. You could simply tack a short message to the footer: “Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month is October!” If you can, list your favorite shelter.
  • Using your Facebook page, showcase a different local shelter each week in October, in honor of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month
  • Run a special sales promotion to benefit an animal shelter (e.g. offer a $5 discount off of nail trims, or sell Halloween or Insect Shield bandannas, facials, or some other add-on for the discounted price of $5). Use signage to indicate that proceeds from that special will be donated to the shelter, and explain why.
  • Organize a drive for an animal shelter in honor of Adopt-A-Shelter-Pet Month. Find out what supplies the shelter needs and put up a sign in your shop asking for donated items – towels, canned food, bleach, and so on. Set up a collection bin for customer donations. Mention the donation drive to every caller so they can come prepared if they are inclined. Put up a promotional sign in the window to encourage drop ins from non-customers.
  • Offer the shelter coupons for free or half-price grooms to be redeemed by a dog deserving of pampering, in honor of the month.
  • Put a link to the shelter on your website or on social media and introduce Adopt-A-Pet Month.
  • Volunteer at a shelter. Although training is usually entailed, their staff will be delighted that someone with professional experience has offered to help with the dogs, and the experience will feel incredibly rewarding.
  • Sell raffle tickets throughout the month for a free basic groom, or, if your shop offers retail items, raffle off a product package. From the money you’ve raised, donate anything over your expenditures. Advertise that you are doing it.
  • Not the right time to adopt? Consider whether you’re in a position to foster. Most shelters have some animals that would do better in a foster home until they are permanently adopted. Ask the shelter what it entails. While it could be tough saying goodbye to a foster pet, it could be joyous knowing that you have given a dog some of the developmental and behavioral skills and training that made him a better adoption candidate for a permanent home.

Implementing just one of these ideas may make a huge difference to a shelter dog. Whatever course you pursue will help the shelter help more dogs. It’ll make you feel good, and it will show your clientele who you really are as a pet professional – and that’s worth it!

All About Aesculap

Savvy and successful groomers are constantly searching for the highest quality equipment for their shops. From tubs to tables, and dryers to tools, quality and innovation are of the utmost importance, and many groomers will spare no expense equipping themselves and their employees with the most cutting-edge products. This quest for innovative, durable, and versatile equipment extends to one of the most important purchases a groomer will make for his or her shop: professional-grade clippers. While it’s true that industry heavyweights like Andis®, Oster®, and Wahl® dominate the marketplace, there’s a German clipper brand that’s become a hit with pet care professionals—that brand is Aesculap.

Aesculap Logo

Pronounced “ess-kew-lap,” Aesculap clippers have long set the standard for excellence and durability for both groomers and veterinarians overseas, and while they’re fairly new to North America, they are quickly becoming a favorite among American groomers. Aesculap clippers and blades are manufactured in Suhl, a small city in Germany that lies approximately 80 miles north of Nuremberg. German engineering has a well-deserved reputation of being supremely reliable (think BMW or Porsche). This commitment to excellence is a key factor in all Aesculap products.

Aesculap began manufacturing surgical instruments in Germany in 1867, expanding the business to produce their first electric hair clipper in 1912. Since the company’s inception, Aesculap has been a trusted partner of surgeons, groomers, veterinarians, barbers, and hairdressers alike. After relocating the clipper manufacturing facility to Suhl in 2001, the business blossomed, and today, Aesculap is one of the most trusted names in dog grooming clippers not only in Europe, but around the world.

For professional clippers that are compatible with the same detachable blades as Andis, Oster, and Wahl clippers (such as the UltraEdge, Pulse ZR, A6, Volt, KM10, KM5, and PowerGrip), Aesculap offers three different clipper models, the most popular of which is the FAV5 Clipper. Don’t let the 2,300 SPM speed fool you into thinking it’s a lesser clipper—when asked about Aesculap clippers, industry expert Carol Visser replied, “I’ve owned one for a few years and have never seen it leave clipper tracks as some clippers may.” The big advantage of that fairly low speed is that the blades tend to stay cooler far longer on these clippers, which translates to a lower risk of clipper irritation and blades staying sharp longer. The motor is powerful enough to shear through the thickest, matted coats with ease.

Aesculap FAV5 CL

Aesculap FAV5 Clippers are available in two versions: the FAV5 Clipper (corded model) and the FAV5 CL Clipper (cordless model, which also includes a charging stand and second battery).

Aesculap Battery RemovalFor the utmost in versatility, the FAV5 Hybrid Clipper is the way to go. Each comes as a corded clipper, but the detachable battery adapter can be removed and replaced with a Battery Pack (sold separately), which includes a charger and two batteries. The photo to the left shows the battery adapter being removed from the clipper—just squeeze the sides and it slides right out. 

Ideal for for pre-surgery clipping, exposing veins for bloodwork, or general all-around use, any veterinarian or groomer looking for a powerful, versatile, and cool-running clipper will absolutely love the FAV5 Hybrid Clipper.

Aesculap FAV5 Clippers are some of the the most durable clippers on the market today. Each features an unbreakable, vibration-dampening clipper housing, as well as a wear-resistant oscillating lever made of solid steel, offering unmatched durability. The well-balanced, slim shape fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, allowing for quick hand-switching maneuverability and fatigue-free handling that’s perfect for all-day use, and the effective ventilation system keeps each of the FAV5 models from getting too hot—they truly are the “BMWs” or “Porsches” of dog grooming clippers.

Aesculap AkkurataThe Akkurata Clipper is a smaller clipper that has an adjustable blade and can be used corded or cordless. Ideal for backs, necks, heads, faces, bellies, and paws, the blades on Akkurata Clippers adjust to three lengths rather than to the more common five (the equivalent of a #30, #10, and #8½). Each clipper includes five snap-on combs and features a powerful DC motor for maximum power and innovative lithium-ion technology, offering 100 minutes of runtime on a 60-minute charge.

Aesculap BladesAesculap Clipper Blades are truly in a league of their own. With a special chrome surface that resists corrosion and keeps blade looking good, these durable and innovative blades are made from high-quality German carbon steel for long-lasting use. Additionally, Aesculap Clipper Blades are compatible with all detachable-blade-style clippers.

It’s no secret that any professional will do their best work if they are provided with the best tools, and that is what Aesculap offers—professional-grade clippers and blades whose quality and durability stands alone in the highly competitive clipper industry. And while competing with the likes of Andis, Oster, and Wahl in North America might seem like a daunting task for the makers of these premium German-engineered clippers, when it comes to quality, durability, and versatility, Aesculap products speak for themselves.