Up Your Marketing Game to Pack a Big Punch 4th Quarter

As we’ve heard a million times by now, We’re all in this together.” This pandemic has drastically changed or closed businesses forever. Fortunately the pet industry although not completely untouched (Chewy & Petsmart break up) is one of the industries that are doing quite well!

How many animal shelters were emptied out across the USA? Even living from employment check to employment check, new dog owners nationwide are still finding some extra cash to not only provide for but spoil their new furry family member.

If you have your doubts, all you have to do is wander over to Tiktok to see how many serotonin inducing pet accounts exist and growing by the minute. Scrolling through my #FYP page, apparently we just can’t get enough of those pet accounts. When the world is going through one of the worst economic disasters in our history…the emptied pet shelters prove that a daily dose of serotonin inducing pet stories is just what the nation needs.

So how do you and your business capture the attention of these new pet owners you ask? I highly recommend 2 lesser known social media stepsisters…Tiktok and Pinterest! Now hold your horses, I’ve got some pretty good reasons for both.

Pinterest has been around since December 2009. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard of Pinterest. You’ve probably searched a Pinterest worthy idea for your store, your kids party, interior design, and all things well designed and pretty! Many people use Pinterest personally but not as many small businesses give Pinterest the clout it deserves. Is Pinterest social media? Kinda, but not really and that’s a good thing!

According to strongcoffeemarketing.com “Pinterest is an excellent tool to help increase links back to your website, which, in turn, drives more traffic. It is more effective at steering traffic back to a website more than any other social media source. (Thank you, rich pins!) This uptick in traffic obviously relies on good content.”

I have had my business on Pinterest for years with up to 150,000 monthly viewers. There have been times that over 80% of my monthly website traffic came from Pinterest. Does Pinterest traffic come easy? No. Pinterest is definitely a long term strategy. Keep plugging away posting your well designed content with back links to your website, blog, or store, and you will see those numbers increase steadily. I feel like Pinterest is one of those lesser known search engine power houses that many small businesses don’t talk about as much as their more desirable sisters; Facebook and Instagram.

My new favorite social media platform goes to Tiktok? Being that I am not under the age of 30 (which is 66% of it’s monthly users)…you might ask why I would want to have my business on Tiktok?

Tiktok is still new-ish and growing extremely rapidly. If I want my business to be around for more than a few years, I must curate my business profile on this platform in order to attract my young and future pet owning clientele. Pre-marriage and babies…we spend a lot of money on silly things for our pets and your business should be where your future clients feel comfortable.

According to Esquire Middle East, “Tiktok has over half a billion users, more downloads in 2018 than YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and is worth more than US $75 billion. Why do people love this app so much and how can your business benefit?

Essentially Tiktok is just plain fun. It’s all about the videos but without the 5 minute intro we have to wade through on Youtube. Just 15-60 seconds of videos dancing, learning, singing, animals, or whatever kind of Tiktok you’re into! Additionally, there aren’t as many “Karens” as Facebook, and it’s not as pristine and polished as Instagram.

Tiktok is a great place to allow your clients to see the real “you” in your business. People buy from people, not businesses so letting your hair down and letting the authentic you (without all the polish & makeup) shine through will be well received on this platform.

Although I’ve just dipped my toes into Tiktok, I know that the most successful profiles are the ones where people working at their business gain the greatest following (and sales) simply by being themselves and showing the “behind the scenes” look at how the magic happens.

People are by nature voyeurs. Being stuck at home months on end, we still want to relate to one another and get a sneak peak into someone else’ life and experiences around the World in manageable bite size bits.

I’ve seen business profiles sky rocket from zero to millions of followers at a pace faster than any other social media platform which is why it’s great to get in on this bandwagon now.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can grow, change, and pivot ourselves and our businesses in order to meet the demands of this new World in which we live. Sometimes putting yourself out there and leaving your comfort zone might be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself and your business.

Go on and try these new strategies to drive more traffic to your business.

What’s the worst that can happen? You might drive more traffic to your business website? How about making more sales? How about being invited to be on a new TV show?

You never know unless you try. Go get em’ girl! You be you!

Until next time… XXOO Leel Michelle 

To Credit or NOT to Credit?

To Credit or NOT to Credit?
By Leel Michelle

During our current pandemic, businesses are struggling with the multitude of opening and closing guidelines and restrictions. Many business owners are looking for ways to cut expenses to get them through the storm. Whether it’s my “Clean Club Memberhship” or other tips I have shared on how to make your business more successful, I am here to tell you why you should keep those credit cards processing & how to keep your employees happy at little cost to you!

Many grooming salons still do not use credit cards as a means of payment. All I can think of when I hear this is all the lost revenue that business has been forsaken due to this one single decision. In my findings and according to research by BAI Research and Hitachi Consulting on Consumer Payment Preferences, 41 percent of shoppers have cut down on their use of cash, while 97 percent of respondents are turning to credit and debit payments instead. Everyone in the United States, including business owners, have at least one credit card in their wallet. As the younger generations mature with their electronic payment habits (Pay Pal, Venmo, Apple) so do their preference for shopping and or avoiding certain businesses that do not cater to their shopping habits. Every year the amount of e commerce taking over traditional brick and mortar shopping increases in the double digits. The current pandemic has shown as much as 90% growth in e-commerce (electronic) shopping among some of the largest online retailers. Shoppers that may have scoffed at the thought of shopping online were suddenly forced to do so in order to get the supplies they needed for their family. For Jeff Bezos that means an even more luxurious apartment in “The Big Apple” but what does that mean for the rest of us? For small businesses that means we need to get knee deep in e-commerce and electronic payment systems even if it’s tedious and makes us a little uncomfortable.

If you have to make cuts to your operation; make it in other ways that won’t affect your bottom line. Credit card processing is NOT the way to cut your expenses when so many people are relying on their credit cards to make ends meet. In fact, if you want to make your employees happy by giving them a raise you don’t have to pay for… read on!

We all know how much Pet Groomers love their tips! How about giving them a raise with little time or expense to you? How do you pull this off you say? Call your credit card processor and insist they add a “tip line” to your credit card processing receipt! If you want to go a step further…have your credit card processor add a tip line AND show the formula for a 10/20/30 % tip to the bottom of the receipt/monitor as well. When your clients are shown a tip line and the math is done for them.

They are more likely to tip around 30% more than if they had only tipped in cash! Your employees will be so happy with the increase in income from their tips, and your clients will be happy they can use their debit/credit cards instead of having to get cash every time they visit your business. Does it cost more you ask? Yes, and it’s worth it! Shop around for a credit card processor and or call your current one and ask for better rates. The credit card processors would much rather keep a current client happy than spend their time trying to find a new one. Be sure you are educated about tipping guidelines and reporting for your city and state. If your credit card company says they cannot add a tip line (this happened to me) tell them it’s the same requirement of a “human” salon or bar tab. If they can’t give you this…threaten that you’ll go elsewhere.

Those are my two cents for today. I hope you and your employees find these tips useful and profitable for your business. Stay safe and fabulous. Until next time…


Leel Michelle

Bath Club Membership for Groomers!

In the uncertainty of the World in which we live, as small business owners we must craft new ways to improve our profit margins. Finding a great service that your clients need now more than ever while creating a consistent revenue stream month after month is a win-win for pet grooming salon & client alike.

Through my e-book, I'm sharing with you a way to keep income flowing while you gear your business for full steam ahead! You have nearly everything it takes to implement this additional revenue stream right now!

Bath Club Membership_ How To

Bath Club Membership | How To

e-book for Pet Grooming Salon Owners available for immediate download!

Many pet grooming salon owners are looking for ways to add an additional revenue stream with minimal output for maximum input. You already have the tub, the supplies, the labor (bathers) and the space to implement this new program. You don't have to buy expensive equipment or pay for a mountain of inventory. All you have to do is a little marketing, add a couple of website clicks, get your bather ready, and viola...you have a new revenue stream!

Of course there's a few more points we'll cover to ensure your success. Soon you'll see how adding this bath club membership is an affordable way to create more income, sell more products, and allow your bath club clients to be your best business cheerleaders! If you'd like to learn more...you can download this 24 page e-book now immediately!

Click the link to get your e-book now. DOWNLOAD E-BOOK

Stay safe & Happy Grooming & Pet Retailing!

Leel Michelle

Why Your Salon Should Have a Bath Club Membership

Do you want to make a steady monthly income without spending a single additional dollar to do so? IF you have bathers in your salon…you can make at least enough income monthly to cover your lease, utilities, and much more!

This month I’ll be going into detail on how you can incorporate this into your salon in my seminar at Global Pet Expo. Of course I will include below some reasons WHY you should do this so keep reading to learn more.

Do you want to enjoy the additional income that you can bring in without investing in new equipment, new inventory or new fixtures? I’ll explain why with a little time investment, some website tweaks, and minimal marketing to new and current clientele, this is an easy revenue stream that’s a win-win for both salon owners and clients alike.

First of all, WHY should you add a bath club membership? Doesn’t it take money away from all the Grooming clients? The answer is no!

If structured correctly these clients get groomed as often but their dogs are better behaved and not matted because you’re able to keep their coat in good condition when they come in for a full priced haircut. Let’s consider some additional benefits of WHY you need a bath club membership in your pet grooming salon.

Say goodbye to awkward dematting upcharges for those loyal clients that like to keep a full coat but don’t like to pay the extra dematting fees. In addition; multiple dog households, and full or show coat dogs benefit greatly since they will be kept in good condition from a professional…you! This program is also ideal for Seniors that can no longer wash their own dog but still want to cuddle with a clean and fluffy pup.

It makes your scissoring job much quicker because you already bathe this dog on a regular basis, no more matting to brush out! Time is money after all.

Frequent clients are your biggest Cheerleaders! The more clients spend time with you, the more they can brag about you! They will often refer a lot of clients to you because they visit you on average once a month instead of every 6-8 weeks.

Loyal, frequent clients spend more money on additional services and products because they are in your business so often. For grooming salons inside of retail locations…this is an excellent way to substantially increase your store income through the sale of additional pet supplies.

Bath Club clients are great for employee training! If you have a pet grooming school or new employees, bath club membership clients are a great way to train “newbies.” The dogs are generally very well trained for the tub and table because they’re in your salon so often.

I’ve given you plenty of reasons WHY you should add a Bath Club Membership to your salon. For those of you that cannot go to Global Pet Expo this year to hear my seminar...below is a quick summary of how you can implement this program in your salon.

You MUST have bathers. Groomers won’t make $$ on Bath Club Membership dogs, and therefore will not be inclined to want to bathe them unless you have an hourly groomer that needs more hours or is the newest groomer on the totem pole. Good bathers are worth their weight in gold. They will make lots of tips on Bath Membership clients as well.

Don’t under price your monthly bath services.
You’ll be in a world of hurt if you get that full-coated weekly GoldenDoodle that takes 3 hours to bathe and dry 1-2 times a week at a price that doesn’t include the cost of water, shampoo, and labor.

My sweet spot was charging 1½ - 2 times our regular bath price for unlimited bathing.

In general most clients utilize the bath membership only once a month and perhaps 10-20% will come in once a week. Remember that you can always increase this price annually. You can use price adjusting to “fire” a client that is taking advantage of you and your staff by including a large hike in this monthly fee. Your best practice is to first figure out the numbers (fees and costs) for your operation before implementing your program. It must make financial sense for your business.

Schedule your Bath Club clients after your full cut clients. Although others do this differently, I always prioritized haircut client baths in the morning so my Groomers start cutting right away.

Schedule Bath Club clients later in the morning or afternoon with the same bathers. In addition, eliminate or minimize your Bath Club clients on Saturdays so you’re utilizing your busiest days and labor wisely.

The high labor cost of owning a pet grooming salon should have multiple streams of income to remain successful in ever changing markets.

When one revenue stream is affected by staff, economy or trends, you have others to keep you afloat. Adding a Bath Club Membership to your pet grooming salon ensures that you always have your base expenses covered, and very loyal, happy clientele singing your praises while referring even more clients to you!

For more information about starting a Bath Club Membership be sure to catch my detailed seminar at Global Pet Expo in Orlando Florida, or use my email below.

Soon we’ll have a detailed guide available for purchase for a nominal fee with details on starting and implementing your very own Bath Club Membership Program.

We look forward to assisting you in making your business even more successful than ever!

Until next time, Leel Michelle

Art of Pet Retailing
Bow Wow Dog Bakery
Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe
Retro Stylist Wear
Email: info@retrostylistwear.com 

Charge for Your Time, AND Your Worth

I started my own high-end retro pet grooming salon 13 years ago. I was very hands-on in my business and went to pet grooming school to start my grooming business on the right foot for my brand.

I was fortunate to put an exit strategy in place by selling my grooming salon two years ago to my former groomer. He exceeded all expectations. I’m able to expand my brand into other areas of interest (award winning pet grooming apparel, retail & wholesale dog bakery @retrostylistwear @bowwowdogbakery) and still groom my Standard Poodle & Bichon in this space I now share with my former groomer, Gabriel Feitosa.

If you don’t know who Gabriel is, he is a big deal. Find Gabriel Feitosa on Instagram (@gabrielfeitosagroomer) to see how charming, experienced and talented he is in the international world of pet grooming.


Joining our businesses in one space has been very beneficial for a multitude of reasons. It’s not often that two business owners get to chat with each other on a daily basis.

The finer details of garnering clients, scheduling, employee management, and everything that comes with high end grooming salon ownership can only be shared among a niche group of entrepreneurs.

I have agonized over every expense, joy and frustration Gabriel experienced. It makes it easy for us to relate to one another. One thing stands out that Gabriel has been very good at in his second year. I wish I had realized this earlier in my career. He not only charges his time, but also his WORTH.

There is a mental transition that happens when you go from “groomer” to grooming salon owner.

New business owners give discounts and don’t value their time and worth like seasoned professionals. There is a point when you realize that you need to work smarter, not harder. The benefit is longevity for your business, especially attractive in labor intensive pet grooming.

Eventually an experienced pet grooming salon owner realizes it’s okay to say “no” and charge their worth. Also, you can make way for a new client that will fill the same spot with less complaints and better overall loyalty.

In year two, Gabriel Feitosa put his foot down realizing that taking every client will not make his business successful. Every business has their own brand of “people” or clientele. Raising prices to pay for his time and worth makes way for new clients that appreciate him and are willing to pay for his time and expertise.

How does this relate to pet retail? Think about how many items you might be giving away, selling or services you are providing that do not really pay for your time or worth.

I find that pet groomers find it most difficult to raise prices on services and retail items even though we live in a society where market demand (among many factors) is what determines the price of our goods.

Many pet groomers give away items like treats, poo bags and upgrades thinking they need to do this to appease their clients. Don't get me wrong! If you’re a proper dog bakery giving away treats makes perfect sense (think Krispy Kreme Donuts). If your motive is to appease, clients may have a hard time purchasing these items later, and possibly when you want to increase your profit margins and get paid your worth.

You don’t have to give away the house or do what everyone else is doing. Find your niche in your neighborhood and make sure that whether it’s a service or a product, it will give you the profit that your TIME and WORTH deserve. 

Until next time…

Leel Michelle

Retro Stylist Wear    ◄


Store Rebranding 101

There are different reasons why a company may need to rebrand. Perhaps your lease is up, you need more space, you’re buying a new building, adding services, or you just need a modern brand update to capture a new generation of clients.

Whatever the reason for your rebranding it’s important to cover the basics to make sure your rebranding efforts are well executed. When rebranding your business, it’s important to research and learn from our high profile corporate cousins. This will help us navigate the good and bad examples of rebranding. Many successful companies have come out on top due to their rebranding efforts and even more companies missed the mark completely. The latter tend to be companies that at one time had such big market share, they thought they were “too big to fail.” Think Blackberry vs Apple, Pizza Hut vs Dominos, Sears and Kmart vs Target, and Keds vs Addidas.


Some brands also experience periods of loss, bad press, or major restructuring that required a “rebirth” to assist in negating the negativity. This sort of rebranding can also acquire a new group or generation of clientele to give a much needed boost to shareholders’ bottom line.

In starting the transition of your business rebrand, first ask yourself why are you rebranding? This will often assist you in determining the what, why, and how to rebrand your already established business.

Below are some essential steps to get you started in a successful refresh of your established brand.


To start your rebranding campaign, make a budget and timeline to execute design, order products, and implement your rebranding.
Make a list of everything you have to rebrand such as business cards, logo stickers, shopping bags, envelopes, packaging, store signage, website, uniforms, store price tags, permits, licenses, and more.

Are you changing your name at all?

Think about your digital footprint. You’ll need to buy and forward domains, update hashtags and social media channels and website links. Hire an SEO professional to assist you.

Update your trademarks, business permits, license, DBA, bank accounts, legal documents, and everything that legally needs to change.
You’ll need to find or hire a graphic designer to change all your digital artwork. Look at examples of their work and make sure to get a timeline and contract executed so your expectations can be managed effectively.

Next, you’ll have to send your new designs to all your printers for business cards, logo mats, storefront signage, letterhead, store shopping bags, and so forth.

Does it still “feel” like your brand and is it recognizable as your already established brand?

Did you notify your clients, vendors, and or distributors, and set up an action plan to help make their rebranding of your product line successful?

Make sure you send a letter or email explaining the reason for the rebrand. This helps to “sell” the rebrand and keep your clients and partners in “the know” so they can share with their own connections on your behalf.

Rebranding your business is no small task. A positive take away from the daunting task of a successful rebrand is that it can make your business feel new again.

This “newness” comes with the excitement of loving your business like when you first turned your passion into profit. Much like an owner falling in love with their freshly coiffed pet walking out of the grooming salon...you will fall in love with your business all over again!

Until next time…Happy Pet Retailing!
Leel Michelle, Founder
Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe
(Soon to be Bow Wow Dog Bakery)
Retro Stylist Wear Inc.

The "Cool" Factor

Selling “cool” can garner a cult following, repeat business, and free social media advertising from your clientele ”if” all the stars are perfectly aligned. So how does a business go about creating the “cool” factor?

Businesses that are genuinely “cool” don’t have to try and those that try to be “cool” generally aren't. So what defines “cool?”

Although there are many examples in the retail marketplace...here are a few that make the cut and a few that don’t.

Adidas VS Skechers, Vans VS Journeys, Milkbar VS 31 Flavors, Target VS Walmart, Instagram VS Facebook and so on. All these businesses offer similar products in the same market space but are viewed very differently.


What can we do to make our businesses “cooler” than the one down the street? There isn’t one tried and true formula to create the “cool factor” for your business (too bad right?) However; there are some best practices to get your business into the “cool” zone. According to a study from the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, there are four characteristics of a cool product which is often also applied to businesses: :
• It's fresh and new
• It's fun
• It provides meaning (i.e., makes you feel happy or fulfilled)
• It is recommended and used by a shared community (i.e., "people like us")

After polling several clients, friends, and family on what they thought was cool…there were definite similarities with the aforementioned study from MIT. There were a couple of additional add ons that I found very telling.

Customer service was very important in creating a “cool” vibe. More importantly the customer wants to feel “inclusive” in this cool venture, product, or store. No matter how many tattoos, piercings, hair colors… clients don’t want to feel they’re being watched for being themselves and also want to feel that they matter to this business.

Offering top notch customer service and making them feel special goes a long way. Years ago when I was in Women’s corporate retail fashion, I would keep a notebook with the clients information and history we had discussed when they were in last. This allowed me to reconnect with them quickly the next time they were in the store. My returning clients immediately felt comfortable and at ease with me and it was much easier selling them a $2500 spring wardrobe because they knew I was familiar with them and had their best interest in mind.

When checking out your clients at the register, remember to revisit a topic that was important to them. Example; “How was your wedding?” “Did you get that job you were excited about?” “Did Bella like her new food?” This makes a client feel that they are not just another “number” and they matter to your business.

What’s the last and most important descriptor in creating a “cool” factor for your store or product? Passion! Yup, that’s what I said, passion! People are naturally attracted to passion! Think about it…when you hear someone speaking passionately about a subject matter (even if you don’t care about it) it’s very intriguing. You are more likely to perk up and pay attention if someone is very excited about a certain product or business.

On the other hand… if you walk into a business and everyone in the store looks like they’d rather be somewhere else… this can be a major turn off! Don’t be shy to share your passion about your business with your clients! I can’t tell you how many clients tell me how much they enjoy seeing the growth of my business through the past 12+ years. This would not be possible without the passion I have for it.

Now it’s your turn… share your passion with your clients and you’ll be well on your way to creating a “cool” factor for you, your staff, and most importantly the people who fund your business… your clients! Until next time… Happy Retailing! XOXO, Leel Michelle

Design is Intelligence Made Visual

Throughout millennia humans have always loved beauty and design. This love of beauty and design has allowed our species to evolve throughout time. Humans have used their love of beauty and design to forage for non poisonous foods, select and create the right tools to build a better World in which to live, and even find the perfect mate. Knowing that beauty and design impact our daily lives and how you can use it to curate your clients’ retail “experience” is key to your stores’ success.


How will beauty and design improve your sales? Can you think of a time you may have had mediocre food at a restaurant but the ambiance was so amazing the food tasted even better? That was a good design experience! Good design is the secret ingredient to most successful businesses. In today’s competitive eCommerce market, providing a well designed experience for your brand will separate you from the pack.The moment a potential client enters a keyword search term in their smartphone and they see your business…they are already “experiencing” your brand with or without good design. From your business logo, website, and storefront to well curated collections of retail merchandise; your clients are deciding if your brand fits their lifestyle.

How do you apply good design principles to keep your clients coming back for more? Consistency, simplicity, and a little whimsy is key! Humans’ trust consistency. Keeping your theme, colors, and store design consistent creates a sense of familiarity and trust with your clientele. Having a clearly designed brand will not only help your clients but it will simplify your future design and purchasing of inventory, marketing and more. Leonardo da Vinci was quoted saying, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” The essence of this quote is having a major moment in design all over the World. The company Apple made millions of dollars mastering the art of sophistication through simplicity. How simple is your message, design, and shopping experience? Clients are so busy that shopping needs to be as simple as possible. Does your store have clearly defined areas with good signage for every department or is your inventory jumbled together from floor to ceiling? Is your website optimized for minimal clicks for a seamless shopping experience? Study the shopping experience of your store through the eyes of your clientele and find ways to simplify and then add some whimsy! Whimsy or “Whimsical” defined by Merriam Webster is “unusual in a playful or amusing way.” Introduce a little whimsy into your store design so your store can stand out as an unusual, playful, or amusing place to be! You can create whimsy by having a clearly defined store theme, accent mural, unique store displays, and even throwing unique store events. Creating a positive “feeling” through whimsy in your business will keep your clients not only coming back for more but creating buzz by sharing with their social circles as well!


Holy Holiday Pet Bakery Rush

Holy Holiday Bakery Rush! PRO INSIGHT

Let’s talk Dog Bakery!

WHY do all the dog bakeries have such a long lead time? Why can’t you place a large dog cookie order 2 weeks before Christmas? For those of you that don’t know...I added a dog bakery this year to my business. I didn’t just hire professionals and let them have at it. I  actually trained with them and hand make every treat out of my bakery as I am creating my SOP (Standard Operating Procedure Manual) for future employees and management. Additionally, I love the creativity and am a very hands on Owner because I’m very passionate about what I do.

I’ve always sold dog bakery treats from other dog bakeries but never made them myself...until this year. I went from slinging shears to slinging frosting! With my regular retail business and a handful of wholesale clients (only California at the moment) I can tell you that I
look like the photo above nearly every day. Why does it all take so long? I’ll break it down for you so that you’ll understand why it’s important to order far in advance. This way both Retailer & Wholesaler can plan accordingly. 💋

Here’s what a bakery goes through once they receive your order:

  1. In order to maximize your (3, 6, 12 month+ shelf life, most orders are baked fresh when your order is placed. Your order then enters the queue with all the other orders placed before yours. There is a commercial dog bakery currently with 800 back orders. We thought dog grooming was tough!
  2. Batter is then made, cut, baked, & cooled. 
  3. Unless there’s a very, very expensive piece of machinery that stamps out cookies, (most businesses do not have) this is all done by hand. Your order then may or may not need to be dehydrated.
  4. Your order then gets decorated. This is fun but very detailed work which takes much longer than you might imagine!
  5. Your decorated treats need time to dry again and possibly dehydrate for shipping.
  6. Your order then needs to be labeled, cushioned, packaged, possibly shrink wrapped, and then boxed for shipping.
  7. Your order is finally shipped off with hopes that nothing smears, breaks, or goes missing.
    Then...the next order begins. 💋

Hopefully this little snippet of insight will help you to understand that when you order from a bakery it doesn't just take a couple of moments to pop something in the oven or a machine and out pops a perfect little doggie stocking stuffer! In fact, I’m quite certain most bakery companies (much like many Grooming Salons) are underpriced for the amount of work they do to get your order to you. So when you order from a dog bakery, be nice, patience, appreciative, and schedule or inventory needs with plenty of lead time especially around the Holidays! This will help your bakery and you sail smoothly through the Holidays!

Until next time… Happy Holiday Retailing
Leel Michelle

Choosing a Color Palette for Your Store

Opening a pet business or adding a new location can be a daunting task for many small business owners. If you are like many pet groomers and small business pet retailers, you’re likely designing your store by yourself. This can be very gratifying and also very daunting. There are so many decisions that need to be made. Below we will cover a few steps that are extremely important when designing your salon/store for pet services and pet retailing.

What is the inside/outside architecture and design of your new building location? Is the building a Spanish bungalow,Tudor style, a country barn, or a city warehouse? In order to have the most successful store design, taking into account the actual architecture of the outside of the building, and landscape along with the interior store design can save you countless headaches. You can’t fit a square hole into a round peg so make it easier on yourself by designing your space by utilizing the existing architecture when you can. This tactic doesn’t work for every location but it can help “set the stage” for the rest of your design decisions. This technique ultimately simplifies the rest of your design decisions and gives you a specific design direction.

Where is your business located? Are you in the city? Are you suburban or urban? When speaking to my clients I often recommend a certain color palette and design that will go with that particular location along with several other factors. A city location is generally a bit more polished and modern where a country local can be rugged and casual. These designs are not exclusive to their location but their consideration is very important. Remember your target audience. You are designing for THEM, not for yourself.

WHO is your clientele? Are they mostly Women or Men? Are they young hipsters, or a retired elderly population and empty nesters? Are they young and affluent or middle aged and wealthy? Knowing WHO your target market will also widdle down the design decisions and your color palette. Softer colors, pinks, pastels, and bright white spaces often work well for Women. Men on the other hand like wood, hardware, blues, greys, and more muted and natural tones. Knowing your clientele and taking them into account will definitely pay off in the long run. Small business owners competing with corporate and online competition need to design spaces that have great ambiance. Designing for your specific clientele goes a long way toward building a brand that your community can get behind for years to come. In addition; providing a well designed space that your clients can use to brag about their favorite local business on social media is marketing gold!


How do you choose your color palette? You’ve got your design “theme” chosen based on your architecture, you’ve nailed down your clientele based on your neighborhood… so now, let’s choose your colors! Taking into account the aforementioned tools to find your colors, do you have an “inspiration” piece that will help you limit your colors? Do you have a favorite piece of furniture, painting, pillow, tapestry, or any other item that you absolutely love? An inspiration “piece” can help your simplify and choose the color palette you need for your design. One of my favorite tools is the “ColorSnap” Visualizer by Sherwin Williams. I took an inspiration pic that included all the design elements and colors my client and I discussed. Then I uploaded it into “Colorsnap” and then chose the colors that would fit this project. We have our base neutral colors, midtones, and accent tones all in the same app. This simplifies the design process by choosing your colors so you don’t “over design” your color palette.

Consistency is Key! Now that you have your color palette, make sure you’re consistent with the use of these colors including hardware finishes and accents. Start with a couple of neutral base tones (whites, greys) and then add in your mid tones and finally limit your accent colors (generally darker colors) so that you don’t overwhelm your design. With loud accent colors, less is more. If you are using a dark wood grain to bring in some nature, keep that wood grain consistent. Mixing oak, for example and cherry wood in the same space rarely look good together. If you are going to use silver hardware, try to keep the finishes in the same color family. Brushed nickel hardware doesn’t mesh very well with black wrought iron most of the time. I find that keeping your color families and finishes similar creates a very professional and well designed space. Although there are plenty of instances when you can mix and match different finishes, this generally requires a design professional to pull it off well.

In closing, I hope these few tips will help you to simplify your store design opportunities and challenges. Although I absolutely LOVE this process, I know it can be a very daunting task for most. Although I’d gladly give away my design sense every day of the week and twice on Sunday... my husband would like you to know that I am available for grooming, designing, and retail merchandising consulting. Feel free to email me so we can set up a time to chat!

Until next time…
Happy Pet Retailing and Continued Success,

Leel Michelle