Winners' Stories - Hound Around Town
In a series of Blogs we turn the spotight on some of the recent winners of our first eDogAdvisor awards and find out more about how their business started and what it means to be an award winner. This time it's Hound Around Town, winner of Best Dog Groomer, owned by Jess Harrison-Johnson.
I was truly overwhelmed to have Hound Around Town named as the winner of eDogAdvisor’s 2015 award for the Best Dog Groomer. I really feel proud to see all my hard work come together. The business has been running just under two years and to be recognised already is amazing. I have been a dog fanatic since I was very young, learning everything I could about them from behavior to nutrition. I’ve also had experience with dog training being a dog training instructor working under two fantastic trainer/behaviorists, Tina Meany and David Campbell. I ran my own dog walking business for three years before wanting a new challenge.
I set Hound Around Town mobile grooming up in June 2014 after training in grooming for 8 months and gaining both my level 2 and 3 City and Guild qualifications. Locally there seemed to be a few dog grooming salons and a couple of large chain salons, but not many mobile salons - the few there were seemed to be fully booked leaving the elderly, non-driving and busy dog owners finding it hard to get their dogs groomed. I knew mobile was the way for me to go, so during my training I spent some time researching vans and van conversion companies, so had a lot to take in!
After what seemed a lifetime I finally found the perfect van, a MWB Renault master, I then arranged its collection to be taken down south to WetPets Conversions to be kitted out. The conversion process took about 8 weeks and when the van was delivered back to me I was amazed with the finished product, and of course, my guinea pig had to be my own German Shepherd - Ollie.
My client base picked up quicker than I thought but to tide things over I worked part time at a friend’s doggy day care and dog walking business (Muttley Crew Dogs), which also gave me and my business a great boost with many of their clients booking their dogs in for grooms. Being mobile the grooming service I give is on a 1-2-1 basis, and I knew that people liked this idea as well as having the convenience of their dogs being groomed outside their homes. I knew before I started that the most important thing for any dog-related business is of course the dog. This seems obvious but only after working a few months I realised this isn’t always the case with every groomer. Many owners knew nothing of what their previous groomers had done with their dogs and hardly got any feedback after the groom. Sometimes they were never really consulted on how they wanted their dogs to look, what length they preferred their dogs’ coats etc. I make sure I always sit down with the owner and dog before every first groom to discuss what the owner would like, so I can try and get their dog looking exactly how they would like them to look. Sometimes if a dog is matted I can’t groom exactly how they would like me too, but I take that opportunity to teach and enlighten owners about coat care and management so together we can get the look they would like for their dog. I truly believe it’s our job as groomers to teach owners about coat care and how the coats matt and the best way to avoid matting.
My business is still growing at a great pace and new for 2016 I’m now selling items to my customers (from grooming tools to natural treats and toys). I’m hoping to expand the range of products during the year and hopefully will be making my own dog collars and leads to sell too, after my home made Christmas bandanas went down a storm. I also produce my own flyers to give out to customers covering all things to do with dog care including grooming, flea and parasite control, boredom-breaking ideas, training tips and trick-training ideas.
I’m also re-designing my logo at the moment and planning a rebrand later in the year, finally getting a smart uniform too!
So far I have met so many wonderful canines and humans too. It’s not always been easy and I’ve shed a few tears but I love my job and get to help so many people and their best friends.
Not all the dogs are overjoyed to see me but they always finish their grooming sessions with cuddles and kisses so I can’t be that bad, right?!I want to thank all my customers for all their support and the wonderful reviews they have left for me. Thank you eDogAdvisor too for the award.
For more information on Hound Around Town please visit the following:-