From the corporate world to the pet-grooming business, learn about a dynamic duo that’s bringing a family atmosphere to the mobile pet grooming industry in Cincinnati.
In 2003, Karen Smith was working as a manager and instructor at a pet-grooming salon. While working there, she noticed mothers with young children and older people struggling to bring their dogs into the salon for grooming. “Dogs would get nervous, there’s noise and phones and all that,” she recalls, “so I thought there has to be a better way.”
This inspired her to research and find out more about the mobile pet grooming industry. Before opening Happy Tails To You Mobile Pet Spaw in 2005, Karen and her daughter, Sarah, had many brainstorming sessions. They needed to determine what kind of company they wanted to be: upscale and classy or friendly and approachable. They settled on being friendly and approachable. “We want people to feel happy when they see us, and the dogs to be happy,” Karen says.
In addition to being welcoming and accessible, she brings her skills from the corporate world; marketing, customer relation skills and customer service to the business. “I was able to take my experience and skills, and try to translate them into something else, and just kept trying to grow myself,” Karen says. “And this is kind of a culmination.”
On a typical day, Smith arises at 5:30 a.m. to prepare lunches for her family and complete bookkeeping duties before she leaves for the day. After that, Karen and Sarah fill their vans with water and they head out for their first appointments. Their business brings the privacy and convenience of a full-service pet-grooming salon to their client’s home or office. Some of their services include hydro massage bath, nail trimming, warm air fluff drying and thorough brush out and de-shedding. All this is done with love and care, using top of the line products.
Karen doesn’t answer her phone much during the day because she wants to give all her attention to her clients. “When I am working on someone’s pet, that’s what I’m doing,” says Karen. “I’m focusing on their pet.”
While working with the pets, there is the challenge of scheduling. The temperament of the pet sometimes causes appointments to last longer than normal. Karen has learned that dogs can be like two-year-olds, so flexibility is key.
“Some of the dogs come running to you, some run to mom, so that can be a challenge. You don’t know what the dog before you is going to do; if they are going to have any special needs, since the last appointment,” she says.
Even though there are challenges, Karen loves her job. Everyday, she feels a real connection with her clients. There are clients who have been with her since her business started 11 years ago.
“It’s good to be good friends and family with your clients; the people and the pets,” Karen says.
To learn more, visit http://www.happytailstoyougrooming.com, or call Karen at (513) 300-1080 and Sarah at (513) 205-9269.