A Cut Above
With the right selection of clippers, retailers can help any customer achieve their home-grooming goals.
Consumers looking for clippers to use for home grooming usually have some specific aims in mind. They want to save money by grooming their own pet, or at least extend the time between professional grooming sessions. But they also want the process to be as easy as possible, and they want to groom safely, especially those customers with geriatric dogs. Fortunately, by doing a little background work and using resources from manufacturers, retailers can help pet owners accomplish these goals.
The background work is learning about your canine demographics. What sort of dogs are in your area? Are they predominantly small dogs that require a lot of clipping and frequent grooming? Are they large farm-type dogs that live primarily outdoors and might get clipped down short once or twice a year? Or is it a mix of many breeds, sizes and coat types?
If the majority of your clients own pampered pocket pets that are groomed frequently, a versatile clipper that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of power but does have several blade guard attachments and perhaps a scissor included might be suitable. For farm dogs, a heavy-duty professional clipper, such as Oster’s original A5, might be best.
There are dozens of options available, with varying power and price points to suit every customer’s needs and budget. Retailers should keep a few different home clippers available, but it’s likely that one or two products will cover the majority of their customers’ needs.
John Vasone, national sales manager for ConairPRO Pet, suggests asking customers how much they wish to spend on a clipper, how often they will use it and what type of clipping they plan to do. How big is their dog? How much hair does it have? Do they plan to do light trimming, a full body clip or shave the whole dog down? The answers to these questions will give retailers an idea of what direction to go when recommending a product.
Retailers should aim to help pet owners choose the right clipper for the job they’re looking to do. “Home grooming kits are generally good for trimming and light to medium body clipping,” Vasone says. “Professional clippers cost more, but are better for heavy-duty clipping.”
One of ConairPRO Pet’s most popular clippers is the PGRD420 2-in-1 Clipper Trimmer. It is great for light-to-medium body clipping, and it also has trimmer attachments in multiple lengths, scissors and a metal comb.
Martha Palmer, director, professional animal division at Wahl, recommends narrowing down the choice of clipper by asking a couple key questions about how the customer intends to use it.
“Knowing which clipper is right for a home groomer really depends on two factors,” Palmer says. “One, the type of coat the pet owner will be grooming, and two, the frequency of use. Depending on how an individual answers these two questions will determine the power level of a clipper and type of clipper blade needed to get the job done right at home.”
One of Wahl’s bestselling home pet clippers is the Deluxe U-Clip Clipper, a 16-piece kit that contains everything a pet owner would need to groom their pet, including an instructional DVD.
Store personnel need to be able to steer the pet parent in the right direction and use resources from manufacturers like signage, product packaging, a website and videos to help take the anxiety out of the selection process. Andis, along with other manufacturers, provides resources that can help both retailers and pet owners succeed with clippers.
“Retailers and pet parents alike have access to a great resource in online forums, Andis Educator tutorials and the Andis social media channels,” says Megan Mouser, education manager of Andis’ animal division. She recommends following Andis’ Facebook and Instagram accounts for grooming tips and demonstrations.
If only the face and sanitary areas are being done, a lightweight clipper like the cordless adjustable-blade Pulse Ion works well, and the Andis EasyClip Li is great for breeds like Shih Tzus, Yorkies and Toy Poodles. Retailers can also point out that a clipper purchase can save customers money long-term. At-home clipping can extend the time between professional grooms by typically four to six weeks, or even up to six to 10 weeks, Mouser says.
Oster has long been one of the most recognized names in the grooming industry, both for professionals and pet owners. With a number of clipper kits, both corded and cordless—many with a step by step instructional grooming video included—Oster goes the extra mile to make sure pet owners have the best products to use on their pets. For example, the Oster Performance Clipper Kit for In Home Grooming includes scissors and four blade guides and has a powerful pivot motor.
What about the owner who is not comfortable using clippers but wants or needs to groom their pet at home? There’s another option available—the Scaredy Cut. It’s essentially a scissor with a blade guard on it to help produce a consistent length cut. Seven guards are included that allow for half-inch to one-inch lengths.
According to Matthew Michel, inventor of the Scaredy Cut, there are many good reasons for using this tool. Some pets don’t tolerate the car ride to the groomer well, don’t like the noise or vibration of clippers, or become stressed in a grooming salon environment. Some pets just need a little extra help between professional groomings to keep their sanitary area clean, and the Scaredy Cut is an easy way for pet owners to do that. It’s also a great way to introduce a new pet or a puppy to the grooming process.
“Many things about grooming can cause anxiety for pets. New smells, being left, the sound and sensation of clippers, it can all add up,” Michel says. “If someone first uses Scaredy Cut, there’s no noise, no new odor at home. The only thing they have to deal with is having hair removed, and it reduces stressors for the animal.”
Scaredy Cut provides resources for pet owners on its website on everything from using the tool on dogs to how to do a sanitary trim safely to a detailed article on cat grooming. Michel says introducing a pet slowly to grooming with short sessions helps ensure that a pet will be comfortable with the process.
“Home grooming gives you the opportunity to do things slowly,” he says. “The best thing you can do for a relationship between your pet and the groomer is to introduce them slowly.”
Educating sales staff on different grooming tool options will help increase sales in this category, but they also need to be able to provide guidance on how to groom at home to ensure the customer is successful with their purchase. There are a few things pet owners should know before setting out to groom their own dogs.
Dogs should be thoroughly brushed, washed and dried before clipping. Most clippers are not designed to cut through dirty coat—and it doesn’t have to be filthy to be dirty. Natural oils, dander and normal amounts of dirt are difficult for most clippers to get through.
Clippers do not go through tangles, only under them. Place a comb under any tangles right at the skin and gently pull up—however far the comb gets before being stopped by mats or tangles is the maximum length they will be able to leave the coat. Guard combs or attachments don’t go through tangles either. If a dog is matted or tangled, the owner can brush it out until a metal comb glides from skin to end of hair without resistance, wash and dry it and use a blade attachment to leave it the desired length. Or they can use a short metal blade, a quarter inch or so, to go under knots. This allows them to brush it while it’s short and easy to care for, and then they can determine what length they’d like as it grows out. Calling a short trim a “smoothie” or “do-over trim” may remove some of the resistance pet owners feel to shaving their dog right down.
Practice makes perfect. It’s hair—if they don’t like the result, it will grow back, and they can try again. PB