Home Bathing Essentials
Helping customers achieve salon-quality results at home is easy when you know what products to carry and recommend.
Just like in hair salons, it’s common for pet groomers to offer the products and tools they use for sale. After all, professional groomers know which shampoos can whiten whites, remove staining, create less shedding and even detangle long, silky fur. Although not all pet retailers provide grooming services, they can still tap into that information, use feedback from their customers and form partnerships to create an expansive, well-stocked bathing section.
First, retailers should turn to their manufacturers to learn about the different types of coat styles and textures dogs may have, so they know which products will suit which breeds.
Justin Pohl, vice president of Longview, Texas-based Bio-Groom, explains that the company targets its products to specific breeds and includes a brief description, in bulleted form, of each product’s intended use. For example, its Wiry Coat shampoo is a texturizing shampoo that cleans and conditions while keeping coats looking natural.
Pohl encourages retailers to reach out to Bio-Groom with any questions they may have, because its products have been used by professional groomers and in the show ring since the brand’s inception in 1971.
Next, retailers should find out which companies offer solution-driven marketing and products. For its part, Vetericyn Animal Wellness created a FoamCare shampoo that targets fine, moderate and thick coats.
“We took special care to design the surfactant and conditioning ratios to optimize the foam and ‘rinse-ability’ of the three main coat types, since each coat type varies in thickness, length, etc.,” says Geoff Hamby, director of marketing for the Rialto, Calif.-based company. He explains that FoamCare washes out “unbelievably fast” to make it easier for the pet owner and less stressful for the pet.
Additionally, Vetericyn has a medicated FoamCare shampoo designed to help treat dry, itchy skin and other ailments in a solution that’s safe for daily use and can be used in conjunction with the Vetericyn Plus line of wound, skin and hot spot products.
Hot spots—a constant issue that pet owners have to deal with, especially during the summer—can be relieved with frequent bathing.
Spina Organics, located in Beverly Hills, Calif., creates safe remedies for itchy and irritated small wounds and spots. The products, designed by co-founder Mauro Spina, a hair stylist and licensed trichologist, include the Miracolo Hot Spot Oil Treatment that has a rich, healing blend of botanical extracts and essentials oils, including moringa oil.
Spina advises pet owners to evaluate their animals and determine if their coat is oily or dry, if fleas and ticks are an issue, or if there’s any other problems that need to be addressed. He believes that pets should be treated the same as people, explaining that a dry coat needs a hydrating shampoo just as dry skin needs a nourishing body wash.
The company offers a Dog Facial Cleanse, designed for daily use. It’s rinse- and tear-free, made with a vegan formula that includes anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antifungal and insecticidal properties, with a base of micellar water.
In addition to causing more hot spots, summer time also means more adventures, leading to an increase of dirt and odors. Melissa Gulbrandson, vice president of marketing for OxyFresh, recommends, “a good pH-balanced pet shampoo that’s gentle and not overpowering with fragrance.”
The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-headquarted company’s shampoo cleans without harsh fragrances or alcohol, and is infused with essential oils that naturally repel fleas and ticks.
One aspect of bathing that’s vital but often overlooked is drying. Pets must be thoroughly dried without excess heat in order to prevent hot spots, skin infections, dry skin and irritation. Pet owners can use human-style hair dryers—if they’re cool enough—or force-style dryers.
Picking the right drying towel is not a choice that should be taken lightly. Microfiber, terry, disposable or faux chamois will all work, but Clean Tools’ Absorber is designed to dry faster than any other dog drying product. Professional groomers say it absorbs 50 percent more water than other choices, and it’s as easy as patting an area dry, wringing out the Absorber and beginning on another section.
“The Absorber has become a household name in professional grooming salons, schools, and boarding and daycare centers,” says Eryka Hawkins, marketing manager for the Westmont, Ill.-based company.
The Absorber is not made of a fibrous material, meaning that dog hair will not cling to it. It’s machine-washable and available in bright colors.
Bathing and Beyond
At-home grooming doesn’t mean just bathing and drying. Not everyone has access to the amenities needed to bath at home, or the time.
“The pet market is making great strides in offering quick in-between bath-time solutions,” says Gulbranson. “It’s just important to look at ingredients and choose a solution that is non-toxic and gentle.”
OxyFresh’s eco-friendly Pet Deodorizer is, “so safe and gentle that any pet parent can spray directly onto pets to quickly neutralize pet odor without using fragrance.” The company also offers an entire line of pet dental products.
“When giving baths, don’t forget about their cute smiles,” advises Gulbrandson. “You want their breath as fresh as their coats… Your pet’s health and smile will thank you.”
Other items to consider carrying include nail trimmers and styptic powder, ear cleaner and cotton pads, Happy Hoodies to dry ears and reduce noise irritation, paw pad balms and more.
The House Special
Being that consumers trust their retailer to make helpful suggestions, one option that’s often over-looked is private labeling. Why not take advantage of those relationships and the desire to provide customers with the best shampoos, conditioners and other bathing products by putting the most trusted brand on the label—yours?
Just as professional groomers seek out seasonal products—whether that’s summer flea shampoos or dry skin remedies—your customers are looking for solutions that have been tailored and hand-crafted to the seasons and conditions in your area.
Glo-Marr, based in Lawrenceburg, Ky., manufactures several brands, including Kenic and its natural line, Balance, as well as Kenic’s private labeling. The Glo-Marr team takes pride in the relationships they’ve made with pet professionals and the quality of the products, so much so that its employees use the products themselves.
Liz Marquardt, marketing director, uses Kenic products made by Glo-Marr on her King Charles cavalier spaniels.
“I use the KENIC KALAYA Emu Oil Shampoo and The KENIC KALAYA Emu Oil Spray at every brushing… there is a lot of that with this breed!” she says. “The word ‘oil’ concerns some people. However, it is not weighty and there is no separation of the coat. My dogs constantly receive compliments.”
If you’ve ever considered private labeling, look into it. It’s probably more cost effective than you think.
Of course, this all comes down to the same question: Which brands should I be carrying? A great source of information is the manufacturers themselves. Count on them as business partners and they’ll help you sell their best items, whether it’s with signage, suggestions on marketing, displays or education for your sales team. Manufacturers have a strong interest in making sure you and your employees know everything they should about their products. After all, it is their livelihood at stake.
Networking is key. It’s as easy as exchanging business cards with your local grooming salon and forming a partnership with them. You can ask them about products they recommend but don’t have room to retail, and in exchange you can recommend their services to your clientele. You’ll never know unless you ask, so contact them and see how much they’re willing to help. You might be surprised at the success you find. PB