Grooming Gab

Trade Shows Title
by Kathy Hosler
American humorist and philosopher Will Rogers once said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

And he was right. When you do the same things day after day, you have nothing to look forward to, you become stagnant and burnout creeps in. Our industry is ever changing, and if you don’t keep up, you surely will be left behind. That’s one reason why industry trade shows are so needed. From the minute you walk into a trade show, you better be prepared to soak up lots of new tips and tricks.

Attending trade shows should be a priority for every groomer. Being at one in person is an experience that cannot be duplicated in any other way. Watching demos can show you new timesaving grooming techniques and the correct use of the equipment, which is incredibly important. You can have the most expensive equipment on the planet, but if you don’t know how to use it properly, you are not going to benefit from it.

If you are looking to purchase equipment or even a complete mobile grooming unit, a trade show is the place to shop. You can look at and compare all of your options to be sure you get the one that has the features you want and will work best for you. For example, if you are looking at a new table, you can easily get answers to questions such as, does it go as low and as high as you want? Is it sturdy enough to hold the big guys that you groom? Is it well made?

women standing behind row of dog cleaning products

There is nothing better than shopping in-person for the tools and equipment your livelihood depends on.

If you buy something from a catalog instead of in person, you could be buying “a pig in a poke” (a poke is a bag). That’s an old saying that means to buy something without inspecting it thoroughly, often with negative consequences. When you have the piece of equipment right in front of you, you see exactly what you are getting.

There is nothing better than shopping in person for the tools and equipment your livelihood depends on. You may be standing at a booth debating a clipper purchase when someone you don’t even know stops and tells you about their experience with a specific clipper and how much they like it. And items like scissors really need to be fitted to your hand to do the best job for you. The manufacturers and representatives are there to show you how properly fitting shears will balance in your hand and will help you determine what length of blade is best for you. That can make an amazing difference in your grooms and in your comfort by helping eliminate hand and wrist fatigue.

Trade shows are also a great place to stock up on the products you use and sell in your salon. There are always lots of show specials, including those finishing touches like bows, colognes, decorative add-ons and creative colors that can make your grooms stand out from the competition. And, if you can’t take all your purchases home with you that day, many of the vendors offer free shipping.

man demonstrating shears at a booth
The manufacturers and representatives are there to show you how properly fitting shears will balance in your hand and will help you determine what length of blade is best for you.

Most trade shows also feature grooming competitions. Watching the talented artists as they work is an education in itself. Often you will see breeds that you don’t get in your salon every day. Additionally, you get to see the tools and products they use, and observe their grooming techniques from start to finish. When you sit in the audience, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with the person next to you since we all have many interests in common. Many long-lasting friendships began with a chance meeting at a trade show!

You could even try your hand at competing. It will help you improve your grooming skills, your time management and your self-confidence. You’ll also meet other talented competitors which can lead to an additional learning opportunity. The judges’ critiques are invaluable and can help you greatly in future competitions and with your everyday grooming. And, the ribbons and trophies displayed in your shop will really impress your clients.

So, go to trade shows, shop, learn and make new friends. But don’t forget one of the most important things you should do at a show—enjoy yourself!