What do you value? 

By Stuart Simons


We are living in a very strange world at the moment. The cost of living is beyond ridiculous because of things that are beyond most peoples control. We live in fear of accidentally misgendering and insulting people simply by using the incorrect pronoun. And words that were an insult only 20 years ago are now used on a daily basis and are completely acceptable. (no one asked me and I still find Queer uncomfortable). It seems that we are living in a time when being seen and heard in a socially acceptable way is as important as the air that we breath. 

Access to a lot of people is now possible through mediums such as Instagram or TikTok. I can’t tell you the amount of hours I spend sitting on the loo having got lost in what I like to call ‘A TikTok Hole’. The ability to edit and create is done with ease and a glimpse in to someone else’s life, albeit for a limited amount of time, is addictive. I suppose it’s the curtain twitching of the day. The problem is that what we are seeing isn’t always the reality and the question is, are we ready for the cost of what this digital observing may cause? 

I’m certain there are loads of pro’s and con’s to this world in peoples personal lives as well as in different industries but the one I am concentrating on is The Grooming Industry. Dog Groomers are unregulated and so anyone can do it without any training. Some unqualified groomers are wonderful and obviously have a flare for the kind of work that grooming requires and some are simply not. Finding a good groomer can be a mine field. Some owners are even tempted to groom their own dogs, if perhaps they have had what they feel is a bad experience with a professional groomer. I mean, who can blame them? 

As an industry, we have to ask ourselves, are we valuing the industry and our skill as much as we should be and do owners value our industry as much as they should? The question is, Why should they if we don’t value ourselves? 

A course in dog grooming with a view to becoming fully qualified would set a prospective groomer back up to £10,000 for an industry recognised qualification. Once this is earned and practiced, we can make our initial investment back and subsequently put food on our tables. That’s the aim of working right? To be able to live and enjoy the benefits of our hard work.   

Have our ego’s got in the way of our value? 

I’m an absolute media whore. It comes from having been an actor for the past 30 years. I am lucky enough to have been able to merge my dog grooming career in to my acting for the past 15 years. The need for attention is hard wired in me. having said that, so is my love for dogs. In fact that love overpowers any need for attention and the protection of any animal is also ingrained. Social media serves as a tap for attention, it creates a space where I can show off and be the clown or make a statement or sing etc etc. The problem is, how do you know when attention over rides welfare? As Groomers we want to show off what we can do. It’s a great way to attract business. A picture of a messy dog coming in to the salon next to the same perfectly trimmed pooch can work wonders for socials and bring attention to a business. But the integrity of the acquired skill should never be compromised and the difficulty in gaining it should never be forgotten.

In the past few months, i’ve noticed some groomers on different social media outlets demonstrating our skill in a ‘how to’ fashion and using baby words when describing parts of the dogs anatomy. Now, I can’t tell you how undervaluing  using baby words is to our skilled profession but that’s the least of my worries here. The big worry for me is the safety of the dogs at home that are going to be the victims of an owner trying to copy a groomer scissoring a specific area of a dog with no training apart from a 30 second Tiktok tutorial. 

Trust me, no groomer will put a post on social media of a badly behaved dog. The dog that would be used would be what I call ‘bomb proof’. Probably a regular at their salon, never misses an appointment and stands like a statue. This isn’t reality and most owners won’t have the same experience as the groomer in the video. My concern is that the saving of the hair cut at the groomers will be lost with the cost of a vet bill after an accident. Not ideal in a cost of living crisis or for the welfare of the dog who will need to be groomed for the rest of his life. 

In conclusion, giving away the skills that we have trained for is doing absolutely no good to anyone.

  1. Higher risk of injury in the home 
  2. Incorrect handling and restraining when grooming leading to no1
  3. Loss of earnings for the professional groomer, the one that has worked to gain a qualification and is skilled within the field
  4. Undervaluing an industry leaving many groomers in jeopardy of struggling to make ends meet
  5. Undervaluing the level of knowledge that training provides thus keeping prices down when we don’t charge enough in the first place. 
  6. Damaging to the dogs mental wellbeing especially during the grooming process 

Groomers get in to this industry because they have genuine affection for dogs and their welfare. But please heed the warning, attention is addictive and no animal should be put in danger simply for the amount of clicks one can get or for the chance to be well known. The industry and its safety is worth more than just one person. Stick to the before and afters and avoid the how to’s! Enjoy the social media posting with integrity, people will respect you for it and trust that you are working for the good of the dog and not the good of the ego! 

Stuart Simons

He/Him (happy to answer to anything except for Simon)