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Lessons Learned from 300+ Doodle Clients: Sheena's Story

This blog is brought to you by Sheena Silva and the MoeGo Community 🧡

Whether you love them or dread them, doodles are a big - and sometimes controversial - part of the pet grooming industry. While some might argue doodles aren’t the problem, the owners are, the reality is doodle breeds are here to stay - and require a lot of attention to maintain.

Just like any trend in the pet industry, doodles are something groomers everywhere have to contend with. That's why we sat down with Sheena Silva, the owner of Tangled Tails Pet Spa, to talk about doodle management. For Sheena, grooming doodles began as a means of making a living and has since transformed into a remarkable 23-year journey with 331 doodle clients (and counting). And like most things in life that end up being worthwhile, grooming doodles is both extremely challenging and deeply rewarding. 

Doodles Are a Business Opportunity

When we asked Sheena how she discovered that doodles are her cup of tea, the answer was pretty straightforward - and business-minded. “The significant amount people are spending on doodle breeds pushed me to cater specifically to doodles,” she said. 

After grooming for 19 years, Sheena opened "Tangled Tails Pet Spa" in 2011. The idea to specialize in doodle grooming struck her when she noticed people in the area spending up to $2500 to buy doodle breeds. For Sheena, this realization was more than just a financial trend; it became a defining factor in her grooming career. Realizing that if they invested so much in purchasing a doodle, they would value professional grooming, she shifted her branding to cater specifically to doodles. 

Unique Needs & Care  

There’s a reason some groomers prefer (and others don’t prefer) to work with doodles. Every doodle is unique in terms of their coat type, length, and the amount of home care they receive – it is important to communicate the expectations with their owners and manage the frequency of their grooming schedule accordingly.

“Over time, I noticed that consistency was the real issue,” Sheena said.“Doodles’ coats need regular care to avoid those pesky mats. So, I learned and adapted along the way based on their hair type.”

She also noted that personalization for each customer was an important factor in her approach.  “I figured out what each doodle needed in their grooming session and how often they needed it.”

Grooming Doodles Takes Empathy & Communication

When we asked Sheena about common doodle grooming misconceptions, she said that it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of doodle owners. “While we may wish they could brush their dogs daily, the reality is that life gets busy, and grooming might not be their top priority,” she said, “It's natural for them to not understand how their dogs’ coats are different and require professional care, since it’s not their passion or profession.”

At the end of the day, Doodle owners simply want their doodles to look and feel their best, and that's where professional, patient, and caring groomers come in to save the day! Understanding their perspective and offering expert grooming services with a smile is the key to not only creating a loyal customer base, but giving Doodles the care their unique coats need.

Ask Pet Parents About Their Pup’s Grooming Routine

Taking a personalized approach to each Doodle means it’s important to assess the unique needs of new customers and their furry companions. 

“Other than the dog’s condition,” Sheena told us, “I make sure that I ask about the brushing frequency: Are you brushing once a day, twice a day, maybe once a week, or perhaps once a month? I can then figure out the perfect schedule for their doodle's grooming appointments based on their desired coat length. It's all about customizing the grooming routine to suit each doodle's specific needs and their owner's lifestyle.”

In other words, don’t be afraid to ask owners about their at-home grooming routine! This is not only an opportunity to educate, but the best way to tailor the grooming service to meet their needs. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Give Feedback When It’s Needed 

Communication isn’t easy - especially when it comes to customer expectations. We asked Sheena how she approaches this to ensure pet parent expectations align with what is realistic and achievable for their pet. 
“It's all about open communication with the doodle owners!” Sheena said, “If a doodle is matted, I make sure to be upfront and honest with the owner. I explain the situation and what needs to be done to solve the problem. Transparency is key to avoiding any surprises and ensuring we're on the same page.”

She also notes that some scenarios may require additional policies to make sure the pet’s needs are met. “On MoeGo, I set up special requirements in the contract for the doodle owners to put them on a recurring schedule. Even if they miss an appointment, I still get compensated for my time and expertise.”

These types of expectations go both ways: Doodle owners know what they can expect from their pup’s groom, and the business knows it will be compensated fairly. 

Advice for New Groomers

If you’re new to working with Doodles or want to expand your skills to incorporate a more Doodle-centric business approach, Sheena says to follow your heart. 

My advice would be to follow your heart and find the doodle clients you truly enjoy working with,” she said, "Take the time to discover what it is about this specific doodle client that sparks joy for you. If there's anything you'd like to change or improve, go ahead and do it and use this client as an example when you’re taking new doodle clients.”

Working with Doodles doesn’t mean you have to take every customer, though. The more you build your business, the more opportunities you’ll have to only take the customers who are the best fit for your business and well-being. “I've come to a point where I built my business, so now I have the ability to turn people away. And I know not everybody has that ability. Over time, you'll become sought after in your community, just like me, and have the privilege to pick and choose the doodle clients that resonate with your style.”


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