Okay, sorry it's been a few days, but I'm finally ready to give you Part 2 of Groomfest, which I attended last weekend. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.
The first lecture Saturday morning was Speed Grooming. I learned a few new tips and got a few product recommendations. Some of the tips I don't really feel comfortable with, such as this one: "clean, clipped, cute. cute face, short feet, short butt = happy cust". Those are my notes, verbatim. The lecturer was saying that as long as the face, feet, and butt look good, you can basically half-ass the body and the customers won't care. I know time is money, but I'm not really interested in sacrificing quality just to be faster and groom more dogs. I know this technique works - I used to work with a groomer who had a TON of requests - but her customers loved her personality, not her grooming. As an example, a Standard Poodle she had groomed was waiting to be picked up. I had to walk over and cut off an inch-long piece of hair from its clean face. Groomers who follow this blog: What is your opinion about/experience with the Clipper Vac? I've heard mixed reviews.
The next seminar was Grooming the Rough Coated Brussels Griffon. As I was in my seat between seminars, I saw somebody wave at me and come across the room. It was a groomer I used to work with and am still Facebook friends with, though we are not close and I hadn't seen her in person for a couple of years. Let's call her M. Here's where my day started to get interesting. As M and I are sitting next to each other and getting caught up, she tells me that B, who we used to work with but I had a bit of a falling out with, is competing and afterward she would join us in the seminar. I don't have especially negative feelings toward B, but I have no idea how she feels about me. So the thought of seeing her made me nervous.
Anyway, the seminar, sadly, turned out to be a bit of a joke. The lady who was supposed to be teaching did not seem to be overly familiar with the breed; it sounded like she had memorized the breed profile out of a book the evening before. So she was awkwardly trying to talk about this breed and how to groom it (the dog was brought by somebody else, a retired show dog, he wasn't her dog). So she starts pulling out tools to hand strip him. She was quite tentative at first. I don't know if that is due to her unfamiliarity with the breed or if it had been a long time since she had hand stripped a dog. It really got fun when she pulled out a tool that some bigwig had recommended to her several years ago, but she had never tried it. As soon as she did, she exclaimed, "OHHH MYYYYYY. Wow. This is nice. This is incredible." Seriously? We're supposed to be learning from you, and yet here you are asking the owner of the dog to make sure you are stripping him properly? That does not inspire much confidence.
At some point B showed up. She had won the terrier competition by hand stripping a (I think) Norwich Terrier. We greeted each other with a half-nod acknowledgement and she sat on the other side of M and talked to her for a while. Eventually we decided to ditch the rest of the seminar and head down the hall to the actual trade show. There, J found us, another former coworker with whom I have had no contact for 2 years. We did the same half-nod, then started perusing the booths. I had tried to save up some money before GroomFest, but my dumb butt managed to show up broke, so walking around looking at stuff I couldn't buy had no appeal for me. I headed out to lunch alone and ate in my car so that my phone could charge.
After lunch, I made no special effort to find M, B, and J, but they didn't make any extra effort to find me, either. The next seminar was Tips & Tricks of the Trade with Marlene Romani. Any groomer will recognize the name Romani - it's maybe not quite as iconic as Ferrari, but I'd say pretty close. Can you imagine how a mechanic would feel taking lessons from somebody with the last name of Ferrari? That's how I felt during this seminar. I did learn quite a few things from Marlene, and some of her tips were similar to or the same as Mitzi's tips, so I can be confident that they are good tips. One that was particularly interesting to me was to put liquid baby powder on shaved faces and sanitary areas to prevent clipper burn. Has anybody tried this?
The last lecture of the day was an American Cocker Spaniel demo. I was hoping to see in person how beveled feet were done, but the lecturer ran out of time. I did finally learn how and why to do the small poof on the front of their heads - it's to fill in that divot in their skull to give the appearance of a "dome-shaped" head. That was worth learning. Also, she showed how you can thin out the coat with a Coat King to blend the skirt better without needing to use thinning shears (as much).
After all of this, I was exhausted. I am used to being on my feet all day at work, so sitting for 2 days straight sapped all of my energy out of me. I went home and took a nap, intending to go dancing afterward, but I decided to stay home and go to bed at a decent time.
I had already decided to skip the first two lectures of Sunday morning. The first was Kerry Blue Pet Trim Demo. I've only ever seen 3 Kerries in 9 years. Of those 3, 1 was groomed regularly by a coworker of mine, 1 I just did a bath on with no haircut, and 1 I groomed twice before leaving my last job. Whenever I happen to see another Kerry, I am perfectly capable of following the directions in The Book. I'm too tired to look it up right now, but I'm pretty sure other groomers know what I am talking about. The other seminar was Are You Lost in a Sea of Shears & Blenders. After 9 years, the answer is no. I know what I like and I know what works best for what. If there was something interesting before this seminar, I probably would have stayed through this one, but I decided I would rather have the morning off.
After what would have been lunch, the first seminar was Funky to Fabulous, which turned out to be really interesting. It was about finding a dog's faults and minimizing those faults through grooming. I had already figured out that I could make bent legs appear straight, but it never occurred to me that you can make long dogs look shorter and legs in any which direction or angle look straight. I've already tried a couple of the techniques that I could remember off the top of my head (this is the first time I have referenced any of my notes since taking them) and I was pleased with the results.
The next seminar was Happy Dog/Happy Groomer, which sounded interesting but I just absolutely could not sit in those hotel hairs for another minute; I had to leave.
All in all, I had fun and learned a lot in those 3 days last weekend. I'm looking forward to attending next year (hopefully this time with money), and I highly recommend attending a trade show if you have the chance.