Sally Hart, a groomer who started their career in South Africa, tells us all about South African pet grooming and how it differs from UK grooming.

Hi Sally, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

I started my grooming career in South Africa a little while ago. Perhaps, more accurately, 29 years ago. We have owned our present salon, Tailwaggers Dog Grooming in Kent, since 2006. Grooming is my passion, and I love sharing my knowledge, not only giving seminars, but also through my newer venture, Up Your Groom, offering 1-1 training days and workshops.

What can you tell me about grooming in South Africa?

Back then, grooming was still a relatively small industry, without the understanding of why it was so important for our pets. Our equipment was minimal and fairly hard to obtain, due to the expense of it having to be imported from either Europe or the US.

What key differences have you noticed between grooming in South Africa and grooming in the UK?

I know just how fortunate us groomers in the UK are. It is still easy for us to have the latest products and equipment, whilst not a lot seems to have changed in South Africa. They can source the products, but the expense of importing means the prices are hugely elevated. This would not be such an issue if the grooming industry in South Africa had advanced like it has with us. Sadly, pet grooming is still largely considered a “luxury” by many South African pet owners, with visits once or twice a year.

What are some key factors that you think UK groomers can learn from South Africa-based groomers?

Groomers in South Africa have learnt to groom and accommodate clients’ requests and expectations without relying on the latest and most modern time saving devices. I think the skill they have, to give out neat and stylish grooms, shows that in some cases, we in the UK rely a lot on this equipment and sometimes forget to focus on the basic and fundamental techniques of grooming.

Are there any general thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?

I love the education side of our grooming industry and I think we can all learn so much from each other. It’s important to share our knowledge, experience and expertise with each other, both locally and around the world.

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