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Groomer Spotlight: Marci Wanta and Wiggle Waggle Pet Care

Groomers around the world inspire us. Their passion for pets and business consistently set the bar for the industry, which is why we'll be featuring stories from groomers like you in our monthly Barkmails. This month, we caught up with groomer Marci Wanta of Wiggle Waggle Pet Care in Verona, Wisconsin.

GC: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a dog groomer?Untitled design (6)
MW: When working at a dog daycare, I asked if I could shadow a groomer to see what grooming was like. I was 18 and had no idea what I was doing after high school. One shadow day turned into two which turned into learning how to bathe, dry, brush, etc. The next thing I knew I was hired as her bather. I was literally a sponge, soaking up every bit of knowledge I could. I knew THIS was what I wanted to do. I wanted to groom!


GC: When did you start grooming? Did you go to grooming school?
MW: I started grooming in June 2019 and fell in love with it. I enrolled in Animal Behavior College’s online grooming program right away and completed my ABC mentor program in early 2020 with another local groomer. After the program, I kept learning everything I could and started grooming out of my house. In September 2020, I opened my own salon in Verona, Wisconsin, called Wiggle Waggle Pet Care.


GC: Tell us about Wiggle Waggle Pet Care:
MW: Wiggle Waggle offers quality and professional grooming services, and I always groom with patience and love. My goal is to help my clients develop a positive relationship with grooming and continue building trust between me, my pups and their humans.

I strive to educate my clients on proper coat care and at-home maintenance. If their pup needs to be shaved due to matting, I explain why and give them the tools to avoid it in the future. This builds trust, and they can understand the reasons behind my professional decisions and recommendations.


GC: On an average day, how many pets do you bathe and/or groom?
MW: I bathe and/or groom three to six pets per day, depending on their size, service type and any special needs. I work one on one with each pet, with a few exceptions.


GC: What is it like to own a grooming business?
MW: Honestly, it's a lot to own a grooming business. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision, but I think I did. Currently, I am a solo, one-woman business. Not only am I doing all the grooming, I’m also the receptionist, bookkeeper and a dozen other roles. I’ve learned so much – how to set boundaries, charge properly for my time and skills, communicate effectively with clients, best schedule my day and so much more.

GC: Do you have a favorite breed to groom?
MW: I love grooming a well-maintained curly coat and experimenting with different styles, profiles and head shapes. And of course, I LOVE a good deshed. I’d love to learn more about hand-stripping and breed standards, specifically Portuguese Water Dogs, any kind of wire-coated terrier and Bedlingtons.



GC: What is your favorite part of grooming?
MW: So many things: Clearing the hair away from the eyes and opening the dog’s expression; Seeing that dirty water get washed away; Watching that curly coat dry straight; Seeing it “snow” when I deshed a dog; All that undercoat falling to the satisfying; The transformations; And of course, the happy clients.

GC: What are your go-to products and/or tools?

8E86523E-8FE6-4E9C-AF2A-254B82BE06F3 MW: The Wahl Bravura is amazing for quickly going from paw pads to sani and is so light and quiet. Just got the Wahl KM Cordless. I’m loving the ease of the cordless aspect and the reliability of being able to plug it in and still use it. The Bark2Basics Ear Cleaner is a go-to for me. And my BatherBox Bathing System!

GC: What is the best piece of grooming advice you’ve received?
MW: “Scissor with intention.” Don’t just scissor willy-nilly. Purposefully scissor the hair, especially on faces. Simple, but so meaningful! Shout-out to Jilly (@jillymoochgrooms).


GC: What would you say to someone interested in becoming a groomer?
MW: Try it! Always strive to learn more. Stay humble, but also stay proud of your progress. You did that, not anyone else. Reach out and make connections. There are so many wonderful people in this industry who want to help make it better by educating others.

GC: What's a grooming myth you wish was debunked?
MW: “Using a degreaser shampoo on oily coats is a must to get them clean.” Oily coats can benefit more from a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. When using a degreaser, you’re stripping the skin and coat of natural oils over and over again. This causes the skin to work extra hard and over produce those oils, making them greasier than before. Conditioning these coats replenishes the oils after shampooing and keeps the grease build up to a minimum. If you’ve been using a degreaser on oily coats, try using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and see if it helps the problem.

GC: Anything else you want to add?
MW: Recently, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and burnt out with grooming and the business side of things. Nothing was feeling fun or exciting anymore. I was exhausted.IMG-3003

In March, I had the opportunity to participate in Iowa Lakes Community College’s Inaugural Grooming Competition in Emmetsburg, Iowa. It was my first competition, and while the competing part was a little nerve-racking, I had an amazing time. I learned so much from judges Mackensie Murphy and Kathryn Dixon. The experience was exactly what I needed to reinvigorate my passion for grooming and pull me out of this burn out.

Burn out is so real, and so many groomers go through it. Taking the time to find something outside your normal routine can really make a big difference. Whether it's trying something new in the grooming world or treating yourself to a massage session.

I also want to thank Groomer’s Choice for featuring me! It is such an honor and words cannot describe how insane this is.


Keep up with Marci and Wiggle Waggle on Facebook and Instagram. 

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