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Groomer Spotlight: Vivian Thornton and Classy Canine Clips

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 Vivian Thorntongroomer and owner of Classy Canine Clips LLC, in Charlotte, North Carolina.


GC: Tell us your grooming story.Vivian_Thornton_21
VT: I started working with animals at a young age. Somehow, I got coerced into working with people and went into hotel management. After many years in the hospitality industry, I realized I wasn’t very happy going to work. Something needed to change, and I thought back to my younger days and how happy I was working with animals. Then the lightbulb went off, and at age 32, I did something risky. I quit my job as a hotel manager and got a job bathing dogs.

Where I worked had a huge glass window from the bathing area into the groom room. One day I was watching the groomers and thought it looked so cool and convinced myself it would be a great idea to learn. After months of struggling to find somebody to help teach me, I decided to teach myself. I watched countless videos, took notes, purchased equipment and started marketing myself on Facebook, offering free haircuts to anybody who would allow me. The response was incredible. I was working a normal job and on my days off I was in my house bathing and cutting hair. I had never felt happier and knew I should be doing this forever.

I pride myself on education, take many classes online and attend live seminars. I am a Certified Advanced Professional Stylist and a certified Canine Esthetician. Plus, I’ve started my testing for Master Groomer through IPG.

I feel very proud of all my hard work and feel very blessed to have made the tough decision and risk to switch careers.



GC: How long have you been grooming?

VT: Eight years


GC: On average, how many dogs/pets do you bathe and/or groom in a day?
VT: Four to five dogs – I’m mobile now. When I was in the salon, I could do more.


GC: What is your favorite part about grooming?
VT: My favorite part of grooming is creating relationships with my clients and the pets. I have a different bond with each pet, and that is so special.

GC: Do you have a favorite breed to groom? If so, why are they your favorite?
VT: I like doodles because they have such unique hair, and most of the time, it can be a challenge to work with. I love a challenge during the groom.


GC: What is the best piece of grooming advice you’ve received?
VT: To continue my education


GC: What is it like to own a grooming business?
VT: It is a little overwhelming at times. Having the responsibility of answering all the calls, emails, texts, scheduling appointments and grooming. It’s hard to find time to do anything for yourself. It’s also hard to say no, because you want to help every dog you can, but sometimes you’re just so booked, you cannot take any more for that day.


GC: What would you say to someone interested in becoming a groomer?
VT: I would say it’s a very rewarding, challenging and uplifting career and to learn from as many different people as possible because every groomer has something different to offer in style and technique.

GC: What do you believe are the benefits of house call grooming, both as a groomer and as a customer?
VT: I’m offering house call grooming, and I believe the biggest benefit of this is the client/groomer relationship. Now the client knows on a personal level who is grooming their dog. It’s always the same person every time, which eases customers' minds, and it helps create a stronger bond between groomer and pup. I love it.


GC: Do you face any extra challenges compared to a brick-and-mortar grooming business?
VT: The biggest challenge I face is people not understanding what house call grooming is. I am thorough in my explanation, but sometimes I show up and they still think I am in a mobile unit. This has created some challenges for me, but overall, clients are typically ok and it’s just a misunderstanding.


Keep up with Vivian and Classy Canine Clips LLC on Facebook and Instagram.

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