By the Book
Celebrity groomer Jorge Bendersky reveals the inspiration behind his new DIY grooming book and explains how it may actually help the grooming industry.
Grooming Business: What inspired you to put pen to paper to share your expertise with dog owners?
Jorge Bendersky: I have spent my career working one-on-one with dog owners, and I came to realize that there was a general lack of education in regards to grooming and care, and that lack of education was hurting the relationship between the human and the dog. In the process of grooming your dog, you make a connection. I am a groomer, but I also consider myself an educator. I thought, “I can help people better the overall relationship with their dog. I can make that bond deeper.” This book was written to be a guide to a better relationship with your dog through learning the grooming process.
GB: Some groomers may be worried that more skilled dog owners may mean less business for them. Explain why your book is unlikely to hurt the grooming industry.
JB: I don’t believe it will hurt the industry or groomers at all! If you improve the dog and human relationship, you help create a better client. The owner has the time, and this book gives them the tools to go through these grooming processes at home. This, in essence, helps train the dog to be groomed. The dog will experience what goes on during a groom—“mommy does it, and mommy doesn’t hurt me”—and will see grooming as more a part of their care-giving process, leading to a less anxious dog on the grooming table.
Through the years, I have seen that most dog owners have, at one time or another, tried to groom their dogs at home—from trimming the bangs to a complete overall groom. For owners interested in that, this will be a great tool. For dog owners who are not interested in taking over the grooming but want to know the basics, they will find this book a good guide for general care of eyes, ears, nails, etc.
GB: What was the hardest part about writing a book that explains these basic grooming techniques to pet owners?
JB: The hardest part about writing the book was editing down all of the knowledge that I have gained throughout my career while making sure that I was giving enough information in the step-by-step guides so that the reader could understand the proper use of a tool or technique, without overwhelming them. I had to really go back to basics and think about all the techniques I use, precautions I take and movements I make that now come second nature, and break them into a comprehensive step-by-step process.
GB: What did you have the most fun with?
JB: I loved the photo shoots! I got to play supermodel with all of my best friends, because the dogs that are in the photos are my actual clients. Each household that I worked with was really excited to be involved and thrilled to have their dogs be part of the process. Every shoot was a party.
GB: You have been in the pet industry for many years now. How has it evolved, and what do you see for the industry in the future?
JB: I have officially been in the pet industry for 22 years. In that time, I have seen the grooming industry branch out to become a lot like the beauty industry. Grooming isn’t just about washing a dog and making it clean. Now, people want their dogs to have color, temporary tattoos and feather extensions, which has allowed the industry to take a much more glamorous turn. That means better products and better tools. Basically, if you can buy a hair product for yourself, now you can buy a version for your dog.
In the future, I see the industry moving to include the whole family in the grooming process. Dogs’ grooming and haircare has become so similar to our own, with regular beauty regimens and luxury spa treatments. As dogs become more included in our social lives, the industry will expand into the household. The more people appreciate how grooming their dog can enhance that human-dog relationship, the more we will see grooming tools and products in their homes.