Groomer Spotlight

Mary Oquendo

Gloria Hardaway, Dog GroomerGloria Hardaway, Dog Groomer

Gloria Hardaway is a groomer, teacher, and salon owner of Pet care plus by Gloriathegroomer LLC in Pace, Florida. 

Gloria is an Andis Social Media Ambassador and has been an Ambassador for companies including Sharpie, GSH, Alpha Grooming Products, and Hydra PR, and is also ambassador for Opawz.

Gloria's journey has been an inpiration for many of us, and were were fortunate that Gloria found time to speak with us!

 

 

 

Hi Gloria!

When did you start grooming? 

I started grooming in May 2019 due to the pandemic, and I completed my training a year later on May 1, 2020. 

Why did you become a groomer? 

To be honest with you, grooming chose me. I had moved to a little city called Pace, Florida andneeded to find a job in my area. As there was a dog grooming salon on every corner, I applied for a kennel job. I knew I loved animals but did not know how to care for them. However, I was willing to learn and so they trained me. I worked there for about 2 to 3 years and then one day, my boss asked me to give a dog a bath. She showed me how to bathe the dog professionally and I asked her if she could train me to be a bather or a dog groomer. To my surprise, she told me that I could never ever be a dog groomer. Her words motivated me to learn more about the grooming industry. So, I did some research and enrolled in a grooming school. I graduated on May 1, 2020.

When did you decide to go into business for yourself? 

After I returned from the Atlanta Pet fair in 2020. I had met my mentor, Jessica Adorno and she toldme that she saw potential in me and encouraged me to pursue my dream of opening a shop. On the ride home from Atlanta, I was so inspired that the very next day, I started looking around the area for a suitable place to open my shop. After some searching, I found a small shop and I approached the owner to inquire about renting it.

Tell us more about your journey!

Despite the challenges I have faced along the way, I absolutely love what I do.
When I first started out, I opened my first shop, but unfortunately, it was damaged by a hurricane just as I was getting started. Despite this setback, I was able to recover and move on. I decided to open anew shop in a better location in the city. However, just a month after opening the new shop, I had a serious accident on July 26th that left me with multiple injuries. To recover, I had to undergo surgeryand learn how to walk again. I was in a back brace for three months. I had a fractured T9 vertebra,hip, and pelvis, and I had to use a cane for another three weeks.
It took me a long time to recover, and I was only able to come back to work on very light duty. I underwent a couple of surgeries, and it was not until December 4, 2023, that I was finally dischargedback to full duties. I am so happy to be back at work and able to show my support at trade shows for the people who supported me during my recovery.
In addition to overcoming these challenges, I have also been recognized for my hard work. I won "Best of Bay" and "Best of my City" in 2023, which is a true testament to my dedication to my craft.

Wow! Will we be seeing you at trade shows?

I've done a few demos at trade shows with my dogs. I competed with my dog, Bryce, at a dog show in2023 at Groom’d. Unfortunately, Bryce passed away when I was hospitalized after the car accident. I did two demos with my dog Mary Kate at the Sharpie booth in Orlando, Florida in October 2023. And I also did a demo with my new dog Ashley at the Atlanta Pet Fair in 2024. Yes, I have two dogs named after the Olsen twins!

That's amazing! And you are teaching, too?

I teach 101 classes for creative styles and scissor work. I have already conducted three successful classes. The first class involved painting poochies, while the second class was about turning dogs into zoo animals, called Zoo Poochies. The third class I held was called Enhance Your Scissors Class with Gloria the Groomer.

Thanks Gloria, good luck and happy grooming !

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Mary Oquendo is the founder of Pawsitive Educational Training and has been a nationally recognized speaker at professional pet educational conferences since 2006. Mary is also a contributing columnist for Groomer To Groomer and Natural Awakenings magazines. 

Mary operated Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming Salon until her retirement in 2019. Since then Mary has worked with thousands of students and beams with pride as professional pet educators reach and change the lives of their students. Mary was awarded the 2012 David Salzberg for Outstanding Contributions To The Pet Industry. Mary was first nominated for a Barkleigh Honors Award in 2012 and has been each subsequent year. 

 

Hi Mary!

Why did you decide to become a groomer? 

It wasn’t so much a conscious decision, but rather an opportunity that presented itself and I ran with it. The Help Wanted Bather sign at a corporate store caught my attention as I walked in while thinking there needed to be some changes in my life. 

How did you learn to groom? 

Two weeks into working as a bather, the assistant store manager came into the grooming shop, pointed at me and said that grooming school starts tomorrow. Yes or no. 

Why did you decide to go into teaching? 

I begin to notice holes in the type of education available to us at conferences. At the time, conferences were the best option for continuing education, yet I was unable to take pet first aid classes. That really hit home when Binngo had a heart attack on my table and I couldn’t remember how to do CPR because it was over 6 years since I had taken a class. It was the reason I became a pet first aid instructor and started hounding the directors to offer pet first aid again. I now train other people to become pet first aid instructors. My focus was always on what was lacking at the time. I specialized in safety and business programs. And my focus is moving again to help train the next generation of educators to give them confidence and the skills to start teaching.

What are a groomer’s best options for continuing their education? 

There are so many options today. There are in-person trade shows. I attend several every year. There are online options for those that either don’t want to or can’t travel or just want an affordable continuous option for education. Podcasts, books, and trade publications are another way to get free or low-cost education. 
Let’s not forget, network with your local colleagues to brainstorm and have someone come into your local area to offer hands-on workshops.

What changes in the grooming industry do you foresee? 

It’s exciting to watch the younger generation of groomers starting to step up to the plate. They are starting to fill in the holes in grooming education according to their perspectives.  I believe you’re going to see more of a  focus on ergonomics,  planning for the future, and work life balance.

Tell us about PetPro Talk! 

I wanted to not only encourage other groomers to do podcasts, but also make it easy to find industry podcasts. I approached Boss Pet at Groom Expo in 2022 with my vision. To my delight, he said PetEdge is on board and got the ball rolling with all the behind the scenes technology to make it happen. It is exactly as I envisioned it to be and I have to give kudos to all the behind the scenes team that put it together. There are so many wonderful podcasts to choose from and we are always looking to add more.

What do you hope PetProTalk brings to the Grooming industry/community? 

I hope it encourages other pet professionals to share their expertise. To make it easy to find the podcasts that are relevant to our industry. And to place value of being colleagues instead of competition.

Thanks Mary, and happy podcasting !


Miranda Seim

Award-winning Groomer and owner of 
Pet Place Grooming Salons


Miranda Seim is an award-winning Groomer and owner of Pet Place Grooming Salons in Bismarck, North Dakota. Miranda was also a licensed Veterinary Technician and is a proud mom to 2 kids, Walker (11) and Rowan (5). In her spare time Miranda also operates the Lincoln, ND Community Cupboard, a non-profit food pantry. Miranda and her husband Jamie live on a small farm in North Dakota.

 

Hi Miranda!

Why did you decide to be a groomer?

I started grooming in 2011 when I was pregnant with my son. I was working at a vet clinic that wasn’t conducive to raising a child and I wanted the ability to be with him as much as possible. I learned to groom from one of my best friends, Kiri Holzer. We built a very DIY grooming salon in my garage. Grooming gave me the opportunity to follow my passion and continue working with animals while balancing time with my family. 

How did you begin competing?

My good friend Renae Watts took me to All American one year and I watched her compete. Being in the prep area and watching the amazing and brave groomers preparing to compete was so inspiring. In 2020 I competed in an online creative grooming competition for the first time. I was shocked when I placed 1st! The bug had bit and I decided to compete in Creative at All American and SuperZoo and to my surprise I placed first at both of those. It was very validating to see my hard work and effort recognized. 

Why did you decide to be a groomer?

I started grooming in 2011 when I was pregnant with my son. I was working at a vet clinic that wasn’t conducive to raising a child and I wanted the ability to be with him as much as possible. I learned to groom from one of my best friends, Kiri Holzer. We built a very DIY grooming salon in my garage. Grooming gave me the opportunity to follow my passion and continue working with animals while balancing time with my family. 

How did you begin competing?

My good friend Renae Watts took me to All American one year and I watched her compete. Being in the prep area and watching the amazing and brave groomers preparing to compete was so inspiring. In 2020 I competed in an online creative grooming competition for the first time. I was shocked when I placed 1st! The bug had bit and I decided to compete in Creative at All American and SuperZoo and to my surprise I placed first at both of those. It was very validating to see my hard work and effort recognized. 

What is your grooming educational background?

I am a primarily self taught groomer, but I took in as much continuing education and training as I could after my first competitions and decided to work towards my Master Groomer Certification. 
I would get overstimulated when trying to study on my own, private lessons were much more helpful. I decided at PetQuest to just go for it and finally took my Sporting and Short Legged Terrier Practicals. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought. If you’ve been letting fear hold you back I strongly encourage you to go for it! I hope to have my Masters by the end of the year.

When did you decide to go into business for yourself?

In 2016 I went from being a solo groomer to buying a salon with 4 groomers. Last year I bought my second location and I now have 12 employees. The first thing I told myself is that I wanted to be the boss I never had. I wanted my employees to know they are valued, respected and loved. I want them to have every opportunity I am able to provide. When I grow, they grow with me. They are amazing and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Michelle, Jasmine, Teah, Taylor, Cody, Becca, Felice, Alex N, Maggie, Alex M, Jan, and Sadie you are so loved and appreciated. 

Wow! How do you retain your employees?

As an employer it’s important to recognize your employees’ individual talents. Don’t expect them to be carbon copies and instead let them flourish in their strengths and challenge them to grow where they are weaker with the proper support. Having employees is one of the most challenging but rewarding things I have done in my career. 

What do you think is important for long-term professional success?

I know a positive attitude goes a long way so I’m always looking for a silver lining and when I fall short I know there’s always a possibility to do better the next day. I think that is the secret to longevity in this industry. I hope to encourage others in this industry to be authentic, honest and kind. 

Thanks Miranda, and good luck!