9, May 2022
Indie Spotlight: Canine Groom School (and why they love Faith In Nature)
Set in the beautiful Ribble Valley, Canine Groom School is a place for dog lovers (and budding business owners) to come together and get to grips with all things grooming. Recognised as one of the top grooming schools in the world, and with students travelling from far and wide, it’s hard to believe a rickety garden shed is where it all began. To celebrate Faith In Nature’s exclusive partnership with Canine Groom School, we caught up with owners Poppy and Steve to find out how they got from dream to reality, and how their lovely Lancashire business continues to grow.
Take us back to the start – how did Canine Groom School come about?
Our journey started on a beautiful beach in Marbella, when Steve’s rescue dog, Butch, ran over to Poppy, who happened to be walking on the same beach at the same time.
Steve and Poppy started dating, and all three moved back to Poppy’s family farm in Lancashire. Within a week of being back, Poppy got into LSMT (London School of Musical Theatre), so off we went to live in London, where Steve got a job in marketing.
We quickly worked out that Poppy needed to start a business, since holding down a job whilst being called to auditions was near impossible. She knew she wanted to do "anything to do with dogs", so we settled on dog grooming.
Once trained, she started her little dog grooming business in our tiny garden shed, which had no running water and quite possibly the worst sink you have ever seen. Even so, business went through the roof, and we were able to open our first salon on the high street. Steve then trained up, quit his job and joined the empire.
When we were pregnant with our first child we decided to sell our home and business and reinvested everything into the two businesses we have today, based at Poppy’s family's farm in the stunning Ribble Valley Lancashire.
Steve retrained to become a qualified canine hydrotherapist, Poppy retrained to become an internationally certified Master Groomer (ICMG), and Canine Groom School is now one of the top grooming schools in the world, with students flying in from New Zealand, Dubai, Canada, Malta, Portugal, Sweden and all across the UK.
Was your growth always straight forward?
No, growth is never straightforward in business, no matter what size you get to. We grew organically through many tiny steps, and reinvestment when we could afford it. The hardest part was finding the right staffing team to help us on our journey, but we feel that is something we’ve successfully accomplished.
As well as the groom school, you have a sister business, Canine Health and Hydro – tell us a bit about the work you do there.
Canine Health and Hydro is the largest specialist canine rehabilitation centre in the North of England, and it’s a very special business. We basically relieve dogs (and cats) of their pain and help them walk again. Vets refer us to treat limb paralysis due to spinal accidents or surgeries, new fitted hips, elbow or hip dysplasia, muscle wastage, arthritis and obesity.
We have an indoor pool, water treadmills, K Laser CUBE systems, indoor and outdoor physio, and our own branded joint supplements.
Owning this company also allowed us to rescue Toby two shoes, our two legged dog.
We’re so chuffed you use our naturally-derived dog shampoos, what do you love about them?
Your Faith In Nature dog shampoos are excellent for the cleaning aspect – they lather really well and leave coats squeaky clean – and of course it’s wonderful that they’re naturally-derived and eco-friendly.
Do you have a favourite local dog walking spot?
Definitely Pendle Hill, it’s a famous local landmark and we have a wonderful view of it from our centre. It’s great for dog walks – and there are some wonderful pubs at the bottom.
What is the most important attribute for a dog groomer to have?
Patience and a natural love for dogs.
Any tips for keeping our dogs happy and calm at bath time?
Energy is everything. Building a strong bond with the dog whilst making sure they understand boundaries is very important – this creates balance within the dog. Balanced dogs will usually have more confidence and less anxiety, so moments like bath time (and all other parts of your life together) will be much calmer.
Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the near future?
We do! We are looking at building glamping pod accommodation for groom school students, as well as clients who might benefit from living onsite while their dog is in rehab with Canine Health and Hydro.
Thinking about getting into grooming? Find out more about Canine Groom School and the training they offer here.