Groomer Feature: Lisa Hart
Lisa Hart is a multi-award-winning groomer and teacher, specializing in Asian Fusion Grooming out of Whaley Bridge, High Peak, UK.
She’s been grooming dogs for going on 15 years, during which time she has gained her City and Guilds qualification and received multiple recognitions, including Asian Fusion Groomer of the Year. She and her miniature poodle, Viktor have been loyal supporters of Doglyness since the beginning, and Lisa’s expertise has helped us optimize our products to serve the grooming community more effectively. She’s truly an innovator in the grooming industry, and we think many members of the Doglyness tribe could benefit from her insight, expertise, and grooming journey. So, we invited her to be featured here on the Doglyness blog!
Lisa was thrown into grooming while working in a kennel when she was 15.
Tell us a little about your grooming journey. What got you into grooming in the first place?
I started grooming by accident. I had always known I wanted to work with animals, but I thought it would be something more veterinary or wildlife based. When I was 15, I started working at a kennel before starting an HND in Animal Care and Behavior. The kennels offered dog and cat boarding, grooming, and bred Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Schnauzers, and West Highland White Terriers.
The owner had been a groomer for around 40 years and one day asked me if I would like to give it a try. I was given a Westie, a pair of clippers, a 5f blade and told she would be back in an hour, and that was basically my training. It has taken me many years of unlearning bad habits, and going to seminars, competitions, and training days to improve my grooming to the level I am currently at. I wish I could have trained when the resources we have now were available, as I love how open groomers are to sharing tips and advice online. That is why I am so passionate about sharing my knowledge with the grooming community. I believe we all have something valuable to share and so much we can still learn.
What attracted you to the Asian Fusion grooming style?
I found Asian Fusion grooming in 2012 when I got my first iPhone and joined Instagram. I found an account for a Mini Schnauzer in Korea with long ears and a cute rounded muzzle. My own Schnauzer, Esme, who became my muse, was very small and petite for the breed with fine hair, and I never thought she ever really suited a traditional Schnauzer trim. So, on one of my days off, I decided to copy the groom I had seen online. It took me around 5 hours, but I was really happy with the outcome, and this is where my love of Asian Fusion grooming started. I found online Asian grooming groups and shared Esme’s new look. I was amazed at how much attention she started to get, and Esme became a little celebrity in the grooming community, especially because at this time, Asian fusion styles were mostly seen on poodles and poodle crosses. I believe Esme’s unique look and my preferred choice doing this style on drop coats and terriers was really what made my work get noticed.
Viktor - Lisa's miniature poodle and sidekick!
In 2016 a work colleague encouraged me to enter a grooming competition that had just added its first Asian fusion class. It was The British Dog Grooming Championships run by the Pet Industry Federation and British Dog Grooming Association (BDGA). I went with no idea what to expect because, before this, I didn't even know that grooming competitions existed! I went on to win the class with my beloved Esme, and my obsession really took hold.
A year later, after a string of placings in new Asian fusion classes, I was invited back to the BDGC to do a demonstration on Asian fusion grooming. I have never been a confident speaker, and I wouldn’t have accepted if Jitka Krisova (a famous groomer) had not reached out to me and asked me to do a demonstration at her salon earlier in 2017. Many groomers I looked up to were there, and I was incredibly nervous. Fast forward to today, and I’ve developed my own teaching style and am very passionate about helping other groomers have a better start in this industry.
What are some of your proudest moments as a groomer?
Winning my first grooming competition with my muse Esme by my side is one of the proudest moments I’ve experienced in my career. Gaining my grooming qualifications and being named Asian Fusion Groomer of the Year at the International Grooming Conference are also high on the list. Last year, I was even invited to Australia to judge and speak at Mastergroom! I have been very fortunate to achieve so much, but I have put in a lot of hard work and long hours to get to this point, and I still have so much more I want to learn and achieve.
Lisa and the crew at Mastergroom in Australia.
Any advice for dog groomers who would like to be part of the grooming community but don’t know how to go about it?
Support in this industry from other groomers who understand the struggles and benefits of being a groomer is vital. Reach out to your local groomers and make friends, have local meet-ups, help each other when needed and share advice. Having friends in the industry helps make it a much more enjoyable experience. Make online grooming friends by introducing yourself in groups, sharing your grooms, hints and tips. And most importantly, if you see a groom you love, support that post with likes and comments. Being supportive of and sharing someone else's achievements goes a long way Start to attend events like Crufts, trade shows, seminars and dog grooming competitions, even if you have no one to attend with. Go alone and you will always find someone like-minded and willing to chat.
Another great Asian Fusion styling from Lisa.
My involvement in the grooming industry has progressed from a groomer and competitor to an educator and judge. Yet I still learn new techniques from each event I attend, and I believe continued learning is so important as a groomer. My deeper understanding of dog anatomy, the health of the skin, and the growth cycle of the coat have had a huge impact on what products I now use. I always strive to use products that continually improve coat conditions, which helps a lot when using dogs for competitions and events.
What changes have you seen in the grooming industry and where do you see it heading?
Industry thoughts and methods change just in the same way as grooming styles do. But I believe the most necessary and welcome of all those changes is the need for less waste in the industry and higher quality ingredients in products. And Doglyness is currently paving the way for this most needed change.
I also hope to see this industry become regulated in some way so that grooming can be seen as a more credible job to pet parents and be seen as a good career choice.
Grooming styles always change; breed standards alter by what is desirable in the show ring, and pet styles may alter according to fashion and trends of the moment. I believe current styles are created by famous social media dogs, and Asian fusion styles are so popular due to the teddy bear styles evolving into something a little cuter and more modern and stylish. I hope Asian styles are here to stay, but I’m sure they will continue to evolve especially as technology does.
What is the most important thing you look out for when choosing products to use on your fur-clients?
The most important thing to me is that the products are completely safe for animals and are made from high-quality ingredients. I have worked in many salons over the years using a variety of different products and have seen some that actually have a negative effect on skin and coat health. When I opened my own salon, it was very important to me that I used products that, not only kept the animals' skin and coat in good condition but actually improved it. That is how I found Doglyness. Not only did the products do everything that they said they could, I also fell in love with the company's ethics. They sit in line with my own in that they are plastic-free, zero waste, vegan, organic, and contain no nasty or artificial chemicals. I started to test the products on my poodle, Viktor, who always had a difficult coat to manage. But after a few months, his coat was thicker, stronger, and shinier than it ever had been. I found my favorite product after years of trying everything.
Viktor getting a groom with Doglyness!
How important was it to you to find sustainable grooming products? And what does the market look like for sustainable/eco-friendly products?
My salon is quite unique in the fact that I work alone and 1-2-1 with only a small number of appointments available per day. I try to provide a relaxing environment to focus more on comfort at the same time as providing more styled grooms. In line with this, it is very important to me to make sure I use the highest quality products that match my ethics and branding. I have tried many products that claim to be natural, but upon further investigation, I realized that natural branding can be used on products that still contain synthetic ingredients, which can be quite misleading. I love that Doglyness is the only product in the pet industry that is certified vegan, organic, and 98% natural.
Do you think that other groomers could benefit by using Doglyness?
I believe that Doglyness can be a huge benefit to any brand, company or groomer in terms of ethics, performance and long-term improvement in both skin and coat health. I truly believe they are the best products I have used, and I have tried a lot of different brands and products during my career. I see so many big differences with the long-term use of Doglyness. Coats are easier to manage and dry quicker. They don’t tangle as easily, and they stay clean and protected for longer between baths. Coats are also stronger and shinier than with other products. The difference is so easy to see if a Doglyness coat is next to one using other products.
I love the new 5L grooming sets, especially as they come in 5X1L plastic-free bottles. I understand that as a natural product, the shelf life can be less compared to a product with artificial preservatives. The 1L bottles are a great way to make sure the products stay fresh and safe and that groomers get exactly what we need in volume of product. I was one of the lucky groomers that has tried out the new groomer box, and I loved that all the packaging was in keeping with the normal Doglyness company ethics, and even with 1L bottles, they remain vegan, I believe the need for plastic alternatives in the grooming industry is very necessary as we use so many products which are normally supplied in plastic containers.
Do you find there is client demand for more natural and chemical-free dog grooming products? Are pet owners enquiring about the products that groomers use?
I believe pet owners are becoming more informed and careful about pet care and the products they use on their pets. I have seen an increase in clients asking for only natural products to be used and improvements in dogs that have allergies to many other products. I believe pet owners now want to seek out the best care for their pets, and this includes grooming and feeding. If a groomer advertises that they only use premium, natural products, they will naturally attract new clients with the same ethics. And that helps us to run our business more successfully and in line with our own personal beliefs.
Where can our community find and connect with you?
I am so honored to be a part of the UK Doglyness team, I love attending events and spreading the word about how amazing Doglyness is. I run a pet grooming salon in the High Peak area of the UK and offer grooming services such as Asian fusion styling, breed standard grooming, hand stripping, and nail trimming for small to medium breeds.
Lisa offers 1-2-1 training sessions for groomers.
Alongside grooming, I offer 1-2-1 day sessions for other groomers who wish to learn Asian fusion styling or enhance their day-to-day grooming and to make their style stand out from the crowd. I teach every skill level from newly qualified to more experienced groomers looking to improve on style and finish.
Online, I do regular full grooming webinars on different breeds to help share my grooming styles and techniques. These can be rewatched at any time via private Facebook groups, please contact me on any of my social media platforms to purchase. I currently have 4 available covering Asian fusion Poodle, Asian fusion Schnauzer, Extreme Asian drop coat, and salon teddy trim drop coat. Later this year, I hope to do a doodle salon trim webinar showing how to use different techniques to make the most of their coat types and how to correct body structure. I regularly speak at events and in organized seminars and workshops… keep an eye on my social media platforms for upcoming events.
Lisa Hart will be with the Doglyness UK team at Crufts, held from March 9 - 12, 2023 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. You can find her at the Doglyness UK stand (Hall 2 - Stand 74) where she will be working from Friday, March 10, and hosting demos. Lisa will be doing a demo on Signature Grooming at 2pm on March 10th, with her dog Viktor. And she will be hosting an additional demo on Asian Fusion Grooming on Tutu the film star dog on March 12 at 2pm.
Find and follow Lisa Hart on:
Or visit her website: Lisa Hart Grooming