February 2021

dog people: Grooming business makes magic through service, excellence, impact

Author: Cheryl Alexander | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

The Dog People: (from left to right) Samantha Tucker, Jane Misra, Donnie Blackburn, Victoria Tesh and Kat Bran

In 2017, Jane Misra’s life dramatically shifted. Her family was living in Atlanta and had just celebrated her twins’ second birthday when her husband suddenly died of a heart attack. Not only was she forced to deal with a heartbreaking loss, but she also had to figure out how to make a living and support her children as a single mom.

With a professional business background in operations, Misra had expertise in accounting, process and procedure, strategy, and entrepreneurial business development. She knew she wanted to start a business that she could be passionate about and one that would have a positive impact. Deciding on a passion was the easy part.

“One of the first things I did when I moved away from home in 1988 was get a dog,” Misra said. “I love having pets and have had dogs, cats or both for most of my adult life.”

Putting a positive spin on a pet business is where she has been able to use her business acumen. She opened dog people in May of 2017 with her dog groomer Victoria and Victoria’s husband Donnie, out of a desire to do mobile dog grooming differently. “We wanted to create a next level grooming service that focused its attention on making sure the dog’s experience is always the top priority,” Misra explained.

They started the business in Atlanta with the founding principle of offering service that exceeds the “industry standard.” They also wanted it to truly be a DOG experience, by ensuring that the dog enjoys the entire process. For example, dog people considers the smallest, most trivial details—such as ambient noise in the grooming environment—as well as prioritizing things other places may never even consider, like having just the right water pressure or using a standardized all-natural shampoo.

Aside from opening and growing a new business, Misra’s priorities included rebuilding her life and cultivating the kind of life experiences she desired for herself and her children. So, in March of 2019, they moved to Hilton Head Island.

“Not moving the business here was never even considered,” Misra said. “We have a vision and a mission, and we are not done accomplishing it.”

On July 1, 2019, Misra opened for business on the island with the mobile grooming van, then a year later, on June 1, 2020, dog people headquarters, located at 807 William Hilton Parkway, opened its doors with the mission to catalyze radical change in every corner of the dog world, beginning with grooming.

Dog people offers mobile grooming and in-shop grooming, day-care, and boarding, assuring that all their clients receive the same standard of quality service across both platforms. “Our mobile grooming service is not a ‘light’ version of our in-shop grooms,” Misra explained. “We use the best mobile grooming conversion vans in the industry in order to make sure we maintain maximum dependability and efficiency while providing the highest quality of service.”

The mobile van is a great option for dogs that may not do well in the shop due to anxiety or other temperament conditions. It is also excellent for older dogs who do not get in and out of cars with ease. Dog people is also unique in that they do not crate dogs, whether in the van or in the shop.

Dog people’s other primary focus is to provide exceptional employment for groomers. Misra believes that by offering groomers above-industry wages and a work-life balance philosophy that affords quality family time will result in the best possible environment for the dogs her groomers maintain.

Dog people groomers are selected based on their current ability and skill as well as their desire for continuing education. Potential groomers are interviewed, their work is reviewed, and then they must demonstrate at least three breed standard cuts. Currently there are two full-time groomers whose combined experience exceeds 35 years, and other groomers are in training. Then each top groomer works with new groomers to pass along the standard of excellence and provide tools and resources for continual improvement.

“There is a definite ripple effect here,” Misra said. “Our groomers love their jobs; the dog clients receive excellent grooming and leave happy; and the owners see their happy dog, they are happy; then, possibly later, while on a walk still infused with happiness, the dog owner might talk to a neighbor walking by who was having a bad day and make them smile. And it all started with a groomer who is happy to come to work.”

This business equation: service + excellence + impact creates the well-loved dogs Misra strives to create at dog people. As dog people grows and expands, the goal is to create a contagious “dog people” culture. Current efforts also now include a charitable partnership with the Palmetto Animal League where they currently sponsor efforts to get dogs and cats adopted to “FURever” homes.

Dog people is proud of the co-caring rapport they offer to dogs and their owners by providing tools, resources and support for all things dog people might encounter along their journey. “If we do not know the answer to your question, we will reach out to our community and try to find help wherever possible,” Misra assured.

The good just goes on and on—from the groomer to the dog to the owner to the neighborhood, and then out to the community. dog people operates on the belief that good begets good. Thus, with this driving principle, they have taken dog grooming as a small business, deconstructed it to its essential components, and revised it to make it the best experience for the dog and groomer alike. And they are committed to continually revising to be as empowering and effective as possible.

“When the focus is on being in service and how we can make a positive impact,” Misra said, “the rest is the impact, the magic.”

For more information, visit dogpeople.dog or call (843) 341-3322.

Let Us Know what You Think ...

commenting closed for this article

Social Bookmarks