Groomers around the world inspire us. Their passion for pets and business consistently set the bar for the industry, which is why we'll be featuring stories from VIGs - very important groomers - like you. This month's spotlight features Parke and Ellison Odom of McKinney, Texas.
GC: Tell us your grooming story.
Parke: I started grooming when I was 18 years old working for a local mobile company. Ellison and I were dating at the time, and she babysat for the company’s owner. I learned as much as I could there and then went to a family-owned shop.
There, my mentor, Ragina, tested my skill and comically told me I didn't know anything about grooming. She made me restart with bathing. I took it as and challenge and badgered her for a while to teach me. While working there, Ellison and I got married and had a child. I stayed with that shop for around three years, but then left after someone new bought the business.
A few days after leaving, I started Odom Grooming (O.G.) out of my mom's front entryway – bathing dogs in her guest bathroom and relying solely on word-of-mouth.
After a few months, I called Ellison while she was at work and told her she probably needed to quit her regional accounting trainer job because I needed help with all the dogs! She thought I was nuts! Nonetheless, after some long talks and heavy budgeting, she gave her notice, took our kiddo out of daycare and learned to bathe for me.
Ellison: We risked going on one income but made sure the business would succeed. In that time, I took everything Parke taught me about bathing, went full nerd and did immense amounts of research. (I even developed my own shampoo line!)
During his time at the house, Parke also worked for a vet office as their groomer, and at one point he was working seven days a week. After a year, things got too busy to do both, and Parke decided to leave the vet office job to give his full attention to O.G. Instead of letting him go, the owner of the vet office offered to lease her building. Odom Grooming has been there ever since!
GC: Can you tell us more about Odom Grooming LLC?
Ellison: Parke and I are currently the only two groomers. We have three apprentices who bathe, blow-dry and prep the pups for us and are learning to groom! Each day we groom around 20 dogs, and the apprentices help do haircuts and learn how to scissor. We have a blast teaching them all we know!
We’ve won Best of McKinney each year from 2019 through 2023, have a waitlist of over 300 dogs and have done great things in a 400 sq. ft. building. We’re currently working toward expanding into a bigger building and becoming certified master groomers.
GC: What interested you about becoming a dog groomer?
Parke: The creative freedom, how independent I could be while mobile grooming and how rewarding it is to work with dogs.
Ellison: Originally, I didn't want to groom! I was terrified of putting scissors near a dog and was content with just bathing forever. Parke really pushed me toward it, and once I started, I really enjoyed it!
GC: Do you have a favorite breed to groom? If so, why are they your favorite?
Parke: Doodles – I love the size ranges they come in and how sweet, smart and goofy they are! My personality fits with theirs.
Ellison: Poodles, Pomeranians and Bichons. It's the hair for me! I love scissoring, and they're scissor intensive. I love their personalities as well, each one I have is boujee, and I'm a bit like that too.
GC: What is your favorite thing about being a groomer?
Parke: I love the bonds I get to make with each dog. Learning their personality traits is fun.
Ellison: Puppies! I love training them for grooming and teaching them to trust that it can be fun.
GC: What is the best piece of grooming advice you've received?
Parke: Educate your clients! It helps them value your skill more.
Ellison: If a dog is acting up, change what you are doing; don't blame the dog. At the end of the day, you're the one holding the scissors.
GC: What would you say to someone interested in becoming a groomer?
Parke: Work hard, lean into it and invest in yourself.
Ellison: If you want to learn, go all-in and immerse yourself. Don't give up when it gets hard; push through. Invest in high-quality equipment and take care of it. Also, take care of your body and learn proper techniques.
GC: Why do you choose to shop with Groomer's Choice?
Both: The customer service is amazing! We’ve never had anything shipped to us damaged or missing items. Our supplies always arrive at our shop in a timely manner!
Are you a groomer or pet professional? Want to be featured in a future Groomer's Choice blog post or magazine? Submit your grooming story!