VIG Spotlight: Ricardo Hernandez

VIG Spotlight: Ricardo Hernandez

Posted by Kelsey Mailloux, Digital Marketing Strategist on 14th Jun 2024

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 Ricardo Hernandez of Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

GC: Tell us your grooming story. 

RH: I had always wanted to be a Dolphin Trainer. After graduating college, I got internships in Hawaii and in San Diego, California, where I trained dolphins (and sea lions), and eventually, I trained penguins in Dubai. After returning to the U.S., I moved from job to job. As much as I enjoyed working with those animals, I was ready for some stability and to live close to my family. 

I was working as a substitute teacher but had no work during the summer. One summer, I applied as a dog trainer at Petco. I didn’t get the position, but they mentioned there was an opening in the grooming salon. After completing my training and working in a corporate grooming environment for a few years, I decided it was time to move on and branch out on my own. 

After getting a small loan from my family, I purchased grooming equipment to start an in-home grooming business – Your Pets Are So Fine. A few years later, I was able to save enough for my grooming van. I’m currently working on my Master Groomer Certification. 

Ricardo Hernandez with his mobile grooming van

GC: What interested you about becoming a dog groomer? 

RH: I always credit Jonathan David and the cast of the "Groomer Has It" television show for inspiring me to become a groomer. I had no idea what groomers did or that there were grooming vans. By the end of the show, I wanted to be a groomer. But my parents were set on me going to college and getting a degree. Fast forward several years later and I’m in the office of Petco being told there is an opening in the grooming salon. The rest is history. 

GC: Do you have a favorite breed to groom? If so, why are they your favorite? 

RH: Poodles – there’s nothing more beautiful than grooming a Poodle with a clean face and feet! I feel no other breed cooperates more than the Standard Poodle. They look so regal. 

I also love Yorkies – mostly because that’s the breed my mom had when I was growing up – and Shih Tzus because I get to do some Asian Fusion styles with them. 

GC: What is your favorite thing about being a groomer? 

RH: The thing I love the best is educating people. I feel proud to be able to pass my knowledge along and help customers. Not everyone listens, but when they do, it’s a rewarding feeling. 

Once, I discovered a lump on a dog and encouraged the owners to schedule a vet appointment. They did, and the lump turned out to be a tumor. The dog had an emergency surgery and after a couple months of healing, he was back on my table. They were very grateful I spotted it and couldn’t thank me enough. 

GC: What is the best piece of grooming advice you've received? 

Pug being washed in a dog grooming tub

RH: “You can’t please everyone.” That was one of the first things my training manager told me. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. You can offer the sun, moon and stars to some customers, and they will still not be happy. 

I’ve also learned to “Stick with your guns.” Clients have ‘fired’ me for not plucking their dog’s infected ears or for refusing to shave down a Schnauzer with a No. 10 blade, so as not to damage the coat. In summary, don’t take it personally. Move on and do what you think is best for the dog. 

GC: What would you say to someone interested in becoming a groomer? 

RH: You must continue your education and keep learning at every opportunity, including webinars/seminars and grooming conventions. You also learn so much by competing and getting your Master Groomer Certification. Whatever you’re interested in learning about, there is a class on it. 

GC: Why do you choose to shop with Groomer's Choice? 

RH: I’m a little biased to be honest, because I was born in South Dakota – Rapid City to be exact. Groomer’s Choice does so much for the local community and for groomers across the country, I can’t help but feel compelled to support them! There hasn’t been a product yet that I haven’t liked. (Bark2Basics and The Coat Handler are the best.) 

I also enjoy Super Styling Sessions with Jay Scruggs and Sue Zecco! True story: I won a prize package during one of the webinars. I had just received my grooming van, and the prize had everything I needed to get started. It was as if Groomer’s Choice was saying “Go get ‘em Ricardo! We’ve got your back!” As sappy as that sounds, that’s exactly how I felt. I haven’t ordered from another distributor since. 

GC: What’s next for your grooming career? Ricardo Hernandez with Poodle at grooming competition

RH: Last year I entered my first grooming competition. I didn’t place, BUT I did get an Honorable Mention! The next step is to get my own dog and take this show on the road. I’m seriously considering getting an RV and traveling from competition to competition. Until then, I’m happy to continue servicing my current grooming clients with my grooming van/business. 

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