The Pom Spa:
How a Pomeranian
owner turned their
passion into a
Meet Jasmijn, the pomeranian owner who turned her love for grooming her furry friend into a thriving business. Located in a small town, Pom Spa is the ultimate destination for pomeranians to indulge in a luxurious spa experience. Read her inspiring story, full of challenges, and tips for maintaining a successful business in the dog grooming industry.
In this article...
What made you start your own spa?
I have a Pomeranian dog myself, and it was hard to get him to a big grooming salon. I couldn't really find something that I liked. So they did grooming lessons somewhere in the Netherlands, and I thought, "I can do the grooming lessons so I can groom my own dog." After that, I saw they had bubble baths for dogs, and I was like, "Oh, I want that for my dog too." Then I thought of doing it for friends and family because many of my friends have the same breed of dog. That’s when my partner said, "If you're going to do this, you have to take it seriously and do it the right way." So we made a little bit of a business plan and started the spa.
“I can take grooming lessons and groom my own dog. ”
How has the journey been so far?
We started building the space in two months. When I officially opened it went really well because I had the summer off from my work. I had a lot of free time to focus on it and it was really full then. Now I work three days a week and two nights, and I can see it's full. It used to be a little bit all over the place but now it’s going well and I can look ahead.
“People called to make appointments while I was at my other job. So I couldn't pick up the phone. That's when I found Vev. ”
What made you start using Vev?
I started the spa in January 2022, not very long. I also have another job at a school. I constantly got calls from people that wanted to make an appointment while I was at my other job and I couldn't pick up the phone. So I was looking for something I could use to make the appointments, and I didn't want to pay for it. That's how I found Vev. When people contact me now, I send them a standard message, "You can go to this website, and you can book." This way I don't spend too much time making the appointments. I recently saw that you could also could get paid with Vev. So I activated that!
How did you figure out pricing?
During my internship in a nearby village, I did five euros below the regular price, because I was a starter, whereas they did it for like 15 years. Now, my prices are going to be the same as theirs. And that's the same as everyone here. That's for the basic treatment. And if you want extras, then prices go higher. I guess my basic price is the same as everyone around me. That was an easy decision in that sense.
How do you manage payments?
Sometimes clients ask me if I take cash. The spa is built next to my house, so I don't want to have too much money around. So maybe if they see a prepayment option, they are like, "Oh, I can pay in advance, so I can transfer it to your bank account." Then, I don't have to take cash. I also use Tikkie -a dutch online payment request system- after the treatment. It doesn't feel really professional, but people don't mind. In regards to having a 50% prepayment, I would leave that optional. If clients pay half, I should remember to ask for the other half while working. So it would be nice if prepayment is optional.In the Vev app it is easy to see if the treatment was paid for.
What was your first appointment like?
I was really nervous, and we were renovating the garden at the time because that was really ugly. We thought it was stupid to let customers just walk into an ugly garden because they would be like, "Oh, does't look great, we've got to go." So I texted my client and said, "Please don't mind the garden because we're renovating it." I was just really concerned about those little things around us, and she didn't care at all. It was a big relief when she was happy. As for the treatment, I was not nervous. I did my internship and I did the same thing just in another place. And before the client arrived, I practiced a little bit on my dog in my own space, so it was not really that weird.
It’s funny how she found me. I think it was on Google. I wasn't open when she called. I had a website but didn't really look at it anymore as we were still rebuilding. So she called and said, "Can I make an appointment?" And I replied, "Well, no, because I'm not open yet." She was okay with waiting for two months.
When someone asks me if it went well, I'm always like, "Yeah, they said it went well, but I don't know if they mean it." But I know they mean it when they make a new appointment. So the next day she made a new appointment and then I was really happy.
When someone asks me if it went well, I'm always like, "Yeah, they said it went well, but I don't know if they mean it." But I know they mean it when they make a new appointment.
How often do clients rebook?
I recommend them to come back after two months. But I have people who come every other week because they want to have a really clean dog. I also have people who would like it every five months. But yeah, I'm not so happy with that because it's not so good for the dog, but it's also a money thing.
Do you adjust the price per dog?
The payment is the same because I think that's easier. However, there are a lot of groomers that work with a time price and say how much it is at the end. But I prefer not to do that. It is harder when the dogs haven't visited for a long time. I adjust the price when the dogs are really 'knotted' -I don't know if you say that- but when they have in the hair little knots. I have to comb for a long time then so clients pay extra for that half hour. But I don't really ask it that often.
How do you promote your spa?
The first weeks I did advertisements through Facebook, which is connected to Instagram. I focused on that during the first three months, and it worked well. I prepared the advertisement, and then chose the target groups. I wasn’t familiar with it, so I just did luxury fashion. I mean, I didn't know, but I just gambled. The spa is going pretty well right now, and I don't have time for it. So I use Google more. I think you can choose €2 a day or something, and then you appear on top. And that works fine.
I feel better with the Google advertisement because with Facebook, I felt like I was forcing it on people a little bit. Sometimes people would say, "Oh, I saw your ads." I mean, it was fine. But if I do it for six weeks, they see it maybe three or four times, and then I think it gets annoying. So I will continue with advertisements on Google and keep being active on Instagram and Facebook, my own pages.
How does Vev work for you?
Really good. I mostly use it on my phone, but sometimes, if I have my laptop at the spa, I go to my laptop. I don't really hold up the emails anymore. Now I know when I work, and then I look who's coming on Vev. When the dog is finished, I always call them. So then I use Vev again because otherwise, I have to save every telephone number.
I see around three or four dogs per day. The day before, I check on the app how late I have to start so I can fix everything in the space. And then during the day, I look how late everyone's coming, so I can see if I can have a break in between.
“I once had a dog that bit me. I called the pet owner and said 'You can come pick it up. I'm not going to groom it further.' ”
What has been challenging?
Maybe not relevant, but sometimes I had a biting dog and declined it. I called and said, "You can come and pick it up. I'm not going to groom it further." Another challenging thing now is doing some purchases to open a little webshop. I ordered a lot of stuff and am not sure whether I will sell it, and I'm afraid to be stuck with 20 harnesses and collars for the rest of my life. What is challenging is that you have to take a risk and buy something that costs you money without knowing whether it will bring anything to the table.
What are your plans for the future?
For now, I hope regular clients return. I can't complain about what I have. If they all return or 60% returns, that works fine because the dogs come here for treatment every other month. Then I'll be really full already. That's also because I work at my other job too. And at the end of the year, my contract is finishing. So if that's not renewed, I will focus on growing more and do this full-time.
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