Diamonds in the Ruff was founded by Master Groomer, Ashley Odom; with over 9 years of experience in the grooming industry and a strong passion for enhancing the beauty of pets. Ashley strives to create an environment where both the pet and pet parent can enjoy a trip to the grooming salon without feeling apprehensive. Her goal is to provide exceptional service but also to create a fun and loving atmosphere for your pet. Ashley is passionate about her craft, but what sets her apart from the rest is everything she does is from the heart. Read our interview with the lovely Ashley below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
More than anything my daughter inspired me to open my own business. Not only did I want to leave her a legacy, but I also wanted to create a pet grooming salon like no other.
Tell us about your business.
Diamonds in the Ruff is a luxury grooming salon that has the look and feel of a 5 Star spa. We offer basically every service that is pet safe; show cuts, custom hair coloring, nail polish, doggy tattoos, feather extensions, nail grinding, and many other unique services.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes, we have a life-long promotion for all new clients; every new client receives $10 off their first groom. We also have a loyalty program, which is rare for grooming salons. Once our client reaches the fifth groom, they receive 30% off their grooming service.
At the age of 18, I completed my education for dog and cat grooming; I was then awarded with my certificate as a professional groomer. Within a year, I was promoted to salon manager, making me the youngest salon manager in my entire district, at the age of 19. At the age of 24 I decided to resign from my position, I purchased a storefront, and opened Diamonds in the Ruff.
Where is, your business based?
Diamonds in the Ruff is in Lincoln Park, NJ.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
My first step was making sure that I had the financial security to open a business. I had to keep in mind that I had a little girl that depended on me for her survival. Once I felt comfortable with my financial position, I did a lot of research. Just to name a few; I considered the best areas, how many local competitors that would potentially be fair close to my business, how busy the areas were, and a few other important factors. My final step was getting all the advice that I could possibly get in regards to being a business owner. There was no such thing as too much information. I wanted to know what were some of the possible obstacles that I would face in business, and how to overcome a few of them.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Honestly, word of mouth. People love to brag about how great their pets look after a spa day. Usually when a qualified pet stylist comes into play, word spreads quickly. Besides, word of mouth I just make sure I stay involved with everything. I’ve introduced myself to different veterinarian offices, shelters, some local pet stores, anywhere that I can meet people who have and love pets. I wanted people to know the person behind Diamonds in the Ruff, and what better way than to introduce the owner herself. Another method for spreading awareness is social media. That has been my biggest portal for new clients, I post pictures and videos every day of my work, and the response rate is unbelievable. Every day we are getting new clients finding out about us through social media.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Understanding that I cannot make everyone happy, and that’s just a part of life no matter what you do. I envisioned opening a salon where everyone that walks out of my doors are satisfied. Unfortunately, there are times when I must make judgement calls, honestly for the safety of the pets, and sometimes pet parents aren’t always happy about that. Luckily for me I’ve maybe had only two or three unhappy parents out of hundreds since I’ve been opened. That’s what counts to me.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I just keep a positive spirit. That’s really it. Being a salon manager for such a long time, I knew that there will be a few challenging clients that I would face at some point. So, I have this theory that if you keep feeding the negative energy with positive, you’ll be just fine, and that’s exactly what I do stay positive.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I get my tablet, log onto the Facebook, and just read all the incredible and heartwarming reviews that clients leave on the business page. Seeing such positivity, and knowing that I’ve touched people in so many ways just warms my heart. All the negative thoughts are immediately washed away after I read those comments. I just continue to push and do what I love. This is my passion and I could never see myself giving up on it.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I do everything from the heart. This isn’t just a way to pay bills, I love every second of it and I know I will for the rest of my life. I’ll always go that extra mile for my clients it doesn’t matter what the need is, if I can physically do it, it will be done. Some of my clients are family to me now. I can’t tell you how many grandparents that my daughter has now, lol. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve shared difficult times and great times with some of these amazing people. And I’ve realized that many of them are “once in a lifetime” individuals. I’m always real, what you see is what you get, and that’s the one thing clients love about me more than anything else.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Keep being Ashley.” The best advice that could ever be given to me and I live by that every day.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up. There will be times in our career where it may be difficult, but keep that positive spirit and you’ll make it!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Facebook and Instagram. I enjoy being able to show my work to world, and I absolutely love the feedback.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #diamondsintheruff #thepetgroomingsalonlikenoother #mastergroomer #dogstylist #catstylist #petstylist #njgroomer #doggyspa #dogspa
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t” by Bill McBean. A great read! Especially for new business owners.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Right now, I’m still studying the art of Creative Grooming. I want to continue helping clients express their creativity through their pets. Also, I would like to continue networking and reaching out to fellow entrepreneurs, to collaborate on finding ways to bring our businesses to the next level.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Currently, I’m working on a jewelry line for the shop, hopefully by the beginning of summer of 2017 we can finally launch. There are a few other surprises that I have up my sleeve, but everyone is going to have to stay tuned to find out what else is in store for Diamonds in the Ruff.