Welcome to the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association Home Page!
www.IPPGA.com or www.IllinoisProfessionalPetGroomersAssociation.com
The IPPGA meets annually in person at the All American Grooming Show in Wheeling, Illinois each August. In 2017 we had our second annual meeting and our first booth at the Trade Show where we signed up dozens of NEW members! We welcome any member to consider serving on our Board of Directors. Please email IPPGA@aol.com if interested.
We do most of our business via our Facebook page. Even if you don’t like Facebook, consider a non-public account just for the purpose of being able to access the wonderful discussions and information on the IPPGA Facebook group.
IPPGA membership will now be offered FREE to all who qualify without dues charges because we have begun the process of finding corporate sponsors to cover our organizational expenses. To qualify for membership you must:
Be a professional pet groomer residing in Illinois
Or be a professional pet groomer in a border community of another state that does not have its own state groomer organization, and that may draw customers from Illinois.
Sign on to our CODE OF ETHICS (see below). We will publish on our membership page the names of all our member groomers so that customers looking to find the best groomer in their area will know that you are publicly committed to follow these ethical standards in your profession.
Agree to abide by the PPGSA National Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation in your grooming space or facility. (These basic common sense standards were created by a broad and diverse leadership of our industry across the nation recently in response to efforts to license and regulate our industry in a few states.)
Special thanks to industry leaders for leading the way on our need to have professional organizations in each state that will allow us to speak with one voice in proposed legislation that may affect us, and allow us to educate and to advance collegiality in our profession with one another.
Pet owners throughout Illinois looking for a great groomer for their beloved pets can rely on IPPGA members to be professionals committed to the highest standards.
IPPGA was formed out of our mutual commitment to excellence in caring for your pet and the need to educate the public about the importance of professional grooming for pets. We all have pledged to hold to national standards of safety, care, and sanitation. And our members also pledge to abide by the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct in their pet grooming.
Use our Member Directory (under construction) to find a trustworthy groomer in your local area that has pledged publicly to follow these high professional standards.
Groomers and members, please use our Facebook page to learn more and chat with other members.
Our annual meeting is held Saturday night of the August All American Grooming Conference held each year in Wheeling, Illinois. For more information about Illinois’ most important grooming event, see www.aagroom.com.
You can contact us at IPPGA@aol.com for more information or call IPPGA President Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins at 847-LUV-DOGS.
The goal of the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association is to enhance relations between pet groomers and consumers, promoting professionalism, safety, and sanitation within the Illinois grooming industry.
CODE OF ETHICS
As a member of the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association, Inc., I pledge to treat all animals entrusted in my care with kindness, patience, respect and compassion, and place their welfare above all else, ensuring their safety, health and well-being.
I pledge to exhibit proper professional behavior and maintain my grooming business with honesty and integrity at all times toward my clients as well as other professionals within in the pet care field.
I pledge to work toward the highest standards in pet styling, stay current with industry trends and continue to improve my capabilities as a professional pet groomer through continued education.
I pledge to provide education to my clients and the general public on the safety and benefits of professional pet grooming.
I pledge to promote harmony among my peers, contribute to the growth and development of myself, my fellow groomers and the grooming industry by encouraging professionalism, compassion and continuing education.
Looking for a groomer who you can trust to follow the highest standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation in the care of your pet? Want to make sure your groomer is publicly committed to ethics and professionalism in their grooming business practices? Then choose a groomer who has pledged, as a member of IPPGA, to uphold these principles. See our growing list of members (under construction during Fall 2017) for a great groomer in your area of Illinois or surrounding metro areas. Our members will soon be listed here.
Any professional pet groomer, grooming assistant, or other professional who works directly with groomers, and who works in, or lives in Illinois, or in a border metropolitan area such as NW Indiana, the Quad Cities or St. Louis, is welcome to join IPPGA by signing the pledge to abide by our Code of Ethics, by pledging to adopt PPGSA national Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation, and by posting their business with us on our Member Directory. While donations are accepted, we do not require dues from our hard-working members, and are grateful for the grooming industry businesses that sponsor and support us as we work to better the lives of the pets and families we serve by being the best at our profession that we can be.
THE HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL PET GROOMING AND THE IPPGA
While pet grooming is an ancient art dating back to the Middle Ages, it is only in recent decades that it has become truly professionalized. In the post World War II modern era, pet grooming has grown into a high demand, well-paying profession requiring significant skill, talent, and training.
Vocational educational Grooming schools in the United States began to appear as early as the 1960’s. Grooming text books and later videos allowed groomers, no matter where they lived and worked, to learn from industry leaders. Early visionary groomers in the 1970’s and 80’s began to encourage professional organizing and training for the industry as a whole, and companies that manufactured tools and products groomers were using helped in organizing and promoting educational opportunities for groomers. Some of the greatest advances for groomers, such as the series of competitions that results in the selection of Groom Team USA that represents us in international competition, have been made possible by not only hard-working volunteer groomers, but also by significant support from manufacturers of grooming equipment and supplies.
In the early 1980’s the first ever grooming conference was held in Chicago – more later on this. The idea of conferences for groomers was greeted with gratitude and excitement by groomers everywhere. Barkleigh Productions began to offer over a dozen conferences in different regions of the USA each year. At these conferences groomers can attend workshops led by industry experts, grooming competitions, and trade shows help us learn more and access the best in tools of the trade.
Most people in the public are not aware that the pet grooming profession in the USA is almost entirely unregulated. No required training or monitoring of skill or conditions, such as exists with, for example, the cosmetology field. No state at this time requires groomers to be licensed. We have heard grooming clients react with shock and even some fear to hear that this is the case. Currently, the public operates with the pet grooming industry under the caveat emptor principle – let the buyer beware.
While currently no groomer licensing exists and there are no requirements nationally or in any states in order to be able to charge for one’s services as a pet groomer, this may change in the near future. One county in New York recently adopted groomer registration (not licensing). Two states, California and New Jersey, have seen recent legislative efforts and difficult conversations around some form of state licensing for groomers, but none have been yet finalized or have become law. Still it appears that licensing and regulation, which many of us believe could be a good thing if done correctly, is coming – not “if” but only “when”. Groomers in every state are being urged by pet industry professionals such as PIJAC and WPA to plan to make sure our voices are heard in policy discussions that affect our work.
In the absence of governmental regulation, leading groomers began to encourage us to “regulate” ourselves – voluntarily. Several important national and international organizations now test and certify the competence and skill of groomers, and professional associations for groomers like IPPGA now exist to help groomers learn best practices in the industry. These certifications are entirely voluntary credentials that many good groomers now seek in order to improve themselves – and without state law mandates.
Groomers that are certified with IPG, NDGAA, or ISCC, the major grooming certifying organizations, will proudly display their certifications that they earned through rigorous voluntary testing and training in their businesses. New ways to certify groomers are even begin explored by the American Kennel Club, the AKC, which is the largest dog organization in the world.
The public is encouraged to ask questions of their groomers about our training, protocols, etc. Interview us as you would anyone you might hire to take care of members of your own family.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUING EDUCATION
Like all other professions, the grooming industry is constantly growing and changing. New discoveries, new science, new products, innovative techniques can make us even better at what we do. We in IPPGA welcome this and get very excited to learn new things, even those of us with decades of experience and mastery.
One example of why continuing education for groomers can be very important: for decades, squeezing and draining a dog’s anal glands during the bath has been standard procedure for most groomers. But recent veterinary studies revealed that routinely squeezing these delicate glands were actually causing two major problems down the road for the dog – they were breaking down the rectal wall muscles so that in later life, the dog may begin to have problems with normal rectal functioning. And second, they found that draining a gland actually in many cases caused it to over produce more of the smelly stuff, actually creating more problems than if we just let nature take its course. Veterinary leaders began to tell groomers at conferences and through professional recommendations that we stop doing this routine procedure. Owners often ask for it when they see their dog “scooting”. But this scooting is normal behavior that helps dogs expel from their glands naturally. Dogs will usually also be able to expel what they need as they defecate. Too much scooting, redness, discomfort, etc., – any problems in the anal glands should be treated by a veterinarian anyway, not a groomer. Good groomers who stay up on best practices are no longer routinely squeezing your dog’s anal glands, unless they are working under direct partnership with the family veterinarian. And this has meant that many of us have to spend time – repeatedly – telling our clients about this change in best practices in our industry. Change happens slowly and requires education of all veterinarians, pet owners, and groomers.
This is just one of the many reasons why organizations like IPPGA are formed – so that we can all help educate each other about what is best for your pet.
The real beginning of groomers gathering in a conference and competition happened right here in Chicago! The All American Grooming Conference was begun in the early 1980’s by a visionary and legendary Des Plaines area groomer, Jerry Schinberg, on whose shoulders we all now stand. One of Jerry’s last conversations with IPPGA founder Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, ICMG, was about the importance of resurrecting a state association in Illinois to help groomers to better themselves and the possible impacts of movements in other states to better regulate and possibly even license groomers.
There had been a previous incarnation of a professional association for groomers in Illinois in the 1990’s that gave us a good start, but it did not survive into the 21st century. All organizations require time and effort from passionate volunteers and money to help the organization function. Subsequently Illinois has not had a professional grooming association in decades.
In 2014, after inspiring conversations with the beloved late great grooming icon Jerry Schinberg, who was then suffering from terminal cancer, about the importance of professionalism for Illinois groomers, Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, who had been one of the first few dozen Certified Master Groomers tested and certified in the 1980’s, began a Facebook group in 2015 for an Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association, allowing Illinois groomers to more easily exchange ideas.
After conversations with industry leaders in the state such as Dan Vaughn, Certified Master Groomer, who runs groomer education programs in Chicago, Jennifer decided to donate the necessary legal fees and incorporated IPPGA in 2016. We consulted with national leaders who ran similar state groups elsewhere in the USA. With deepest thanks to the inspiring example of our colleagues in the California Professional Pet Groomers Association, whom we have modeled ourselves after, and helpful advice from Teri DiMarino, their President, we have adopted their excellent Code of Ethics and Mission statement as our own model.
IPPGA’s current Board of Directors includes Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Dan Vaughn, Sheryl Woods, and Jessica Lynn Pendergrass.
IPPGA members are required to work currently or formerly in the grooming profession or in some aspect of grooming businesses. They must live or work in Illinois or in a bordering community such as NW Indiana, the Quad Cities, or the St. Louis area. And they must sign a pledge to uphold our Code of Ethics and to abide by the national PPGSA Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation.
Illinois is now one of a handful of states that has now formed a state association devoted to promoting safety and care, ethical practices, and education of ourselves and the public about the importance of grooming your pets.
YOUR FAMILY, YOUR PET, AND YOUR PROFESSIONAL GROOMER
We leaders in the professional pet grooming industry throughout the United States now organize ourselves and set standards for ourselves, much as lawyers and doctors do. Groomers should proudly display in their businesses the training and certification, testing and memberships that they participate in to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in working with these precious live dogs and cats who are loved by their families.
We believe that the public is best served by groomers who work to educate themselves and demonstrate a level of skill and commitment to best practices.
While many good groomers can and do learn to do excellent work through the more traditional route of interning and apprenticing with more experienced groomers, some groomers are self-taught or grew up in the industry. Professional groomers should proudly and happily answer questions from prospective clients about their training, their protocols, their experience, their philosophy, their continuing education, etc.
The public can ask to tour the facility or even stay to watch the groom of their pets. Most groomers welcome client interest and are proud of the hard work they do on these pet family members, and are happy to educate the public about what we do.
Especially when discussing price for services, most pet owners in the public seeking “bargain prices” are amazed when they actually observe the groom just how incredibly hard groomers work to earn their wage. Pet grooming is both physically and psychically demanding. The groomer must control a living animal while bathing, drying, brushing, dematting, and cutting its hair and toenails. Pets often resist grooming, especially if they have not been trained to accept these procedures from their youth. And most pet owners have learned that they are not able to adequately groom their own pets at home – it is simply too hard to do. Professional pet groomer perform vital services to the health and well-being of your pet, and therefore, your family. Paying your groomer a living wage is money well spent.
Professional groomers truly study very hard to learn their craft, care deeply about the pets you entrust to them, and work far harder each day than most pet owners know. Professional pet groomers earn every penny they are paid – and then some.
And given the fact that there are hundreds of millions of dogs and cats in the USA, and only tens of thousands of groomers, clients do come to see the value of finding a good professional groomer, booking their appointments well in advance, and then keeping those appointments on time, paying the groomer a fair wage for the work asked of them, and then seeing the benefit in terms of a happier, healthier pet that feels better and is easier to manage at home. Good groomers are in short supply not just in the USA but all over the world. Demand always exceed supply.
IPPGA is building a state-wide directory of professional pet groomers who are publicly acknowledging their commitment to the highest professional standards in our industry. Clients in the public are encouraged to seek these groomers out and interview them when searching for a professional pet groomer.
Your pets are living, feeling, wonderful creatures who are beloved members of your family. You can feel good about choosing a pet groomer who has publicly pledged to abide by our IPPGA Code of Ethics, which includes continuing education. If your pet groomer is not a member of IPPGA, ask them about it, and encourage them to join. There is no dues – only a pledge to excellence in care.