Correspondent Netra Venkateshwaran met up with Jennifer Tavadia owner of Curly Tails, to know about her ambitious story as an Entrepreneur, Pet Stylist, and Canine Trainer.
Like all budding achievers, Jennifer’s tale is that of courage and determination to accomplish her goals.
1. Hi Jennifer, tell us something about yourself?
Hi, I’m Jennifer Tavadia, I’m 23 years old and in the last 10 months I have been a Pet Stylist and a Canine Trainer and I feel like I was put on earth to do this. I spent my childhood surrounded by animals and it was always about doing something related to animals but I didn’t know where or how to start. Having spent most of my life around dogs, nothing can be compared to the sense of fulfillment I have when I am working with man’s best friend. I wake up every day knowing that I am actually pursuing my calling and not just doing ‘a job’. I am living a life that brings my passion, hopes, dreams, and contentment, and now livelihood- all on the same page.
I also did my Pet Grooming Course during the same time from Pampered Paws in November – December 2018 at Kemps Corner. It was a little juggle with both canine training and grooming, but it’s fun as training brings a different aspect of me as compared to grooming, but what’s really common between both is that firstly you need to be an avid dog lover. I wouldn’t say animal lover as I’m dealing with dogs in general than animals.
2. What prompted you to enter this particular space?
So, it was a completely different story a year back. I was applying for admissions in several MBA colleges in Bombay. That is what people make it seem like you need to get into the top 10-15 MBA colleges to be there. It was more of a ‘herd mentality’ way of following people because everyone is doing or has done an MBA, or a CA and graduation and I knew this is something that eventually I will have to end up doing. But I always knew in my heart, that even though I would want to do an MBA, I would earn the bucks, and branch out in something like this. So even if you being a dog trainer isn’t easy, it’s a huge investment as well. It’s not just a thousand bucks, it’s a lot of money and you need to be able to afford the course and you only do that course if you’re dead serious about it. You do not do that course just for the fun of it. My parents actually pushed me to do this saying that why not do this now rather than doing it 10 years down the line. However, the battle of what people would say was in my mind, that “Oh! You know she left her MBA to become a dog trainer,” I did have a lot of people ask me that “Are you serious?! You are a dog trainer now and don’t you think MBA was a better deal?”
I always knew Shirin, but never knew how to begin as a dog trainer. So, I got in touch with her via an E-mail and we took off from there. I have been with dogs since I was a kid and at one point we had five dogs in the house. I have volunteered during my college life for WSD and SPCA and liked supervising dogs at the shelters or anything to do with dogs. But I just did not know how to get onto that track and that’s where Shirin came in and I did the trainer course. I knew a lady in Bengaluru who did dog grooming and did teach about the field to kids, but I was in two minds if it’s worth going there and doing it. So, I checked out things in Bombay and did get to know about Janhavi. I met her and she was just like, “See you know everyone comes and says that I want to become a groomer. So, why don’t you wait back a day and see how this whole thing works. If you’re up for it we can take this forward.”
Although I went to meet her for just 10-15 mins, I ended up staying the day and helping around drying dogs and all of it and instantly knew that this is just my thing. So, I got back to her saying I have thought about it and went ahead with the grooming course. During the grooming course, I learned a lot about the dog’s body structure because that’s something you really need to know as a groomer. You need to know how their hind legs are and how exactly do you need to lift it up whilst scissoring. If you handle it in a wrong way you may dislocate a bone or so. You need to know things about their ears, or how deep their ears are and symptoms of ear infections. We notice things. We notice your dog’s new aches and pains. We notice things you may not because it is a gradual change that may not be obvious. Most groomers have saved a life by noticing a change and letting you know in time.
Then I started with home grooming, which is a totally different ball game. For this, I had to carry a shampoo bottle (which is very small) to my most expensive scissors and clippers. So, I did home grooming for a good 4-5 months and I’m glad that I did it because it taught me the hard side of grooming. Salon grooming is a lot more convenient as I have all the facilities under one roof. For home grooming, it’s hard to carry everything in a backpack and not everyone provides you with a table to groom the dog on. Most of the time its in the bathroom or some corner on the floor. Home grooming would be very time consuming because the dog is in his environment, so he tends to dominate you. As a groomer or a trainer, I can NEVER hit the dog not like I ever would but no matter what, you always have to be patient. This is when my training steps in when I have to handle a dog. You constantly need to be very kind, gentle and composed to achieve your goal. Moreover, you need to understand the dog and his level of discomfort. I stand by the fact of comfort must come before vanity. So that’s where training and grooming is a balance of both.
3. How are you different from other grooming salons in Bombay and how do you stand out?
So, first thing, I did my grooming course at a very young age. I’m 23 and probably the youngest groomers in Bombay. I’m a certified groomer, who has done a professional grooming course with Pampered Paws. Being a certified groomer and trainer at this age definitely gives me an upper hand in being updated with the ongoing market trends. What makes Curly Tails different from other grooming salons is that it has my personal touch and the fact that I believe in hygiene. I love keeping my salon extremely clean. I believe that hygiene is the number one factor as I wouldn’t bring my dog to an unhygienic salon. I constantly have my brushes, table and the bathtub sanitized and disinfected as each pet leaves and we are ready for the next one. I prioritize spending on cleanliness as I find it key to my brand standards along with my personal touch.
4. How do you wish to expand your existing brand Curly Tails?
Curly Tails is the first branch I have at Worli and I always wanted to have a second branch somewhere in the suburbs. So maybe looking at it like in another 2-3 years down the line I should have another branch there. And I will be shifting from here to there, just like vets. I will have people working under me as helpers and groomers, but I would make sure that I would let my clients know that in the town I’m available on particular days of the week and the same for the suburbs.
Anchor & Correspondent • A part time journalist but a full time animal lover. Netra is an avid traveler, a caffeine addict and a food enthusiast. She also has a keen interest in fashion and luxury designer wear!