ABOVE PHOTO: Millennial dog groomer Rahanna Gray in front of her mobile Stylish Pooch business. (Photo: Courtesy Kendall Alexander)
By Kendall Alexander
Sometimes interactions with business owners can be a bit frustrating. They are overly proud of their brands, defensive of their product, and feel as if they have no room for growth because they’ve already made a name for themselves. I’m not talking about anyone in particular, but if you find yourself getting offended, maybe change it up. Rahanna Gray is different. In fact, she is one of the most genuine business women I know.
Gray, the owner of Stylish Pooch Mobile Grooming, is the type of young woman on the ground handling business and doing it on her terms. Contrary to what some folks may think about millennials, her standards are high, and her dreams are large. She is willing to do what is necessary to take her business of dog grooming to the next level.
Maybe it’s because the passion she expresses for what she does outshines everything else. Or the care and concern she takes with each client to make sure their needs are met, leaving them feeling better than when they arrived. It could be her dedication to her trade, knowing that even when there are setbacks, there is a way to learn and come back stronger.
A graduate of W. B. Saul High School, School District of Philadelphia High School, Gray always loved animals. Originally, she had dreams of becoming a vet, but she didn’t like seeing injured animals, so she decided that wasn’t her path. One of her former high school teachers asked her what her plans were after graduation and she said she wanted to do dog grooming. The teacher told her she knew of someone who worked at Petsmart, and one summer turned into seven years.
Gray left Petsmart in March, and has had her truck since October of last year. Since March, she hasn’t looked back, and Gray says business is booming.
She was listening to the radio one night and heard a shout out for her business by Mannwell Glenn, host of “The Breakdown” on WRNB – 100.3, leading to over 100 calls the next day. Her phone was inundated with so many new customers, the calls went straight to voicemail.
“I absolutely love dog grooming,” Gray said. I love the different kind of cuts I can do, the different crazy colors clients want their animals to be and the animals are so sweet. [There’s] some that aren’t so sweet, but to watch them leave happy is just an amazing feeling.”
While she already offers clients color, Gray is looking to get into creative grooming a little more. Browsing some images of the cuts is like the canine version of a Bronner Brothers show! Dogs become football players, or have images of cartoons cut into their fur. It is really something else. Gray has had clients ask for their pooch to get dyed rainbow colors or two toned, making their pets the talk of the town.
She operates her business from a repurposed recreational vehicle. From the outside, you would never know magic is created in that space. It just looks like a vacation vehicle. But stepping inside reveals a full setup of a doggie salon, complete with a bathing area in the back of the truck, a grooming table and supplies near the front, and bandanas and collars in cabinets along the ceiling.
She travels anywhere she is needed, from West Philly to as far as Delaware. Some of her canine clients have experienced some anxiety either because they have never been groomed before or it’s been a while, but Gray has an endearing spirit about her. The animals can sense this, relax, and frequently don’t want to leave after she’s finished perfecting their appearance. She has also done work for a couple of owners that have neglected the importance of grooming, to the point that whole clumps of fur have to be cut off because of severe matting.
While business is booming, Gray wouldn’t be a true entrepreneur if she didn’t experience obstacles. Her truck requires a lot of gas, and sometimes it gets nicks because she has to maneuver down tiny streets. Aside from that, her truck needs some repairs, and she is in need of more supplies since the demand is increasing.
“I try to stay as positive as I can because any career can be tough,” said Gray. “I just have to tell myself ‘it’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna get better, you do it for the love of animals.’ That’s pretty much what keeps me going.”
Standard poodles are Gray’s favorite breed, and she has been to grooming expos the last three years. She not only wants to expand her business and purchase another truck, she also wants to create a doggie clothing line, dog treats, and a brick and mortar salon, as well as become involved in more charity events. Summer has kept her busy, as July was completely filled. The Christmas season gets hectic too.
The bigger dogs can be a challenge because the work table in the truck isn’t very large, so there’s quite a bit of maneuvering that needs to be done to handle dogs the size of a Great Dane or a Siberian Husky.
Gray accepts donations of any kind, so if you want to contribute, the more, the merrier! Find her on social media on Instagram @_stylishpooch_ and Facebook at Stylish Pooch Mobile Grooming. You will not be disappointed by this young lady’s professionalism and charisma with your furry friend!
For more information, call or shoot Gray a text at 267-582-6413 or email her at [email protected].
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