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Humans of GOTAFE: Pawfect Style Pet Salon

GOTAFE Certificate III in Pet Grooming students Ali Henderson and Michelle Jackel have started up their own business called Pawfect Style Pet Salon.

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Post date: 24th July 2020

Everybody loves animals, but there is something particularly adorable about a funky pupper all dolled up, immaculately styled, dressed to impress. At GOTAFE, studying Pet Grooming combines a love of animals and aesthetics to bring happiness to the lives of humans and animals alike.

GOTAFE Certificate III in Pet Grooming students Ali Henderson and Michelle Jackel met during their studies and have since set up their own pet salon and dog daycare business called Pawfect Style Pet Salon.

Pawfect Style Pet Salon

Ali and Michelle had both taken different career paths before settling on their passion in pet grooming. Ali studied to be a primary school teacher and Michelle worked in administration and IT. Fate found the pair together in the same GOTAFE Pet Grooming class with mutual interests and a mutual goal in mind and before too long, Ali and Michelle were bravely commencing their journey into entrepreneurship.

Initially, the pair set up their business operating from Ali's garage and taking appointments from there. Aptly named 'Pawfect Style', they have recently relocated their stylish pet salon business to a proper shop front in Pascoe Vale.

Now, with plenty of pampered pups having passed through their salon, Ali and Michelle have kindly offered up their time to answer some questions pertaining to their studies for the GOTAFE Student Life Hub.

Pawfect Style

Animals are obviously amazing, and beautifully groomed animals are doubly amazing, but what made you decide to following the pet grooming career path?

Ali: I spent many years in the corporate environment in IT and administration, until unfortunately I found myself out of work and unable to secure a new position in a market that had essentially moved offshore. Family and friends asked me to look after their pets while they were away, and this led me to starting my own pet-sitting business.

Michelle: After finishing high school, I chose to be a primary school teacher. However, I was happiest being at home or at the local park surrounded by my fur babies. I switched gears and completed the Certificate III in Animal Studies before deciding whether to study Vet Nursing or Pet Grooming. I eventually chose Pet Grooming, as I love seeing a dog transform from scruffy to beautiful, and it also helped me to learn how to properly groom my own dogs.

What are some of the best aspects of your study at GOTAFE?

Ali: I love studying at the GOTAFE Werribee campus. I find the intimacy of a small campus very conducive to adult learning. The class size for the grooming classes are perfect, we get one or two dogs to groom by ourselves each day we have on campus and we can get access to our trainers and administrative staff as required.

Michelle: The best part of studying at GOTAFE is the people, definitely. I was in a class with five other ladies, and they are the best group of people you will ever come across; so friendly and supportive! Sherryn Smith, our trainer, is an amazing person. She really wants everyone to succeed and will do everything in her power to help you achieve your goals. Sherryn has been a huge part of helping me to become the groomer I am today.

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What has been the greatest part of your job so far? Any memorable stories to share?

Ali: The greatest part of our business is when grooming a dog can literally change their lives. I remember getting two pomeranians that had been rescued from a puppy farm and they were in a terrible state. One in particular was so matted it could hardly move. They needed to see a vet but the vet was unable to examine them in the state they were in. We had no choice but to shave them down extremely short. The little male dog was so terrified but when we started to remove the matted fur he seemed to realise we were helping him and relaxed while we did it. The two little dogs are now fit, healthy and getting all the love they deserve.

Michelle: The greatest part of co-owning Pawfect Style Pet Salon is seeing our return customers coming through the door, wagging their tails, and excited to be back fro their next grooming appointment. We know we have a good thing going when the dogs are happy to be at our salon.

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What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about studying Pet Grooming at GOTAFE?

Ali: Do it! Stop thinking about it, just do it! GOTAFE is by far the best Pet Grooming course I have found. I did a lot of research before heading to GOTAFE. It is a work-friendly option with only one day per fortnight, it is also budget-friendlyand they have a payment plan option if you need it.

Michelle: Definitely do it! The teachers and staff are amazing and always there to support you. The grooming equipment we use is of a very high standard, and there is always a dog or two for you to groom individually. Studying Pet Grooming at GOTAFE gives you the knowledge to become a successful dog groomer!

Okay, tricky question: cats or dogs? And why?

Ali: OMG! How can you ask me that question!? If you'd asked me 10 years ago, I would have landed squarely on Team Cats. But now, after spending several years working mainly with dogs, I have one foot in each team. I love how dogs will just run up to you like you are their long-lost friend, even if you have only been gone five minutes. When a cat snuggles into your lap, pummels you with their paws and purrs themselves to sleep, all of your cares and worries disappear. having recently adopted a chihuahua, I guess I have the best of both worlds with a cat-sized dog.

Michelle: That is a very tricky question, and I don't think I can possibly decide as I have five cats and four dogs! So whichever I say, half of my fur babies will not be impressed. So both!

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