Christies Student Night: The Highlights

Christies Student Night: The Highlights
Christies Student Night: The Highlights

On 12th October, Christies hosted our first student night. Now one week on, we look back at some of the highlights of this sold-out evening!

Firstly, we want to thank everyone who joined us, we hope you had a great experience and took the opportunity to learn from Kitty, Michael and Thomas.

All guests received complimentary nibbles and bubbly to make sure they were well-fuelled for an evening of talks and demos. Everyone got to go home with their own Christies Goodie Bag, filled to bursting with top-quality products and in addition to this, the showroom was open so supplies could be grabbed between sessions and questions could be directed to the customer care team.

For those of you who didn't make it, keep your eyes peeled for any future events. In the meantime, here is a rundown of the key highlights:

Our good friend, and world-champion poodle groomer, Kitty Dekeersgeiter kindly joined us on the night, equipped with over 40 years of grooming experience.

Kitty delivered a seminar focusing on how to set prices for your salon, setting up costs and lots of business savvy advice. Kitty's inspiring talk really got us all thinking and proved a real help for our attending students.

Who is Kitty Dekeersgieter?

In her 40 years as a dog groomer, Kitty has seen it all, not least when she became a world champion poodle groomer. Now she spends her time as Managing Director of Belgium-based company, Transgroom, founder of Europe's biggest educational dog grooming event Groomania and supplier of dog grooming products throughout Europe.

A mum of two, Kitty has never lost her passion for dog grooming. As a certified judge and speaker for the European Grooming Association, Kitty still travels all over, attending competitions and shows regularly (which is why we were so lucky to have her for an evening!).

With her motto 'work smarter, not harder' she loves sharing her experience to inspire other dog groomers, dog breeders and dog owners to improve their dog grooming skills.

Michael Shiels of Bark n Beauty Spa, Northern Ireland also joined us. Michael had an in-depth chat about the struggles associated with starting your own business, and how he managed to overcome them.

Michael Shiels is a well-respected and exceptional Multi award-winning dog groomer and tutor, approachable, skilled and knowledgeable, Michael has a thriving grooming salon and has spent 7 years building an established and successful training school, initially delivering City and Guilds and Ocn, branching into the iPet qualification.

Michael's passion is education and he thrives on watching his students grow within the industry, educating them and passing on his wealth of knowledge. He entered his first dog grooming competition in 2015 and has had the bug ever since, travelling and successfully placing in leading competitions and collecting multiple awards from all around the UK and Ireland. 

When not grooming or teaching, Michael hosts and runs seminars, workshops and one-to-one classes specialising in scissored wool-coated breeds, and with a fellow groomer organises and runs Popular and prized annual grooming competitions in Northern Ireland. Michael has found a great artistic outlet in creative grooming and successfully competes in this discipline with great success.

At Christies, we're proud to have such a talented groomer represent us as a brand ambassador and look forward to what the future holds working together.

Finally, we had Thomas McDonald of Wizard of Dogs, Cookstown, join us to talk about his journey from joiner to groomer and his experience of being new to the industry. From starting out his career as a joiner when he left school, Thomas took advantage of being made redundant in the hardship of the recession. He turned his love and admiration for animals into a career. Thomas started out visiting salons and getting a feel for the dog grooming industry, working from home and quietly building his portfolio. An opportunity came up to be salon manager for one of the biggest UK pet stores in the industry. From there he worked as salon manager in dog grooming for two years, He was then asked to open and grow a new salon.

While operating a salon, Thomas completed a City & Guilds L3 diploma in Dog Grooming. After a further two years the passion and drive inside Thomas he opened his own business grew stronger. Thomas then started small, working from home and with the help of Invest NI, opened his own salon in Cookstown.

Two years ago, Thomas teamed up with iPet Network and has now opened a grooming school in the heart of Mid-Ulster alongside a very busy dog grooming business. They offer a host of formal qualifications in the dog grooming and pet industry. The most popular course is L3 Diploma in Dog Grooming which is delivered through iPet Network and regulated through OFQUAL. Having years of knowledge and skills behind him, he enjoys teaching some very talented students to achieve their goals