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Bardel Bows – Success Comes from Sweating the Details

Pineola FarmsThe Atlanta Pet Fair was the kickoff for trade shows east of the Mississippi. To my husband Marc and myself, the Atlanta Pet Fair signals a month-long road trip in our motor coach.

I love this trip. As we drive from the frigid north country, we see spring explode as we drive south. Instead of seeing a season slowly wake up, we see it in full bloom in a matter of hours. I get so excited as I see the first daffodils, the first red buds blooming, and the leaves just giving a hint of green. By the time we hit Atlanta, spring is upon us. It’ll only be a matter of time before our kayaks will be in the water and our bikes hit the trails.

After the Atlanta Pet Fair, we schedule film shoots for We enjoy filming Training Partners in their salons and many of live in the southern section of the United States. We’ve gotten very good at combining work and relaxing downtime for ourselves.

Normally our schedule is very rigid, but this year we cut ourselves some slack. Between the Atlanta Pet Fair and our first film shoot, we had a little bit of unscheduled time. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make a Sparkle Bow

headerThis sparkle bow is a perfect fit for this fun and festive holiday season. Not only is it super cute, it’s easy to make!

It all starts with garland. It’s easy to find this time of year. The best type to use for bows is woven with very fine wire. It typically comes in a couple of sizes and a variety of colors. I’ve found the one that’s about 2 inches in width works the best for bow projects. It also balances the finished bow nicely on the pet.

To speed this project along, I work with pre-made bows. The bows are held together with a small elastic band. When finished, there is a small loop on the back side of the bow for attaching it to the pet. Bows can be placed in the fur, in topknots, or on the collar.

When trimming the garland into smaller pieces for the bow centers, the wired garland should hold the tinsel together. When trimming, use only the tip of the scissors to trim at the very center to the garland. As you trim, try to avoid cutting the tinsel.

Once trimmed to length, the tinsel piece will only be about a ¾” to an inch long. The small piece of wire ends up getting crimped, creating a circular spray of sparkle for your bow center. When picking up the small garland chunk, gently hold the garland between your fingers. Push your fingers together in one smooth movement, slightly rolling the center of the garland between your fingers to get a consistent spray of tinsel.

Quickly add a few dabs of hot glue to the center of the pre-made bow plus a few quick spots on the loops themselves. Apply the garland to the center of a pre-made bow while the glue is still very warm, pressing down firmly. Hold for a few seconds until the garland sparkle center is firmly attached to the bow.

To add the final finishing touch, add a small bead at the center of the garland spray center with a dab of hot glue. Personally, I like to use Mardi Gras-style beads. You can find these during the holidays, too. Trim the strand into single beads.

When trimming the strand, I snug the shear up to one side of the bead. This allows for a small thread nub on the opposite side of the bead. If you strategically sink the thread nub into the hot glue, it will stay firmly in place. Hold for a few seconds while it adheres.

Once the glue has cooled, remove any hot glue cobwebs.

These bows are fast, fun, and festive. If you work with pre-made bows, these are easy to make in seconds. My regulars would request them in colors matching their personal holiday theme. My clients always loved them on their pets.

Items that you will need for this bow style are:

  • Pre-made basic bow – 2 or 4 loops
  • Christmas tinsel garland
  • Beaded garland or Mardi Gras-style beads
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks

 Step 1

Gather your supplies and select the color of garland you want for the center of the bow. Bows and tinsel can be prepared ahead of time. Once the bows have been made and the tinsel pieces trimmed and shaped, they can be quickly and easily assembled with the glue gun.


 Step 2

Trim a small section of garland. Using craft scissors, cut the wire that holds the sparkly tinsel in place. Use only the tips of the shears or slide the open shear in until you meet the wire. Make a small cut, minimizing how much tinsel is cut with each snip. Trim the garland over a paper plate or shallow box to minimize cleanup.


 Step 3

Once the garland pieces are cut, crimp the wire by holding each end on your fingertips and pinching the ends together. With the wire crimped, push your fingers against each other to send the strands out into a uniform spray shape. This also flattens the tinsel so it lies nicely at the center of the bow.


 Step 4

With a hot glue gun, place at least 4-5 small dabs of glue around the bow – one on each loop and each tail – just off center. Place the final dab right in the center of the bow. Work swiftly as the glue dries very quickly.


 Step 5

Place the tinsel right at the center of the bow and push firmly down, using care not to burn your fingers in the hot glue. Check that the tinsel is firmly in place. Remove any hot glue gun cobwebs (slender strands) that are typical when working with hot glue.


 Step 6

Once the tinsel garland is in place, hold the strands away from the center. Add another dab of glue to the center of the tinsel. Quickly add a complementary colored bead to the center of the bow. Place the thread nub into the warm glue. Apply pressure to the bead to ensure its firmly attached. Remove any glue gun cobwebs.


 Step 7

The finished bow.


Happy trimming!


What bows do you like to make? Hop onto our Facebook page and tell us!


This Little Gem is One of Your Best Marketing Tactics

There’s a secret to marketing your salon.  Do you want to know what it is?

~ Bows ~

Top secretThat’s right, bows.  Well-made, brightly colored, and altogether wonderful, bows.  The bow is your secret weapon and one of your best marketing tools.

“Seriously?!  I thought bows were just for decoration?”

Bows are a genius marketing tool.  They bring attention to your business.  In a nutshell, that little splash of color is doing your promotion work for you.

The best part about this tip is that you already know the answer.  Look at this page.  What grabbed your attention first?  Was it the pictures?  The colorful text?  If so, that’s no accident.  The eye is naturally attracted to bright colors.

Beautifully groomed pets attract even more attention when they have a bright splash of color.  Applying bows as a finishing touch on a marvelous groom is a sure way to generate interest.

Getting attention is the #1 goal of any marketing campaign.  Beautiful bows do that in a fun and attractive way.

Accessorizing a freshly groomed dog can be a highly successful marketing opportunity.  Adding colorful bows to a pet can be the perfect way to get owners talking about your styling services any time others see them.

I learned this trick when I was very young, with our family’s first dog.

When we traveled, we’d send our Golden Retriever to a local kennel before we left.  When we picked her up, she’d always be freshly bathed and sporting a simple, felt fabric bow on her collar.  The bow color would change with the seasons, but this simple bow was there every time.

In our small community you could always tell when a neighbor had been traveling, because his dog would be wearing the same type of bow.  As we stopped and chatted, mixed in with the conversation would be the name of the kennel and how wonderful they were.

If that basic little bow had not been there, the kennel name would never have been mentioned, and a marketing opportunity would have been missed.

I carried these lessons of my childhood over into my grooming business.  Every dog that stepped out of my salon or mobile van had this bright finishing touch – unless the client requested otherwise – which wasn’t very often.

The bows were always subtle and stylish.  I used the seasons and holidays to dictate the color and themes of the bows.

Christmas and springtime bows were always popular.  At Christmas, we pulled out all the stops to add a festive sparkle and shine to the bows.  In the Spring, we made basic bows adorned with small silk flowers.  After a long Michigan Winter, this fun little bow lifted everyone’s spirits.

Successful people know that the difference between good and great is in the details.  Bows and finishing touches are part of the entire service package you offer to your clients.

Making attractive bows does require finesse.  It takes a bit of time to learn.  But once you figure out a method that works well for you, you will be limited only by your own creative spirit and time.

Many professional groomers and stylists use down time to create bows, in the same way that many people use knitting or crocheting to relax.

However, if basic bow tying just isn’t for you, there are many companies that specialize in wonderful, ready-to-use bows.  We encourage you to use them!

There are thousands of ways to market yourself as a professional pet groomer.  Choosing to accessorize a freshly groomed dog can generate lots of word-of-mouth advertising.  Adding colorful bows to a pet gets people talking about – and remembering – your styling services.

Isn’t it time you took advantage of the best sales tool for your business?

Happy Trimming!

~ Melissa


Did this idea help? Go online and tell us what you think on the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page.

To see videos on this topic, click here!

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