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Caribbean Casual Back Deck Interviews – How We All Got Started

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Video DescriptionAbout Kathy RoseAbout Melissa VerplankAbout Susie PenneyAbout Teri DiMarino


19 minutes, 4 seconds



Shot on location in the British Virgin Islands on the sailing yacht ‘Sundowner’

One of the questions we always get asked, “How did you get started in the grooming industry?” All of us have a common theme – we are extremely passionate about what we do. However, just because we have passion doesn’t mean that being a professional groomer was our early life ambition! Join us as we tell you how we got our start and what keeps us motivated 30 years later. This is a great video clip for newcomers just starting out or for someone who is questioning whether they should stay in the industry.

(Please note: this video does have some sound issues that could not be completely corrected during the editing process. There is a reason that BVIs are one of the sailing hot spots of the world – there is always a strong, warm breeze! If you can get though the first 1 minute and 20 seconds of this lesson – the sound improves for large portions of the video!)

In this video you will learn:

  • We all had to start somewhere – find out where it began for us!
  • The types of businesses we all have today.
  • What keeps us all motivated.
  • Some of the best ways to learn to become a high caliber stylist.

Kathy Rose

Certifications: NCMG, IPGCMG, ISCCCMS

A salon owner since 1983, Kathy Rose has garnered recognition in the pet industry both as an expert stylist and educator. As a competitive stylist, Kathy has won numerous national and international titles including best in show at almost every major US contest and gold and silver medals on Groom Team USA on four consecutive teams. She also served as the coordinator for two years.

Away from the competitive grooming ring, Kathy Rose is a sought after speaker and grooming judge. Kathy serves as Director the International Judges Association, (IJA) and is an IJA judge. She is also an accredited judge for the United Show Managers Alliance (USA) and she is accredited by the European Grooming Association (EGA) for all classes. She has offered her vast knowledge at virtually every major industry event stateside as well as in Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Brazil, Australia and South Korea.
In recognition of her efforts Kathy has been a regular nomine for the Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Awards, winning the award for outstanding contributions to the pet Industry. Her skills have been put on display on Animal Planet’s popular television series “Petsburg USA: where Kathy was featured prominently in their “Mutt Makeover” episodes.

Most recently, Kathy hosted the television event shown on the Learning Channel, entitled “Extreme Poodles”. Kathy served as the Master of Ceremonies with TLC using her expertise to guide and narrate the entire event.

Kathy’s state of the art salon, Pets of Perfection was featured on the 2005 Barkleigh Groomer to Groomer Buyers Guide and she has written numerous articles related to salon design, as well as a series of articles relating to licensure and regulation of the grooming profession for Barkleigh Publications.

Early in her career, Kathy owner/handled her toy poodles and Portuguese Water dog to point and group placements as well as serving as Vice President and Assistant show Chairman for AKC sanctioned show events, receiving the outstanding service award.


7730 Boynton Beach Blvd., Suite 10
Boynton Beach FL  33437
Phone: (561) 369-0913

Melissa Verplank

Certifications: CMG

Melissa Verplank - CMG, has over 30 years’ experience in the pet grooming industry. Her mastery of grooming techniques has won her numerous awards on a national & international level earning her the right to become a team member on GroomTeam USA. She has been the GroomTeam Coordinator and currently sits on the Board of GroomTeam USA. Ms. Verplank is an industry speaker, author, two time Cardinal Crystal Achievement award winner, Barkleigh Honors award winner and contest grooming judge.

During her formative years she ran a fleet of mobile grooming units and a busy grooming salon. In 1992, Verplank founded one of the Midwest's largest and progressive pet styling training centers; The Paragon School of Pet Grooming Inc. in Jenison, Michigan. Ms. Verplank realized the need for quality training and reference materials. To meet that need she created White Dog Enterprises Inc., a business which develops creative learning products for the professional pet stylist. The leading products for this company are Notes From the Grooming Table, The Theory of Five, and core-skill method training videos geared to training professional pet groomers. In 2007 she opened Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa. The resort has become the premier boarding facility in the west Michigan area offering luxury accommodations for boarding, daycare, grooming, and pet training. In 2010, Melissa launched her latest educational business,, an on-line streaming video library of educational material for all levels of professional pet grooming and styling.

Most recently, Melissa has earned the 2016 Barkleigh Honors Award for Book of the Year with the release of the second edition of Notes From the Grooming Table.  Her website, also was its third consecutive Barkleigh Honors Award for Website of the Year.

Susie Penney

As a teenager, Susie worked for a vet for three years before she attended the American School of Dog Grooming in Detroit in 1977. Later that year she opened up her own business in downtown Traverse City, Michigan called The Clipper. Today, Susie is still in the same location where she and her fellow stylist typically groom anywhere from 20 to 35 dogs a day, six days a week. In 2010, despite the economic downturn of our nation, The Clipper had the highest grossing annual sales in the history of the company.

Susie is no stranger to the tradeshow and competition pet show world. Although you will rarely find Susie before a large audience giving a presentation or in the contest arena, she was never very far from the top echelon of our industry. In the early days we could always count on Susie as being our biggest fan. Not only did she attend shows across our nation, but she also traveled with the traveling GroomTeam team members to three world cup competitions as their official ‘cheerleader.’ Susie was also instrumental in getting early funding for GroomTeam to send our top stylist to world team competition. She was a forerunner to the current GroomTeam USA Coordinator – gathering products from vendors and selling raffle tickets by the arm length. Her energy and fun-loving spirit have always put her in the limelight in a very positive way.

When Susie isn’t busy running her shop she enjoys skiing, boating, antique car shows, plus country line and swing dancing. She is ‘owned’ by two Border Terriers, Elvis and Priscilla. She resides in Traverse City Michigan with her husband Dave.

Teri DiMarino

Certifications: ICMG, NCMG, CAH

Teri is a thirty-five year-plus veteran of the pet styling industry, previously owning and operating a large and successful South Florida salon for twenty-seven years.

As a multi Best In Show winning grooming contest competitor, Teri was a member of the ’88, ’89 and ’93 GroomTeam USA Gold Medal winning teams, served as GroomTeam USA team coordinator for the ’90 and ’91 teams as well as GroomTeam USA Treasurer for nearly ten years. Currently, she is an active Board of Director for the organization.

She is a multiple Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Award and Barkleigh Honors Award nominee and winner.

Teri is a popular speaker, judge and master of ceremonies at seminars and trade shows across the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Korea, New Zealand and Australia. She initiated the concept of the platform demonstration at grooming trade shows in the 1990’s. While these are familiar to the human hair industry, they had been unseen in the pet styling world until that time.

Teri’s dog show background includes extensive work with Doberman Pinschers in the obedience ring as well as helping found the Doberman Rescue League in South Florida in 1976. She served as President, Vice-President, Adoption Coordinator and Obedience Director. She also bred and showed Tibetan Terriers, having finished numerous breed and obedience champions as well as owner/handling one of her dogs to a National Specialty Best in Show win. Her “eye for a dog” carried over to her salon, where she maintained and groomed many of the local show dogs for their handlers, specializing in the scissor Terrier breeds and Cocker Spaniels.

As one of the charter members of the Boca Raton Dog Club, Teri acted as Match Secretary and Chairman through the grueling AKC licensing qualification process and then went on to hold the position of Show Chairman after licensing was granted. Teri also served a two-year term as club President.

Selling her salon in 2000, Teri moved to California where she was a mobile groomer for several years.

When the State of California was faced with a devastating anti-groomer legislation Teri helped rally groomers from around the state to defeat the legislation and to form the California Professional Pet Groomers Association, where she serves as President. It is the goal of the CPPGA to enhance relations between pet groomers and consumers, promoting professionalism, safety and sanitation within the industry. The CPPGA has become a model organization across the country and is helping other states form cohesive groups within the industry. Teri and the CPPGA were also instrumental in helping compose the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance Standards of Safety, Care and Sanitation, guidelines that are being used in legislation in several states.

Teri shares her life with her husband, Jeff Davidson, her dogs and cats and remains very active in the pet grooming industry as a speaker, judge and association activist while she still grooms in her private salon.

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