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Paragon and Learn2GroomDogs.com Founder Makes Pet Age’s Power 50 List

Melissa Verplank, CMG, petentreneur and founder of the Paragon companies, was recognized by Pet Age as one of the “Power 50” influencers and visionaries who’ve improved the pet care industry.

According to the popular trade magazine and media brand, the inaugural Power 50 list is designed to recognize the people whose vital work has made a substantial impact on the pet market. The selection team identified the people influencing the pet care community in positive way.

“The Power 50 honorees are making important contributions to the pet care community, to the well-being of companion animals and using their dogged drive and steadfast leadership to pursue uncharted territory in the pet care industry,” Pet Age wrote in its article.

“I am deeply honored to be included in this collection of outstanding industry icons,” Verplank said. “Our work at Paragon is truly a team effort and our impact on the industry was made possible through the synergy of our collective talents.”

Honorees of the Power 50 include mavericks such as Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, Mike Bober from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and Andrea Faccio from Nestle Purina.

Pet Age cited Verplank’s involvement in the ground level of the voluntary certification testing programs, where she earned her Certified Master Groomer title in the mid-1980s. She was a member of the traveling team for GroomTeam USA, representing the United States in World Team Competition in France in the early 1990s. Later, she was the GroomTeam USA team coordinator, served on the board of directors and currently sits on its advisory board. She assisted in the start-up of the International Judges Association and is an approved grooming judge with the United Showmanagers Alliance. Today, she remains a highly sought-after industry speaker, contest grooming judge, author and a two-time Cardinal Crystal Achievement winner.

Verplank’s foundational Notes From the Grooming Table and Theory of Five are perennial top sellers in the grooming instruction category and underpin the curricular development of Paragon’s educational platform. Verplank founded Learn2GroomDogs.com in 2011 and took the renowned Paragon School of Pet Grooming online in 2018 to extend its reach, training individuals and corporate teams.

“Our unifying mission across the Paragon companies is to elevate the grooming profession and those who work in the industry to the highest possible standard through continuing education. For my own skill development and the thousands I’ve witnessed who’ve become better groomers, I know first-hand that education is everything,” Verplank said.





NEW Paragon Program: Nails & Ears Technician

We are proud to announce the launch of our new program, Nails and Ears Technician. This program is perfect for pet retail employees, self-wash employees, pet sitters, dog owners and more!

You will learn…

  • Safety and Sanitation
  • Pet Handling Basics
  • Nail Trimming
  • Nail Filing
  • Ear Cleaning and Care

You can become a Nails & Ears Technician in under 30 days!

Enroll Today

Facebook Live: Staffing Solutions

Is your salon short staffed? Are you marketing as much for Employees as you are Customers? Join us LIVE Thursday, September 30th at 7pm EST to discuss the importance of being dedicated to talking about why prospective employees would want to work at your facility.

Participate in the Live Event and be entered to win 1 hour FREE Consultation with Joe Zuccarello.

Visit Facebook Page

IBPSA Seminar: 3 Key Elements to a Successful and PROFITABLE Grooming Business

Paragon President, Joe Zuccarello, will be speaking at the 2021 International Pet Boarding and Daycare Association in Orlando, September 21-23rd.

Seminar Title: 3 Key Elements to a Successful and PROFITABLE Grooming Business

Seminar Description: What do you think about when you hear the word “Grooming”?  Excitement?  Profit?  Headaches?  Groomers?  If you think more of the latter two than the first two, we need to talk!  During this session Joe will break down and simplify how you can look at Grooming from a new perspective.  A perspective of growth potential.  People potential.  Profit potential.  And customer experience potential.  Let’s take the headache out of grooming!


Hershey Groom Expo

The Paragon and Learn2GroomDogs.com team will be at Hershey Groom Expo 2021!

Stop by our booth to meet the team and learn more about our services!

When: September 9-12, 2021

Where: Booth #7

Register for Groom Expo

Facebook Live Event: Dog Is Good

You’re not going to want to miss this month’s Facebook Live, it’s going to be GOOD! Join us Thursday August 26, at 6pm EST to learn creative ways to…

  • Leverage your time to make money effortlessly.
  • Offer strategic retail streams that don’t require inventory or staffing
  • Enlist your client base to help you make more revenue

Your Hosts: Joe Zuccarello & Gila Kurtz

Join us this Thursday, with Dog Is Good!

Visit Facebook Page

FREE Webinar: Grow Grooming without Haircuts

You CAN have a successful Grooming Business without having a haircut business!

Having a hard time finding Groomers?  If you are relying on solving your grooming staffing issues by waiting for Groomers to come to you looking for a job, you’ll be waiting a long time.  In this session, Joe and Teija will be discussing the option of taking control of your grooming staffing issues and growing your own!  And the best part…..you can grow your business as you grow your Groomers!

Topics include: 

  • Grow Grooming without Haircuts
  • Stop looking for Groomers


Join us this Wednesday, July 14th at 12:30ET!


Webinar: The $15/hour Wage

Joe Zuccarello will be joining forces with National Kennel Sales & Appraisals to offer a FREE Webinar on May 6th, 2021 at 1pm EST to discuss The $15/Hour Wage.

Does the thought of paying a minimum wage of $15 have you questioning what you can do to absorb such a cost in your business? Is the pool of available employee candidates drying up or completely void in your area right now?

Is this really going to be imposed on businesses or should this be something we will need to do regardless of new laws?

In this session, Joe will be touching on the topics that will greatly impact your hiring decisions.

  • Turnover
  • Retention
  • Training
  • Efficiencies
  • Opportunities

Register Now

Practice Makes Pooch Perfect: An Interview with Groomer Contestant Deb Compton

How do you go from an everyday bather to Pooch Perfect all-star stylist? If you’re Deb Compton, the answer is that practice makes perfect.

“Never stop learning. Always seek out judgment, and learn to take critique because you can’t grow without it.”

Compton and her son Jordan Jones made their debut on Rebel Wilson’s Pooch Perfect. The pair joined ten top groomers competing from across the country in ABC’s latest canine fashion reality show. At stake is a $100,000 grand prize.

Striving to be the best is, according to Compton, in her blood. But it really wasn’t until she experienced working alongside nine other top groomers that she felt she belonged there.

“It was so awesome to meet all the Facebook friends and people whose work I’ve followed for years – to be there with them shoulder to shoulder. I felt like a fan-girl,” she said.

A Foundation in Bathing

Compton started working in the pet industry when she was 16. When Petco needed groomers in South Florida in 2003, she signed up, not knowing exactly what that would entail. After a couple of days of bathing, she was thrown into the training program to fast-track her way forward in the grooming kingdom. Today, as Regional Grooming Team Lead at Pet Supplies Plus in Wisconsin, she prefers her hires spend at least 90 days bathing first before pursuing the profession as a groomer.

“Bathing is half the groom. There’s so much you need to learn about dog handling, coat types, and using the right products,” she said. She’s delighted that PSP now has a structured bathing course for their employees through Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning program. “This standardization is the best thing that has happened to training at PSP.”

The first episode of Pooch Perfect relied heavily on the lessons learned in the tub in what might be called a bathing skills bonanza. The teams hustled to combat enemy #1 – mud, lots and lots of mud. So much mud that team Compton had to re-bathe, she admits.
“Never underestimate the power of mud.”

Trials and Tribulations

True to her own advice to novice groomers, Compton turns every trial into a lesson to do better. She once was disqualified from a competition for missing a matt in the armpit of a deep-chested Portuguese Water Dog – an omission caught by eagle-eyed judge and Learn2GroomDogs.com trainer, Lisa Leady. She went on to persevere in the competition ring for eight years, triumphing in All American Creative for her sumptuous sculptures. Although at one time “terrifying,” the experience in competitions helped prepare her for the pressures of performing on Pooch Perfect.

In competitions and on the show, Compton relies on her artistic background to craft creative results using coloring and sculpting techniques.

Colorful Inspiration Through Groomer Community

Her inspiration came from hours of watching icon “Pina” Irina Pinkusevich create masterpieces in Learn2GroomDogs.com tutorials and elsewhere.
“Watching (Pinkusevich) I had a transformative moment where I realized it was a form of subtractive sculpting, using the dog’s body as leverage.”

This epiphany propelled Compton to hone her skills while simultaneously running her own grooming salon, In the Dogz House, for a decade while homeschooling her children. From the vantage of a Salon Owner, she said grooming can be a lonely business if you don’t reach out to work with others in the groomer community and continually sharpen your skills. Two years ago, she joined Pet Supplies Plus, a move she says gave her the best of both worlds due to the company’s highly personalized approach. Her son Jordan, who trained with her since he was 14 years old, now also works with PSP.

The Pooch Perfect Experience

In addition to the camaraderie of working with fellow groomers on Pooch Perfect, the show also gave Compton and her son a unique opportunity to bond in both a personal and professional capacity.

“It was amazing. I learned how much I had to rely on him and to know when to ask for help. It really strengthened our relationship.”

While she can’t share too many details of what’s to come in future episodes, she said the casting company did a great job bringing all kinds of different dogs to the show.

“It was nice to be able to bring everything I had to every dog I worked on,” Compton said.

Rebel Wilson’s organic and rapid-fire wittiness on and off the camera made the experience memorable, and the collegial bonding among groomers gave the time in California a “summer camp for groomers” vibe. But apart from being a once-in-a-lifetime personal experience, Compton hopes Pooch Perfect gives something beyond entertainment to its audience.

“What I hope comes from the show is that people sitting in their living rooms who love connecting with animals realize that making them beautiful is an actual, rewarding career. I hope it inspires them to take the next step in life.”

The first episode of Pooch Perfect premieres on ABC at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. The Trio of Celebrity Judges include TV personality Lisa Vanderpump, dog groomer Jorge Benersky and veterinarian Dr. Callie Harris.

Get Ready for the Rebound: FREE Grooming Resources

Our focus in the new year of 2021 is giving back to the industry. Please enjoy the FREE Instructional Grooming Resources we have assembled for you.

Instructional Videos On Topics Such As:

  • Time Saving
  • Money Making
  • Polishing Grooming Skills
  • Prepping for Certification
  • Quick Tips for Professional Groomers
  • Quick Tips for your customers

Bettering Your Business:

  • Marketing Yourself & Business
  • Business Coaching Sessions
  • Inspiration
  • Finding Future Groomers

And SO Much More!

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