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Karen Furtado

Are you a salon-owner struggling to grow? Watch this awesome video from Karen Furtado at Shear Magic. Karen uses Paragon’s Distance Learning program to train her staff and build her groomer community in her Hawaiian Grooming Salon. “It saves time … and it’s very structured. Not only are they properly trained, they appreciate it! You’re investing in your future and THEIR future. If you want to get to the next level … it’s a no-brainer investment.”


Joe Zuccarello: Hey everyone, this is Joe Zuccarello with Paragon School of Pet Grooming, and I am joined tonight by Karen Furtado. Karen is the owner of Shear Magic in Hilo, Hawaii. Did I pronounce that right, Karen?

Karen Furtado: You did, Joe. Thank you. Aloha, everybody.

Joe Zuccarello: Karen, oh, I love that. Karen always reminds me of that. She lives in paradise and everybody else doesn’t. So Karen’s got some great things to say, not only about her and her business and such, but I’ve asked Karen to join us so that she can share with you her opinion and her view not only on business and managing a business, but growing people and why it was important for her to look at growing people as an investment, and also her decision process in choosing Paragon School of Pet Grooming. The distance learning, online grooming training program is the platform that she knows and trusts to use with that investment of her time, her dollars, and her team. So Karen, hey, tell us a little bit about Karen Furtado and Shear Magic.

Karen Furtado: Well, I’ve been grooming for about 23 years. I was a groomer at Petco, became the regional training manager for Petco. When I moved to Hawaii, there was no Petco, so I was forced to open my own business. I’ve been in business in Hilo, Hawaii for now 13 years, training my own groomers, training my own bathers, using the notes from the grooming table as kind of the bible and then moving on to the workbooks, and I always felt like we taught the same ways. The material coincided with the safety rules that Petco had and then moving forward into Shear Magic, safety of the animals, just really detailed information. It always seemed like we were hand in hand. So for me, going with the distant learning program was kind of a no-brainer. We are very, very strict on our cleanliness, our policies and procedures, and I felt like Paragon’s training program and distance learning kind of blended in with where I wanted to go to scale my business.

Karen Furtado: So as a business owner, I needed a way to scale my business but not take up too much of my time, which everybody knows if you’re training somebody gets super intense time, you know, keeping track of their schedule, what they’re grooming. It just feels right. And I also feel like as a business owner, sometimes you feel lonely because you’re the only one. But now I have, you know, I feel like I can call Joe or call Paragon Grooming and ask questions on how to do this as far as the students go. But yet, I’m still involved. I am doing the hands-on, one-on-one with the student, and then they go home on their iPad or their computer and do the testing and the reading and the videos. So I don’t have to keep track of them. All I have to do is look online, I know where they’re at, I know what they’re doing.

Joe Zuccarello: You get to peek behind the curtain and see what their progress and their status report, don’t you?

Karen Furtado: Yeah, and it tells you, you know, you’re 39% of 100% of your program, and it grades them. So obviously, you know, one out of a hundred. And so as a business owner, I trust Paragon’s distant learning program. I’ve used their material for years. This just seems like the next step for me to scale Shear Magic to where I need it to go, possibly more locations, and everybody being kind of on the same page as what they’re learning and how they’re learning it. Whereas you explained Joe, you know, before it’s, oh, if I have a Golden, I’ll teach Golden today, or oh, if I have a Schnauzer I’ll teach Schnauzers. It’s not like that now. I mean, I still do that in the shop, but the curriculum is so stable, and they’re going in steps. So I think it’s just very structured, organized, and super efficient.

Joe Zuccarello: So Karen, you had mentioned to me when we were talking before about how important culture is for you, and Karen, have you struggled finding dog groomers in the past, or have you always tried to grow your own, or what maybe kind of made you shift from trying to hire or find existing groomers to growing your own?

Karen Furtado: I feel, me personally, that growing your own, there’s a little bit more longevity. There’s respect, there’s a sense of family when you grow your own versus hire on. Every salon is different. And I think that the way we do things and Paragon, I think that’s pretty much top of the line as far as currently the training program. So that’s where I want to be. And so to answer your question, yes, I feel it’s okay to hire, but I also feel like a mother, almost, you know, you’re growing your children. So I just feel like there’s just…

Joe Zuccarello: You want them to be successful, right?

Karen Furtado: Yeah. So in my salon it’s a win-win situation. If they make money, I make money. So if they succeed, I succeed. So that’s kind of the motto that Shear Magic lives by is win-win situations at all costs. And I feel like the distance learning program, I mean it is a win-win situation. Not only are they part of the Shear Magic team, but now they’re part of Paragon team. I mean, what kind of partnership is that? So not only do they have Paragon, they have Shear Magic. So I think I got best of all worlds right now.

Joe Zuccarello: So when you were considering, obviously because you’ve always done your training, so it was a big leap for you to make a choice of involving this third party, bringing Paragon into the fold as part of, I think you used the word partnership, with you and your training. How do you see that that has, what’s the most important piece do you think, that Paragon has brought to that partnership?

Karen Furtado: Okay, so one is Paragon is new but not new, because I’ve been using them for years. So I already know the system, I know how it’s trained. I’ve met Melissa, I’ve talked to her. Just the style of teaching is just similar to what I teach.

Joe Zuccarello: You do a great job training people, right? So there’s some salon owners, if you’re going to speak to other salon owners out there…

Karen Furtado: My time, your time.

Joe Zuccarello: What would you tell other salon owners and say, listen, you might train really well, you might be terrible at training, but it really doesn’t matter anywhere in either one of those poles or in between. Anywhere you are on that mix, you need Paradigm because it steps in and does what with you?

Karen Furtado: One, for me, it saves time. So my time is probably the most valuable thing to me that it saves me time, and not only the time part, but it’s so structured that it slows very, very nicely. And so when I go on to check where they are, it’s very structured. There’s no questions what they know and what they don’t know, and then they get tested, instead of me testing them, and you know, finding a quiet room, make sure they’re not cheating or having someone help them. So all that, for me, number one is time, and number two, the structure and the efficiency, I guess, would be the top three things that are important for me, or I would think any business owner, that would be the top three things that are important.

Joe Zuccarello: So what would you tell a business owner? We’re going to wrap it up a little bit and kind of close it up a little bit. What would you tell a business owner out there right now that’s wondering, you know, there’s a lot of folks out there saying you can’t learn dog grooming online. You can’t learn dog grooming online. But when we talk to them, we say, of course you can’t, because you have to, it’s a high touch type of, we’re bringing high tech to a high touch profession, right? What would you say to the salon owners out there that say that they’re just having a hard time wrapping their head around how they can use this program to supplement what it is that they do? If they just can’t get over that [crosstalk 00:08:37].

Karen Furtado: You know, I was there. Your employee should be an investment. And in my opinion, it should be one of your biggest investments. Yes, you have to have a storefront. Yes, you have to have advertising. Yes, you have to have equipment. But without your groomers, none of that matters. So I think investing in people, not only are they properly trained, they’re learning the correct, current everything, they appreciate it. If a business owner invested education in me, that means they care about me, that they’re investing in me. So I think that’s the other part of it, is not just all this learning stuff, but you’re actually giving a gift, and you are investing in your future and their future. So I think employees appreciate that, that you’re willing to take the extra step, and it is an extra step. It’s not free, it’s not cheap. But if you want to get to the next level and you want to get there efficiently, and your business is worth it, then I think it’s a no-brainer investment.

About Karen Furtado

Karen Furtado is a Salon Owner in Hilo, Hawaii who uses Paragon’s Distance Learning program to train her staff and scale her business.

See her work at Shear Magic!
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