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Wednesday, October 04, 2017
By Parth Khatau

Lokashi Agarwal speaks about taking up an off-beat career and grooming her way to success, one pooch at a time..

In today's booming pet industry, Lokashi Agarwal is no stranger. She entered the fray in 2010 after quitting her job at Accenture in Bengaluru. " I am an engineer by profession and was working at Accenture in Bangalore," said Lokashi. Being behind a computer was driving me crazy and to escape the tech madness, I would visit a pet salon on weekends to play with the dogs and watch groomers at work. This is when I made the decision to quit my job and pursue a course in dog grooming," she added. Lokashi was always a dog lover and hence the change in career came naturally to her.

"Growing up we've always had dogs in the house, so all along while I was growing up I have been around them. My love for them just kept growing and reached a high when I got my first very own Basset Hound, Copper. I was totally in charge and responsible for him and my outlook completely changed. I became a more responsible human being. I've secretly followed his dog walker to ensure he was treating my baby right!" she gushed.

Lokashi's pet salon, Pawfect started in 2010 after she completed her training in Bengaluru. "I have always treated every pet that comes in with the same care and affection as I would have liked Copper (her own dog) to be treated. I have tried to give as much personal attention to each pooch that comes in for grooming. I know the likes and dislikes of each of the pets that comes in and also the likes and dislikes of the owner. To be honest, it's the personal touch and personal involvement that has kept me going and growing," she said.

The pet salon has gone from strength to strength over the past 7 years and Lokashi is able to groom many dogs in a day. "I have seen  great growth over the years," she said. "I used to groom one pet a day when I started and now I take upto 12/14 dogs a day!"

"One thing I've definitely learnt is patience and how to keep your clients happy. You have to understand what exactly your client needs and deliver. Everyone treats their pets like babies and there is no room for error. We deal with all kinds of clients on a daily basis and you cannot lose your cool and neither can you completely give in to your client," she said.

Lokashi did her course in dog grooming from Fuzzy Wuzzy Studio in Bengaluru under the guidance of veteran groomer Radhiya Hemchandra. "Today there are many many options available, within India and abroad," said Lokashi. "As a matter of fact I have trained 6 students of whom 5 are successfully running salons in Agra, Goa, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai," she added.

Speaking of the pet industry, Lokashi feels it is dynamically growing. "When I started, grooming was not very popular. People thought it was more of a luxury than necessity. People would visit the salon only on occasions and during festivals or their dogs birthdays," she said.

"The aesthetics of the dog is very important now, earlier it was only hygiene. People also indulge a lot more on their pets now. People sign up with me for the entire year and the dogs grooming schedule is on a time table, so in that sense I see a huge growth and a lot more awareness related to grooming," she added.

Till date, Lokashi did not expand further as she wanted to give a personal touch to all her clients. However, she plans to open a second salon in Colaba after her first one at Grant Road.

Lastly, in a message to all those wanting to opt for off-beat careers, Lokashi feels It's very important to practice what you like. "Anyone who wants to go down the dog grooming path should definitely do so but only if you are totally passionate and fond of dogs/cats. It requires a lot of hard work and patience and definitely dedication," she said. "It's good to take risks but they should be calculated. If you have a forte, definitely explore it as a career option but do go ahead and get professionally trained and qualified for the job. Give it your all and you will definitely succeed," she concluded.

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