Some will emerge as society matrons, full with glowing jewels, painted nails, fragrance and a Westminster-worthy coif. Some will appear to be dinosaurs, with a row of stegosaurus-worthy plates working straight down their backs. A number of would possibly possess a Joe Dust-worthy appeal, full with a luxuriously flowing mullet. Others will turn into kawaii Okay-Pop stars, with fuchsia hair, panda ears, enormous eyes, hairbows and legs trimmed to appear to be bellbottoms.
Something is feasible at Johnson’s home-based grooming enterprise, Journey with JJ, the place the skilled groomer works onerous to satisfy pet house owners’ requests.
It should work. The West Fargo groomer has 62 five-star opinions on Google. Pet house owners discuss of Johnson’s professionalism, pleasant nature and willingness to tackle any consumer – even probably the most temperamental ones. One evaluation mentions her capability to groom a bull canine so bullheaded that different groomers refused him as a return consumer. A number of spoke of her capability to work with high-strung or anxious canine.
“They do behave, simply not at all times for his or her house owners,” Johnson says. “It is all the way you painting your self. I’ve performed a whole lot of aggressive canine they usually’re simply effective. I’ve labored with canine over time the place you could not contact them and now they love me, in order that’s fairly rewarding.”
And Johnson does not simply focus on felines and canines; she additionally has beautified bunnies, gussied up guinea pigs and given mani-pedis to reptiles. Her most unique project to date? Clipping the nails on a child fox.
“It scratched the crap out of me,” she remembers. “Nevertheless it was so, so cute.”
Her extensive number of shoppers, together with the unpredictable conditions they’ll create, are one purpose she’s included “journey” in her enterprise identify. It is also a nod to the bling she’s blissful to include into makeovers, whether or not that is feathers of their hair, sparkly polish on their nails or a dyed coronary heart shaved into somebody’s coat.
“It is at all times one thing enjoyable,” she says. “And with the dyeing and the hair colour and the gems, I’d say it is at all times an journey.”
Pet grooming a household affair
Johnson credit her success to ample expertise, together with earlier jobs at dog-boarding amenities. “It is at all times good to have that in your background,” she says. “As a result of if you go into it, it isn’t what you assume: enjoying with pet canine. There is a excessive turnover. It is soiled. I’ve gotten bit extra occasions than I can rely.”
She’s additionally discovered that typically a canine’s construct is lots smaller than his chunk. “I’ve had my thumb fractured by a Chihuahua,” she says. “It actually bit by way of my thumb. My nail was destroyed. That was the worst one I bought.”
However whatever the challenges, dog-grooming appears to run in her household’s blood.
Johnson took up the comb and clipper by following within the footsteps of her an identical twin sister, Jenna Jackson, who owns Sit Keep Spa in West Fargo.
Johnson began out in 2008 at Petco, which is the place she first began grooming cats. Many individuals draw back from grooming felines, as a result of their bites are notoriously infectious and infrequently lead to a visit to the ER, Johnson says. However when you discover ways to maintain them and skim their indicators, they are often bathed, brushed and clipped.
“You do higher than you assume,” she says. “I’ll name in assist.”
Johnson typically will get help from one other groomer she educated, as he has a vet tech background and is licensed in humane, low-stress cat restraint.
After leaving the big-box retailer final summer time, Johnson arrange her personal home-based enterprise inside weeks. “I wasted no time as a result of I knew my shoppers can be needing me,” she says.
Up to now, her enterprise is a one-woman present, positioned in a small black tent inside her two-car storage. Some older or extra anxious canine, in addition to most cats, appear to want this quieter residence setting to a large-scale grooming operation, she says.
However even with this cozier surroundings, Journey with JJ is hopping, with house owners coming and going to drop off canine for back-to-back appointments. Two of Johnson’s personal canine typically cost by way of the storage to ensure they don’t seem to be lacking out on something enjoyable. One other one among her canine, an amiable Jack Russell named Boo, is a continuing presence, appearing as official greeter and morale officer for nervous or first-time shoppers.
Johnson’s canine Boo likes to greet grooming shoppers. / Tammy Swift
When Johnson will get particularly busy, she recruits associates who additionally wish to study extra about grooming. A kind of is Raymie Valleen, who exhibits as much as assist with pre-grooming duties like bathing a Japanese-Chin combine named Patti.
Valleen used to carry her cat, who’s part-Maine Coon, to Johnson for grooming; they even gave him an elaborate “dino lower” as soon as. Not too surprisingly, the feline has determined his stegosaurus-impersonating days are over and can not cooperate. Even so, she’s impressed by Johnson’s ability.
Johnson additionally grooms cats and has even given them “dino cuts,” as pictured on Jordy right here. / Particular to The Discussion board.
“She’s actually personable,” Valleen says. “She’ll sit and discuss and discuss to the puppies. She’ll ask what you need versus how she needs to do it. She’s very sensible and educated about all of the totally different canine breeds and what you’ll be able to and might’t do to ensure you aren’t going to have any points with puppies or kitties afterward.”
Sporting her coronary heart on her sleeve
Though Johnson does all types of grooming, she has a mushy spot for poodles. Two of her personal canine have poodle of their bloodlines, together with a 16-year-old Eskipoo named Poco and a one-eyed Aussie-doodle named Dexter.
Certainly one of her regulars, Shannon Larson, says she’s the “finest poodle groomer across the FM space.”
When Larson first began bringing Ozzy, a typical poodle, to Johnson, he was simply 6 months outdated. Larson wasn’t positive what to ask for, so she informed the groomer to shock her. Johnson did, and has continued to take action ever since. “She’s very artistic. She’s simply excellent at what she does,” Larson says.
Ozzy has grown into such a good-looking boy that he attracts his personal little fan membership each time his newest “look” is posted on social media. “We get numerous compliments,” Larson says. “The largest takeaway is when individuals touch upon him, I at all times give Jessica credit score. It is all her.”
Johnson’s Aussie-doodle Dexter fashions the lower and colour that helped encourage her full-sleeve tattoo. Particular to The Discussion board.
Johnson has additionally ready a typical poodle for present by giving it a fancy Continental lower. She’s captured that canine in an elaborate tattooed sleeve on her proper arm, which additionally incorporates the iridescent peacock purples, jades and blues present in her beloved Kissaki grooming scissors.
Johnson has a full-sleeve tattoo that captures an elaborate clip she gave to a typical poodle for a canine present. / Tammy Swift
Johnson gives a full menu of different providers, starting from $10 for an ear-cleaning or nail polish to $150 for a full-service haircut on an extra-large canine (that features a nail file, ear-cleaning, teeth-brushing, “blueberry facial,” luxurious shampoo and conditioning and a “customized lower – if you wish to get fancy.”) She prices $60 for a bunny grooming and $90 for a cat bathtub and grooming.
As well as, she lists some specialised providers, like a charcoal mud bathtub conditioner to assuage dry, itchy pores and skin, $35 to use rubber nail caps so kitties do not scratch up furnishings and $20 in case your pet(or his proprietor) has a mid-life disaster and desires to paint his locks chartreuse.
One other large a part of Johnson’s enterprise is training. She likes to assist out house owners by sharing hyperlinks to merchandise they could discover useful or data on matters like coaching, nail care or diet. She additionally gives a half-hour grooming crash course to house owners for $30, in addition to a one-hour session on primary obedience coaching for $60.
“Individuals just like the educating,” she says. “They’re going to say, ‘Oh, nobody’s ever informed me that earlier than.'”
That element, together with Johnson’s expertise, exacting eye and personable nature, appear to have all helped this journey succeed. “You’ve got gotta make individuals really feel like household, principally,” she says.
Johnson exhibits off her newest “after” pic of a Lhasa-Bichon combine. / Tammy Swift