- Actively seek feedback Between sending photos of her work to established groomers and entering competitions, Jess rapidly honed her skills thanks to purposeful practice and constructive critiques from established groomers she admired.
- Insta-inspiration “Instagram has helped me so much because I follow all these random groomers from Japan, Korea, Poland, everywhere, and I see all these cool haircuts.” It’s now easier than ever to see what’s going on around the world—so use all your daily tapping and scrolling to your advantage.
- Blend the rules Jess uses her knowledge of the strict breed standard as a jumping off point to blend in her own creative perspective. Use guardrails and boundaries as a starting point to inform your work, even if the end result has little (if any!) resemblance to where you began.
- Exude calm confidence This isn’t just great advice for working with dogs. Projecting a strong, mindful presence as you approach any creative challenge can help you (and any accompanying living creatures) stay focused and ready to receive and act on inspiration.
- Know your worth Your work, time and creative point of view is precious, so don’t be shy about demanding your fair share. “It’s like designer clothes. I could buy a sweater at Ross, or I could buy a sweater at Barney’s. It’s a sweater—there are just different levels.”
- Respect and redirect When a bad idea comes your way, don’t shoot it down. Honor the thought and trust your expertise to suggest an alternative or to explore a more effective execution.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone—with both creativity and life in general. Like Jess does, it’s helpful to play this mantra on repeat to remind ourselves that pushing yourself can be scary, but oh so worth it.