TWP LEXINGTON. – Lydia Rigby has always loved animals.
The 22-year-old Marlington High School graduate owned more than 20 exotic pets when she was a teenager, including lizards, rats and guinea pigs.
“I still have two lizards,” Rigby said. “I’ve downsized quite a bit since then.”
Rigby started working at Pet Connection in Alliance when she was in high school. She helped the store’s groomer with nail trimming and other services, which sparked her interest in animals.
After graduating from high school, Rigby became a veterinary assistant and worked in the industry for four years. She decided to switch to pet grooming in 2021 and spent several months working as an apprentice at a groomer in the Canton South area.
Starting a small business was tough, but, she says, “I’ve learned that you’re going to learn more than anything along the way.”
Rigby started taking on clients in October. She didn’t expect her business to grow so quickly.
“I started grooming just two dogs in my basement with a foldable table just to practice more,” she said. “I was looking for people to let me work on their dogs and learn. And then, before I knew it, I was booked for three weeks with three to four dogs a day.”
Rigby, who offers full grooming, manicure and bath services, said her social media was a big reason for her early success. She goes out of her way to share photos of her clients’ dogs on Instagram and Facebook and often dresses the dogs in festive accessories. She also does nail painting and temporary fur coloring with chalk.
The idea, Rigby said, came from her own experiences taking her dogs to groomers and pet daycares. She loved seeing them post about her pets on social media and thought it would be a good idea “to show people that I love their dogs.”
One of Rigby’s first clients, Janelle Jones, said it was clear how much Rigby cared about dogs. The Alliance resident brings her Maltese, Finn, and her American bully, Mama, to Hair of the Dog.
“Lydia is absolutely amazing with dogs,” Jones said. “She puts them at ease right from the start and she works great with clients. She’s very accommodating with your schedule.”
Jones said her American Bully tends to get nervous around groomers, but Rigby manages to keep her calm when she cuts her nails. She recommends Rigby to many dog owners, she said, and believes Rigby’s social media strategy is helping her business grow.
“People can go to her page and see all of her posts and all of the different groomings she’s done on different types of dogs,” Jones said.
Rigby said she enjoys working one-on-one with the dogs and prides herself on having a relaxing, stress-free environment. She only works with one client at a time, which means dogs don’t have to sit in kennels while others are being groomed.
In the future, Rigby plans to expand his business and build a dog daycare that offers accommodation and training.
To schedule an appointment, contact Rigby at (330) 614-3297 or on the Hair of the Dog Facebook page.
Contact Paige at 330-580-8577 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @paigembenn.