The role of the PIAA is to defend the industry, so that all of our members can continue to operate at a standard that ensures our long term viability. Ultimately its about ensuring that every Australian continues to have the right and ability to own and enjoy the love of a pet. We as groomers have a key role to play within this.
Grooming Shows are an important part of our sector. They are a chance to showcase our skills, compete and learn from others and to use the recognition of winning to build loyalty and awareness of our expertise amongst our client base. They are also an important way to showcase the training and skills required to be a professional groomer.
As Grooming Director, many of you have shared with me your frustrations, desires and ways to improve the competitions the PIAA currently hosts. At the most recent Board Meeting I have recommended and achieved support for some significant changes.
There are lots of changes affecting grooming competitions in general. The biggest change in recent years has been the rapid increase in privately hosted grooming competitions that are giving our members much welcomed broader access in many states. This is also reducing available competitors for some of the competitions, especially the Royals. Changes in the way the PIAA awarded prizes was also a key frustration, where prize money only went to members. The amount of prize money is also a big frustration as the costs associated with attending shows continues to rise.
The first step is to ‘do less and do it better’.
The initial focus is to get the competitions associated with AusGroom and Groomex right. This means temporarily pulling our support from the Royals this year to refocus the efforts and resources into our two key events. No doubt this will be a disappointment to some and I understand this, but you need to trust me that sometimes we need to take a step backwards to go forwards.
AusGroom which is in just a few weeks. The biggest changes are that prize money is now available to all, regardless of their membership status with the PIAA and a significant increase in prizes is available. As an Association that is funded by our members, I do understand the frustrations associated with non-members who choose not to join, but I have argued the more people competing and improving skills through competitions is an important part of moving our industry forward. On the prize front I will do a separate post, but in short, BlackHawk have come on as a major sponsor to make entry easier by giving away a free 20kg bag of BlackHawk valued at $120 RRP to the first 40 entrants. Plus we have negotiated ongoing support from our loyal sponsors Oster and additional prizes from Aristopet and 3M Vetrap.
The other key focus will be the grooming competitions associated with AusPet, traditionally called Groomex, but will now become simply AusPet Grooming. This year a very significant decision has been made to open this show to the public for 2 of the 3 days, hosted on the Gold Coast. This is fantastic for our competitions as it will give us the opportunity to raise the profile of professional groomers and our industry among pet owners. This is a very large investment on behalf of the PIAA and will take enormous resource to ensure this show is a success for the industry and for us as groomers. I’ll give you more details shortly but I do hope you are as excited about this as I am for our category and will throw your support behind me and the show.
So lots of changes, some disappointments but some very important steps forward to improving our competitions.
Marianne Suckling - PIAA Grooming Director