Known for its $1,000 haircuts and A-list clientele, New York-based luxury Julien Farel Salon has seen a post-pandemic influx in demand for its services. At one point, it had a 1,200-person waitlist. But it’s not just humans flooding in; the salon’s well-heeled clients are being joined by their pandemic puppies.
“We have many, many clients who have new dogs,” said the salon’s CEO and co-founder, Suelyn Farel, who has noticed a surge of customers coming in for haircuts or color with their new fur babies in tow. “There seems to be a real craze.” Common breeds include French bulldogs, which “seem to be taking the market by storm right now,” as well as golden retriever puppies “and the doodles,” she said.
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As the new owner of a Samoyed puppy herself, Farel also noticed that her clients were pampering their new dogs, bringing in puppies with “beautiful leashes and collars” and Goyard carrying cases. So, she decided to add a new line of products to the salon’s hair-care lineup in June: dog grooming brand Pride + Groom.
At $60 for a shampoo and conditioner set and $85 for a gift set that includes fragrance, Pride + Groom was launched in April this year by Vogue alums Regina Haymes and Jane Wagman, along with ad exec Heather Perlman and chemical engineer Patricia Machado. They founded the brand for pet parents wanting more than the standard pet shop shampoo offering.
The timing has been successful, as pet adoptions increased during the pandemic and consumers have upgraded their spending on their pets. Categorizing itself as a “dog beauty” brand, Pride + Groom offers products for different fur types, including heavy shedders, non-shedders and pets with sensitive skin. Featured ingredients are those that you’d find in a premium human shampoo, including avocado oil and calendula extract.
“There’s this huge trend in humanizing your dogs,” said Wagman.
Haymes added, “You saw all the sales of dog supply things rise, from the fresh food to these beautiful crates that look like gorgeous furniture. [People] wanted to upgrade everything in their dog’s lives, because dogs were our calming therapists during the pandemic.” But when it came to grooming products, options were limited.
“We realized that there isn’t really a dog company that is a beauty company,” said Wagman.
Farel learned of the brand when Haymes, a client of the salon, came in for a haircut. “It’s nice pampering, because the products work; they deliver the results for the dog and they smell really great,” said Farel.
The Farel salon partnership is not just a one-off for the Oprah’s Favorite Things-approved brand, which is stocked at luxury retailers and salons known more for human beauty products. Along with conventional retail channels such as Amazon, Chewy.com and premium groomers, Pride + Groom also sells at Bloomingdale’s, Selfridges and New York-based Onda Beauty. For Mother’s Day, the brand launched a giveaway with celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh. It is also sold at fitness guru Isaac Boots’ summer pop-up retail store in the Hamptons.
“People seem to be open to shopping dog beauty when they’re about to get their [own] services done,” said Haymes.
This follows a trend of upscale human beauty brands launching pet products in premium retailers. That includes Ouai, which recently launched its pet shampoo permanently in Sephora. Aesop, Kiehl’s and Pink Moon also offer dog shampoos.
Pride + Groom’s bold black and white branding is meant to provide an upscale feel. The founders wanted to create bottles that pet owners would want to “leave on the [bathroon] counter and not feel like they have to hide it,” said Wagman. “The whole point was that this is as beautiful as any other beauty product that you’re proud to display.”
Dogs “want to feel good; they want to be glamorous,” said Haymes. “When you love something, you humanize it.”