Pride + Groom makes luxury grooming products for the four-legged set
Patricia Machado confesses that she’s always been obsessed with washing her Shih Tzu, Leo. Over the years she tried all the high end products that purported to clean a dog’s fur and leave it smelling amazing, but she was never satisfied. She didn’t particularly like the way Leo smelled or the way his fur felt after returning from the groomers.
Having a degree in chemical engineering, Machado mused about formulating a better product, one made from clean ingredients that would also smell amazing. So when a couple Manhattan-based friends approached Machado about starting a business together, the spark of an idea was already there. Why not create a solution for this problem that surely affected other dog owners, too?
Machado, along with Regina Haymes, Jane Wagman, and Heather Perlman, founded Pride + Groom, a line of luxury dog grooming products, in February 2020.
“The main idea was to have a beauty line for dogs with clean products that smell amazing and are designed for good performance during the grooming process,” Machado said.
Pride + Groom's founders all have different backgrounds. Wagman and Perlman are designers, having worked at popular women’s lifestyle magazines and for major corporations. Haymes is a former fashion editor with experience at Vogue and Marie Claire. Brazilian-born Machado, a chemical engineer, spent over ten years in the oil and pharmaceutical industries.
“We have very different skill sets which, together, are very complimentary. And, we all share a passion for dogs,” Machado said.
The COVID-19 pandemic stalled Pride + Groom’s launch plans in early 2020 and scattered the team. Machado and her family decamped to their weekend home in North Salem. Haymes and her family retreated to the Hamptons. From the basement of her Hamptons home, Haymes continued to pack and ship boxes to early Pride + Groom customers. On a whim, she sent a direct message to Adam Glassman, creative director for O Magazine, letting him know about her new project. He responded within two minutes, asking for samples.
“We were chosen by Oprah to be one of her favorite things in 2020,” Machado recalled. “It’s a big thing for any business, especially right out of the gate.”
Machado stresses that what makes Pride + Groom products better than others on the market are the formulation and the ingredients. “The skin of the dog has a different pH balance than human skin,” Machado explained, adding that well-meaning dog owners may wash their dog with a high-end shampoo formulated for humans, not realizing that the product is not necessarily good for their dog. “The dog ends up with itchy or flaky skin because the pH balance is off.”
For ingredients, Pride + Groom focuses on a specific set of essential oils. “Our product has a lot of unique oils, such as niaouli, marshmallow root, flaxseed and quinoa. "We put in a lot of ingredients that are really beneficial for the skin and the coat. Every ingredient comes from vegetable sources, not chemical sources,” Machado said.
Nearly two years since an unexpected and fortuitous launch year, Pride + Groom is now in a steady growth trajectory. “Customers love our product; they are so loyal to our brand,” Machado shared. “Now we have a full line of grooming products. Not just shampoo, but also wipes, waterless shampoos and towels. We cover the whole spectrum of grooming needs.”
Pride + Groom products are sold to both wholesale and retail customers, and are available in independent pet stores as well as major department stores including Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Selfridges. The products will soon be available at Neiman Marcus.
“The most important thing is that we’re in the beauty category, not just the pet category,” Machado said. “It’s a very strong statement about how pet parents see their dogs these days – as a member of the family – which we believe is true."