Fern Gresty (112)

iPET Network & Four Paws Group Director
Spotlight Registered: 24 November 2017
Email: fern@fourpawsdogs.co.uk
Booking Line: 01606 883311

About me

It all started with a kiss...a wet nose and a wagging tail!

Growing up on a farm, I was lucky to be surrounded by animals of all shapes and sizes. Dogs were a natural part of life and during my childhood no outfit was complete without black Labrador hair (it now varies across lots of breeds)! I always believed I would grow up to be a vet, working hard at School and College to progress in my ambitions. However, when the time came to go to University, I just didn't fancy it! I took a U-turn and fell into a sales and marketing job with the local newspaper which I loved! I moved out of the family home into my own place and got my first dog away from the family pets. Fable was a Rottweiler and 40kg of lap dog! She was my baby, best friend, and inspiration. She helped me build on my dog training and behaviour knowledge and pushed me into following my dreams. I opened the doors to Cheshire's first licenced doggie daycare centre in July 2009, so I could spend every day with my big girl and other peoples fur babies.

I completed my grooming training shortly after opening and added dog grooming to the Four Paws Group services. As our reputation and business grew, I tried to employ another groomer to help me but struggled to recruit someone with standards as high as my own. I approached my course tutor and was thrilled when she accepted to come to work for me at Four Paws, manage the salon and offer a grooming training course at our HQ. Four Paws Groom School was founded!

I wanted the school to deliver quality training which fully prepared students for a successful grooming career, giving our students the hands-on experience & knowledge needed to style dogs at all levels. We cover all disciplines & techniques to achieve the perfect pamper, whether that is a breed standard cut, working to owner’s preference or in a pup’s personality trim. We take pride in our reviews and students’ success as they leave us to start their own businesses or gain employment in the industry.

In January 2016 Sarah Mackay joined the Four Paws Groom School team and we became business partners in 2017. Sarah is the Yin to my Yang, and we share a passion for our four-legged friends. Together, we developed the grooming training courses further getting them initially accredited with OCN. We went on to establish and write the Open College Network West Midlands Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming. The qualification is recognised on the National Framework and Ofqual regulated, gaining industry recognition since its launch. We spent much of 2017 promoting the qualification, which was well received, and we signed up several satellite training providers to offer the qualification throughout the UK under the business name iPET Network. Satellite training providers got our full knowledge, support, and quality assurance whilst I tried improving my geography for their locations and learned new things from some amazing groomers!

In 2018 Four Paws Groom School branched out to the south, opening a new training school in Ashford Kent where Sarah Sturley joined myself and Sarah Mackay as Director. The Kent dog grooming training school has been highly successful, and we toyed with bigger premises. However, it is in a beautiful rural location that we just adore so for now we are settled and enjoying the surroundings.

iPET Network continued to grow as more Training Providers joined our network, however, we recognised some wider issues with the way the qualification was being delivered and ultimately, we had no say in how to improve things outside of our group. The solution? Become an Awarding Organisation! This was a huge undertaking but in February 2020 iPET Network gained Ofqual regulation and launched our flagship qualification, the iPET Network Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming and Salon Management. Better still, this is recognised by the Groomers Spotlight meaning those who gain this qualification can get their own profile, just like mine! We continue to grow and add more qualifications which can be found at www.ipetnetwork.co.uk

Four Paws is a member of BIGA (British Isles Grooming Association) who provides our industry with advice, support, and knowledge. The trade association aims to raise industry standards and educate groomers in best practice and the public in why grooming is a vital welfare consideration. I was honoured to be asked to become a Director of BIGA in 2017 and took on an active role within the organisation until the end of my term in 2020.

When I am not working, I enjoy being at home with my husband and 4 young daughters. Sadly, our nest is a little empty as my beloved canine companions aged and recently grew their wings. We are currently building a new house and when completed, the girls have a dog wish list (and who am I to argue?!) Watch this space for the addition of our next Four Paws!

Four Paws continues to grow and now boasts several locations across the North West of England with a team of 30+ people striving to offer the best in animal care. Our services include doggie daycare, kennels, grooming, pet taxi and pet groomer training. Pets are more popular than ever, and our customers want to be assured that their companions are being cared for by trained, qualified professionals and they are going to leave a grooming salon happy and looking great. We teach outstanding customer service and the highest welfare standards in which is what we practice in all the Four Paws salons.

Thank you for taking the time to read my profile and learn a little about me. If you are interested in a service from the Four Paws Group, please visit www.fourpawsdogs.co.uk and find your nearest location.


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