As the launch of their very own website is upon us, we wanted to share with you a bit more about why they made it happen and who is behind Riddles Creative Box.
Nikki Smith is currently the leading UK creative groomer after being unbeaten in 2019 and the start of 2020. (before Covid stopped everything). If you have ever spoken to her you will know she loves all things creative. She has come along way in the last couple of years and continues to grow and progress her skills.
A few days after collecting her first cream toy poodle she coloured him blue with food colouring.
This was the start and from this moment she was hooked. She wanted to try more and educated herself with every aspect of creative grooming.
When she qualified with a level three NVQ diploma in dog grooming she started to explore and learn more about creative and grooming in general. She wanted to better herself and improve in every way possible.
Nikki entered a few of the normal grooming competitions. Fresh out of college and still with endless amounts to learn she wanted to learn, grow and become a better groomer for herself. She attended three competitions and got good feedback. There has been many downs in her career including missed placements and a disqualification which knocked her confidence.
Nikki said on numerous occasions that she was just going to give up and maybe all of the haters that never actually believed in her were right.
Maybe she would never be good at anything. There were people currently active in our industry who badmouthed and put Nikki down.
Watching a documentary on an amazing groomer that was taking on the incredible creative grooming world in America, she decided THAT would be her goal!
The care compassion and outstanding level of grooming work done on numerous different dogs inspired her to get back up, brush herself off and give it a go. Watching the different designs come to life, she was truly inspired and saw a totally different side of the grooming industry.
That’s when she purchased her cream standard poodle, Riddle.
As a puppy Riddle was the biggest dope you could ever imagine! He was crazy, fun and so loving! He was a new adventure in many ways and she never would understand the change he would make in her life until a few years later.
The reason behind his name…
Nikki was bullied for numerous things on multiple occasions to the point where people would make fun of Nikki talking. one of the things that stuck with her was quotes and meaningful riddles and rhymes. She is a firm believer of the early bird catches the worm and other quotes. This is where Riddle got his name.
Moving on a couple of years and with a ton of research done, Nikki decided to enter her first creative grooming competition.
She had her design drawn out and was ready to get started and try something new. Finding products that were safe for pets, and products that didn’t cost an arm and a leg was very difficult. Creative grooming is massive in the US but very minimal in the UK. She felt very deflated and almost gave up in trying to be a creative groomer because getting safe pet friendly products was so difficult.
She ended up looking in to importing the products America uses. After months of research and Speaking to numerous different companies she managed to get Riddles creative box first order in.
She wanted to offer a service not just an online store, so she created a Facebook Page.
This was initially going to be the only way she works with creative box as a side business to her dog grooming shop based in Hampshire.
She wanted to offer that personal experience with expert advice and an amazing service. Her main goal was to speak to every single person that came to her with creative ideas or wanted to know how to create a certain look or needed products that they couldn’t get hold of easily.
She wanted to be there for everyone who wanted to try creative for the first time, at home or in the competition ring.
It’s truly amazing how inspiring each and every person has been to her. Be it the people that are trying it for the first time or the repeat customers that come back over and over again to try new things. There has been many stressful and sleepless nights waiting for orders to come in, orders being delayed and having problems with deliveries.
What goes on behind the scenes is truly amazing, the time and effort she puts in to help you all get creative.
She truly has so much passion for creative grooming. And continues to research and find the best products to make them readily available to the UK grooming Industry.
“I want you all to know that I am here and will help every single one of you create what you aspire to do. I found creative grooming positive for my mental health and helped me grow as a groomer in more ways than you can ever imagine! There will always be a negative stigma around this subject, but with the correct knowledge, advice and products more people are starting to understand. It puts smiles on strangers faces and makes children laugh. The positive attention dogs get when they have colour on them or some funky carved design into their coats makes people genuinely happy and feel loved. We won’t ever be able to educate the world but I hope by doing what I do every day I inspire at least one person to have some safe fun with these incredible animals. I believe the dogs are here for a good time not a long time.”
With an incredible line up of creative groomers around her she watched in awe of the skill and level of incredible grooming unfold.
It was her turn to go into the ring. The nerves had really kicked in. With shaking hands and a sweaty brow they said it was time to start. 2.5 hours to create her masterpiece. Not everything went to plan but the judges were super impressed by her energy and enthusiasm in creative grooming.
She won first In her category, but being the only one in her category left her feeling deflated. She didn’t want to place 1st with out earning it.
They then placed Best in reserve and then Best in show and she was totally blown away when they called her name for best in show!
“Watching Riddle bolt around looking like a clown was super fun. Me and my mum took him to a charity day out and the amount of positive attention he got was priceless. Everyone was loving his colours and he was loving the fuss.”
After drawing up some new designs and knowing what she wanted to do for her design next, she did research to find the products that she needed to do her design . This was when she realised how difficult it was to get safe grooming products in the UK.
It was near impossible to get anything that had quality of colour pigment AND designed for dogs. She decided to become a U.K. stockist and import colours from all over the world for everyone to use.
“Despite this being a very large financial layout alongside the obvious risks that go with importing, it is a huge passion of mine. If I can help people do safe friendly creative grooming and help everyone get what they need to do what they love the risks are worth it.”
“People underestimated creative grooming, they think it’s very black and white. It’s either too hard or it’s cruel. What I would like people to do is educate themselves. There are pros and cons like everything in life but all I ask is make your own decision, don’t follow the crowd, Think outside the ‘CREATIVE’ box. Learn and research yourself because not all of the “advice” on social media is correct.”
Riddles Creative Box is very popular and more new people are dipping their toes into creative and thoroughly enjoying it. It’s definitely up-and-coming and although we are not near America’s level of entries into competitions we are growing fast into this beautiful lifestyle.
Riddles Creative Box have just launched their spanking new website!