Brazilian dog groomer Gabriel Feitosa makes $1.3m-a-year in California, transforming pampered pooches
A dog groomer makes $1.3m-a-year (£1m) transforming pampered pooches into foxes, giraffes, cheetahs and flowers. Gabriel Feitosa, 31, started his dog grooming venture on the streets of Sae Paulo, Brazil, when he was 12 years old - washing and trimming.
He found the job "amazing" and started volunteering at a dog groomer's after school. From there Gabriel said he "fell into" his career and started working at dog shows before moving to the US and opening up his own store - Gabriel Feitosa Pet Boutique - in San Diego, California, US, in 2018.
Gabriel became known for his extreme designs - which have seen him transform dogs into pandas, lions and zebras. He now charges a flat rate of $800 for small dogs and $1,200 for big dogs - transforming 6,000 pooches a year, while raking in $1.3m.
After appearing on ABC's 'Pooch Perfect' - a dog grooming reality competition - in 2021, his business has boomed and he has customers flying in from all over the US for his creative designs. Gabriel said: "I get inspiration from anywhere - it can be a game, a tattoo or a sign on the street.
"It can come from anywhere - it brings out my geeky side. Even when a client comes in with a request to turn their dog into a unicorn, I get inspiration for that from video games I like. I turned my dog into a Pokemon, I turned a pitbull into a leopard and a poodle into a giraffe - there are no limits to what we can do.
"On the back of my success, I have earned $1.3 million a year. This is beyond what I ever thought I could make being a dog groomer. This shows that no matter what you do, if you do it with your heart you can go anywhere."
Gabriel moved to the US in 2017 to follow his dream as a dog groomer. After a year in San Diego, Gabriel opened his store - Gabriel Feitosa Grooming Salon - and now has clients flying in from across the country.
Gabriel said: "I started grooming dogs when I was 12 in the outskirts of Sao Paulo. From there I kinda fell into it, I used to take my sister's dog to the grooming shop and I found what they did amazing.
"I got obsessed with all the shapes and sizes - they looked like sculptures. I asked the groomer if I could bath and dry my own dog and she would teach me. It became an after-school gig that took over my life."
Gabriel's designs have brought him internet fame after he appeared in ABC's 'Pooch Perfect' in 2021. He said: "When I first opened my shop, my speciality was the standard haircut and I focused on making each pet their best. I trusted if I did a job with the dogs then customers would come.
"I then started to dabble with colours on my dog and wanted to push the cuts as far as I could. After I appeared on the show I started posting my designs on social media and more and more clients followed."
Gabriel typically spends around three to four hours on each dog no matter their size. He said that the designs can last up to eight months depending on when the dog last shed its fur.
Gabriel said: "A Frenchie will shed their fur twice a year so it depends on when you apply the dye. If you apply the dye when the dog is about to shed then it might last two to three months.
"If you apply the dye when they have just shed it can last seven to eight months. It really does depend on the dog's shedding cycle and hair growth."
Along with taking home a huge pay packet, Gabriel has also launched his own clipper tool for other dog groomers to use. He said: "When my accountant told me I couldn't believe it, I felt over the moon. I am incredibly grateful for everyone who has helped me get here.
"I have recently launched my signature clipper collection and it is with the same company I had my first ever clipper with when I was 12 years old. I learned my skills with it and I am now launching my collection."