I made $1.3 million last year grooming dogs

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Gabriel Feitosa is no ordinary dog groomer.

Dogs come out of his San Diego establishment looking like giraffes, lions, cheetahs and — even Pokémons.

“This salon is a dream for me,” Feitosa, who is from São Paulo, Brazil, told CNBC Make It.

“I came to the US with two scissors and a clipper, and now I have a place where I feel like an artist and show the world that this career is possible.”

His salon’s costly creations — the prices range from $500 to $1,200 — can take anywhere from three to five hours to complete. During the process, pups are pampered with food and take as many bathroom breaks as needed.

The 31-year-old opts for vegan, pet-friendly dyes while using traditional grooming techniques to execute his unique designs.


Gabriel Feitosa with a dog that looks like a lion.
Gabriel Feitosa uses vegan, pet-friendly dyes combined with traditional grooming techniques to transform dogs.
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Gabriel Feitosa, a native of São Paulo, Brazil, opened Gabriel Feitosa Grooming Salon in 2018, capitalizing on a $1.3 billion global pet grooming market.
The dogs are well taken care of during their lengthy visits with constant attention, food and water breaks.
CNBC Make It

Feitosa’s salon raked in about $1.2 million in 2022, according to CNBC Make It.

The dog grooming artist — whose social media presence includes 2 million followers on TikTok and 400,000 on Instagram — earned $125,000 that same year from brand deals and sponsorships.

Feitosa found his passion for dog grooming at the age of 12. His sister tasked him with taking her dog to the groomer and he curiously watched while they worked. Soon, he began learning from them how to wash dogs.


Gabriel Feitosa with a dog
He said some patrons fly in to have their dogs groomed at Gabriel Feitosa Grooming Salon.
CNBC Make It

Gabriel Feitosa
Gabriel Feitosa said his salon is “a dream for me.”

The eager dog grooming student left high school early to pursue it full time.

By the time he was 23, Feitosa got a grooming internship with a dog breeder in Sacramento.

After moving to the US, Feitosa worked with groomers and dog shows around the country for three years. He settled in San Diego in 2017, working part-time job as a dog groomer for a small salon. He also assisted a poodle breeder.


A sketch of a dog on a board.
His salon’s costly creations — the prices range from $500 to $1,200 — can take anywhere from three to five hours to complete.
CNBC Make It

Gabriel Feitosa
“I came to the US with two scissors and a clipper, and now I have a place where I feel like an artist and show the world that this career is possible,” Feitosa said.
CNBC Make It

Eventually, he ended up buying his boss’ grooming business.

Feitosa now has a team of 10 employees that “groom about 20 dogs a day, and at least 500 per month,” he told CNBC Make It.

“The designs might seem fancy and unnecessary, but the amount of smiles you put on people’s faces by walking by with a dog in one of these designs is an unforgettable experience,” he said. “It brings so much joy to people.”

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