By Arden Moore
Martha Stewart inspires many with her cuisine and knack for home décor. But for Maurici Luz, it’s all about the dogs. Specifically, Stewart’s eye-catching French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey, sparked his motivation to become a successful pet entrepreneur.
Stewart’s pair of pooches star on her Daily Wag website and blog when they are not out and about traveling in style in New York City with their famous owner.
“Her dogs, Francesca and Sharkey inspired me and I fell in love with the French bulldog breed,” confesses Luz, the Brazilian-born owner of Maurici’s Salon & Spa in Manalapan.
Not only did Luz adopt a French bulldog from Brazil and name him Milton, but he unleashed his passion for pets by opening Milton’s Grooming Parlor in the same location as his human salon in April 2011. And, yes, this 6,000-square-foot stylish business is in Plaza del Mar, right across the street from the pet-welcoming Ritz Carlton.
And business is going to the dogs (and a few felines) so well that Luz is seriously considering making the location cater strictly to four-legged clientele by increasing its grooming services, doggy day care and boarding services and hosting the occasional yappy hour.
“I could easily close this salon overnight and turn it into a spa parlor for dogs,” says Luz, age 47. “Why, in the past three weeks, I’ve made more money providing dogs with facials and baths than I have styling hair for people. It’s amazing how much people love their pets.”
Playfully, Luz says while some people may bark at the cost for salon treatments or complain about a haircut, his canine clients always show their tail-wagging appreciation.
In the latest issue of Milton’s e-newsletter letter, Luz unleashed a top 10 list of reasons why it costs more to get your pet groomed than your own haircut. My favorite picks from this list:
No. 10: Your hairdresser does not wash and clean your rear end.
No. 9: You do not go eight weeks without washing or brushing your hair.
No. 5: You sit still for your hairdresser.
No. 4: Your haircut does not include a manicure and pedicure.
No. 3: Your hairdresser only cuts the hair on your head.
Luz has served as a personal hairdresser for millionaires, ridden in jets and been chauffeured in stretch limousines, but none of that compares to hanging with his beloved Milton, who he credits with bolstering his outlook on life.
“I do not treat Milton like a dog; I treat him like my friend,” says Luz. “I love how mellow he is, his big ears and his cute face. Everywhere we go, everyone knows Milton. He makes people smile. He is great therapy. There is nothing better to fight stress that to take a half-hour walk on the beach with a dog like Milton.”
Luz returns the pampering favor to Milton, who is treated to regular massages, teeth brushing, ear and paw cleaning and the opportunity to do a full-body wiggle whenever Luz plays spirited samba music.
Come March 11, Milton will turn 5 and Luz is busying planning for a dog party celebration that will rival some of the top people parties in Palm Beach.
“I do my best for my dog and he always gives me kisses. That’s my Milton,” he says.
Like Martha Stewart, Luz has a dog in his life to credit for unleashing creativity and tapping into the pet-loving public. Milton, like Francesca and Sharkey, has his own magazine, e-newsletter and an ever-expanding Milton Collection line of pet products that include dog bathrobes, T-shirts, fragrant vanilla candles and essential oils made from a blend of tropical flowers, citrus fruits, lemon grass, mint and eucalyptus. A little dab is enough to turn a tired dog into a revived one.
And, this little dog also sports a closet full of clothes, from the casual Brazilian T-shirt to a black tailored tux. Milton’s growing popularity has Luz considering a new T-shirt slogan: Milton for President.
Hmmmm … I’m betting if dogs could be on the ballot, there would be plenty of paw-tisian support for a special black French bulldog from Palm Beach County.
Arden Moore, founder of FourLeggedLife.com, is an animal behavior consultant, editor, author, professional speaker and certified pet first aid instructor. She happily shares her home with two dogs, two cats and one overworked vacuum cleaner. Tune in to her Oh Behave! show on PetLifeRadio.com and learn more by visiting www.fourleggedlife.com.