One of this year's Christmas Market trade-stand exhibitors is Centre Stage Backdrops, by Katie Rourke-Dowding. This is the story behind the backdrop.
The Centre-Stage Backdrop
Whilst devices to prevent dogs from reaching the back of the table have been used by smart groomers for decades, the bespoke hand made to measure Centre Stage Backdrop was an entirely new concept which was developed and designed by Katie Rourke Dowding in 2018.
Katie realised how important it was to prevent "table migration" when her own back problems started to threaten her grooming career. Initally she used a board to block off half of her table, then her husband upgraded it to a hinged section that would lock into place with bolts.
This, however wasn't "portable" either to other tables or other groomers and it was another 5 years before Katie developed the design we know and love to use today.
"There were some spectacular failures in the first versions," she laughs. "Grommets that simply didn't do what they promised they would, which tore out of the fabric with little or no provocation and the first batches of fabric which simply fell apart with little or no pressure!"
We quickly realised that the only safe Backdrop was one that fitted right across the table with very little room at either end of it and that although there are only half a dozen table widths out there, there are as many again different H-Frames to fit them so the total number of variables was much higher than initially anticipated.
Although she is happy with the current version (No 12 as it happens) she is constantly adapting it in response to groomer's requests. That's the joy of making each and every one by hand," she says, "we can be spectacularly reactive to the market."