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Sopra Ginza Grooming Shop Review

Note: At the time of writing this post, we had actually visited Sopra Ginza twice and have different opinions on both visits, we will separate them into 2 parts - "First Visit" and "Second Visit".

First Visit 
Sopra Ginza was founded in Japan, we do not know how popular they were in Japan but what we knew was that this shop is getting more and more popular in Singapore. We were actually curious if it was because of paid advertisements, or was it because of the hype that it originated from Japan (Singaporeans are very fond of Japanese cultures), or maybe it was simply the fact that Sopra Ginza was really good at what they do. Well we had the chance to experience for ourselves and bring you our personal review of the shop!


We first found Sopra Ginza through Facebook, a couple of friends liked the page and we simply browsed through for leisure. (Whenever there is time, we would always visit and take a look at different pet services in Singapore either through online or simply entering random pet shops we see on our way.) Sopra Ginza got our attention through photos of their beautifully groomed dogs on their Facebook page, we could also see clean and neat set ups from the photos so right away we went to their website to find out more.

Now this was simply the best pet related website we have seen in Singapore, the layout was beautiful yet simple, prices were clearly stated and navigation was easy. The charges were not cheap, from $70 for full grooming and $250 for spa services (this was just a rough pricing for a Chi Hua Hua). We had thought for a few days, checked up reviews online but found nothing except for blog posted by Sopra Ginza themselves, though their Facebook page had a fair amount of 'likes' and it seemed that by reading the comments, owners were pretty satisfied with their grooming and boarding services. We had finally made our decision after a while and tried booking an appointment for Amber through phone, right away we got the slot we had wanted.

Sopra Ginza was located at river valley and it was not easy for us to reach using public transport, a cab was needed and we were dropped right opposite of the shop near UE mall. Upon entering, we could see transparent glasses directly from outside the shop, meaning even passerby can get to watch the groomers work as they please. Once the door was opened, we heard lots of barking and dogs running to the entrance to check us out, there was a baby gate to make sure they don't escape which were fine, it seemed that most of the dogs we saw were there for boarding. A staff attended to us, took Amber and asked for our instructions on the grooming style, she then helped to direct our requirements to Amber's groomer. The groomer, a Japanese staff checked through Amber and offered to take a look at our references for the hairstyle, she then proceeded over and talked to another lady whom we believed was in charged, after discussing they took Amber in for bathing. We were told that we had to wait for about an hour before Amber's turn for grooming so they suggested for us to come back in awhile, we indicated that we wanted to watch when it was Amber's turn and requested them to call us once her turn was up. We sat in the shop for about 15 minutes before leaving for lunch nearby.



The feel was expected, small but comfortable shop, there is a waiting area with table and chairs which we really appreciated. Even though there were more than 10 dogs roaming about the shop had literally no odor at all! We could count 4 staffs working at that point of time, 2 Japanese groomers and 2 locals, 1 was seen cleaning the shop/picking up phone and another was seen bathing the dogs. We saw 2 Yorkshires being crated in the middle of the shop and we thought they were for sale till the staff explained that these 2 Yorkshires were actually there for boarding, probably the owners didn't feel safe letting their dogs interact with the others.


We left the shop for lunch and while eating, which was only 15 minutes after leaving the shop, Sopra called and told us that it was Amber's turn for grooming, it was too sudden as they were 30 minutes earlier than what we were told, we had no choice but to let them proceed and sped up our meals instead. We returned and they had just started to style Amber, Amber saw us and got a little excited, we ignored her and interacted with the other dogs instead. The groomer was pretty calm even though Amber was fidgeting, she was not distracted and even waited patiently for Amber to calm down before continuing her job as if nothing happened, we were pretty satisfied with the handling skills.


Now as for the boarding area, there were plenty of dogs and no one was monitoring, everyone was busy with work. We saw a couple of dogs humping other dogs around them and thought it was pretty dangerous especially if there were females that were not spayed, it might have been even worst if other dogs started to fight and no one was there to monitor and break them up. The good thing was that these dogs would sleep in their respective cage/room at night, you get to pay different rates for different 'services' for the stay, eg. Pay more for bigger rooms, paying extras for walking services etc. We believed that if the owners were to be willing to pay more then their dogs could actually board in their personal area instead of having to roam around with other dogs. Other than a few things to take note of we think that Sopra Ginza's boarding is actually not too bad compared to what we've seen out there!


After a couple of minutes, we took a glimpse at Amber's progress and we could see her cute little tail in a ball shape, Amber's tail is hard to style because of her extremely short tail but Sopra Ginza managed to create an illusion out of it!

We played around with the dogs and also asked about their pricing regarding the sale of dogs, the staff told us that they are able to get a dog of any price range, breed and also country of origin as we prefer, this also meant that they probably import from a middle man whom they label as "the breeder", we were considering a Yorkshire in the near future and wanted to know more how individual pet stores import their dogs. We had actually seen some dogs sold by Sopra Ginza through Facebook, they were not cheap but some of them looked beautiful, we also found out that they categorize their toy dogs as eg. Yorkshire, Mini-Yorkshire, Maltese, Mini-Maltese etc, just like how most pet shops do nowadays, which was kinda annoying. I then asked this question, "does it mean that mini will be more expensive than normal size?", the staff laughed and said no, that it depends on the quality, so I asked another question, "so you mean that mini is in the same price range as a normal size?", the staff paused for a moment and say "it 'can' be". We'll have to wait and see if it's really true, they noted down our requirements and will contact us if there is any Yorkshires for viewing, then we'll know if things are what they had described.

Amber was finally done with her grooming, it was pretty fast if not for the queuing. She looked really sweet, still not there in terms of our requirement but we understand that she needs to maintain this cut to accumulate mass especially on her head, we can really see the difference with Sopra Ginza's skill compared to other groomers, even after 2 months she still looked neat!


Second Visit 
After 2 months since our first visit to Sopra Ginza, we wanted to give this place another try after being satisfied with the service and skills. We reached by cab as usual, upon entering we saw a dog in the middle of the road, it was nearly hit by a car and I tried to chase it back into Sopra Ginza which thankfully worked, we looked around and saw an owner getting out of the car, shouting his dog to come back (which didn't work of course), this was when we noticed he was actually the owner of the running dog. He had another dog and he did the same thing - he let that dog loose with no leash on! The dog ran all around the street, we ignore and entered Sopra Ginza, he followed behind only to find out that his dog had ran out of the shop again! I quickly grabbed his dog and he said thanks, but didn't seem to care about it, I then said "he almost ran into the road", he simply smiled. Don't understand what is it with some owners, we wouldn't care or even want to know people like this but this time round it was nearly death for the dogs, they might not be so lucky next time.

All the staffs were busy as usual and could only watch from inside the shop, we entered and one of them recognized Amber, calling out to her name and talking to her. Then here comes the same owner again, this time lying that he has an appointment, the staff checked her appointment book then told him that they have no record of his dogs, the owner then said "oh then no appointment", but she still let his dogs stay for grooming, we started to wonder if it would affect Amber's grooming process.

The staff mentioned to us that there was a promotion this month which was 50% off for spa services, we opted for the herbal wrap at an additional $25 instead of $50! They allowed us to watch Amber bath, herbal wrap was said to be good for the coat and skin of dogs, after stirring a mixture of green substances it was applied onto Amber's body, she looked green and funny during the process! It was also at this time that we got the chance to look at the sleeping area of dogs that went for boarding, it was pretty spacious but we could not find any toys or cushion except for a piece of blanket.


Amber was finally done with her bath after about 20 minutes, the staff then proceeded to bring Amber to her groomer but she (groomer) seemed to be nowhere in sight. We waited for about 5 minutes before she returned, we could actually see that she was less patient and trying to rush her job this time round, the previous lady in charge was out of the country and there was only 1 groomer around. Amber was constantly yelping out of the rush job and got even more impatient, what's worst was that halfway through grooming a pair of photographers (or magazine editors) came in, the groomer then paused and placed Amber in the crate! At this point of time we did not say anything yet, thought that we should wait till the process is over before coming to a conclusion. Nevertheless, they were busy talking and taking pictures and Amber was pawing at the crate, a few visitors were welcoming her nervousness and i went over to calm Amber down. The groomer attended back to Amber after about 15 minutes, it was a horrible wait.

Amber was finally done with her grooming and we were pleased with how she looked, but the rest of the service was pretty bad compared to the first time. I then spoke to the staff and feedback our opinions to her, I told her that Amber is a hyper active dog and she needs a calm groomer to keep her nervousness down, the staff explained it was because the groomer was extremely busy and there were a lot of walk in customers, we did not pursue further and left.


Now as a customer would you feel fair if you had made an appointment but you and your dog have to suffer because of walk in customers? Shouldn't they be put last or even asked to make a proper appointment instead of having to rush out the dogs that should've been enjoying their grooming processes? Shouldn't photographers be asked to come after working hours or during lunch break? They could even take the initiative to leave an hour or so and take one less customer so that they can take whatever pictures they need. This is just an opinion from a customer's point of view and we think that businessman should learn to see this.

Overall, Sopra Ginza Singapore is a professional grooming shop, they do their job very well and are friendly to customers. Their shop is very clean, cosy and most importantly, customers get to sit and watch their dogs being groomed with no trouble at all! Do not that the space and chairs are limited though. After grooming they even take an effort to print out a picture of your dog for souvenir which is really sweet!

The amount of care taken for the boarding/free roaming dogs could be better however, we saw dogs that are just there for grooming being placed with the boarding dogs before and after grooming, this can be dangerous. The service we got was also different compared to the first visit, it was much worst in some ways. There is nothing much to shop at Sopra Ginza, we understand that they don't focus on product sales. Groomer was less patient and wasted a lot of our time on unreasonable customers and media.

one of the boarding dogs

The service was not as good as the first but the standard is still there, we will definitely give this place another visit if we have the time and extra money to spend on Amber!

Grooming for Amber cost us $75(full grooming) + $25(herbal wrap spa offer).

Service:
****
 Price:
 ** 
Location:
*** 
Hygiene:
***** 
Skills:
*****

Overall: 7.5/10

How scoring works:
Lowest * Highest *****
Product range: The range of products available.
Service: Customer service, how well they know their products, how friendly are they, are they pushy in sales? Are they gentle to our dogs?
Price: Affordability based on the brand and quality, also taking account to other similar quality products.
Location: The area the store is located, whether it is near to bus stops, MRT, whether it is located inside a shopping mall or hard to find places.
Hygiene: Cleanliness of shop, grooming area. Does the management disinfect the place? Is it Dusty?
Skills: Skills of groomers, how well they follow instructions, how skilled they are in styling.

Overall Score for shops:

Average total calculated from all the criteria involved.
1-2 = Bad, will only visit after 6 months to see if theres any improvement
3-4 = Below Average, but not hopeless
5-6 = Neutral, can be better
7-8 = Great, to be taken note of
9-10 = Outstanding! Worthy of ***** on our review list

Comments

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