The Face of Malibu is an ongoing series by portrait artist Johanna Spinks to record the many unique personalities and newsmakers who shape the modern Malibu community. Each sitter is always painted in a single live sitting. If there is someone you would like to nominate, please email associate editor Knowles Adkisson at email@example.com.
She’s lived in Malibu more than 35 years and runs a very successful pet grooming business. Longtime Malibuite Sherman Baylin is the owner of Sherman’s Place, located at 29575 East Pacific Coast Highway. At home, she takes care of 19 animals and has no problem rescuing an animal in the middle of the night. She lives with Mark, her boyfriend of many years, and says she couldn’t have done it without him.
The Malibu Times got a chance to sit down with the woman who refers to her clients as her friends and says her animals are better than having kids.
How did you decide to go into the pet grooming business?
I knew I didn’t have the heart to be a veterinarian. But I wanted to educate people about animals—about spaying and neutering, not to go to places such as SeaWorld, about not eating meat, etc. And this is a great venue. I get to teach people about animal shelters. It is so much fun at my shop. What a reward to have made some sort of difference. It’s not just about money; it’s got to be about educating people.
Growing up, have you always loved animals?
Yes. I remember when I was little my mom told me we were going to have turkey for Thanksgiving. She opened the oven and I was mortified. There was no turning back from that point on. My mom supported me every step of the way. She would go to extreme measures so I wouldn’t eat meat. I was very fortunate because she taught me what we could do to make a difference.
How would you describe Sherman’s Place?
Well, when I first started out in 1988 it was supposed to be a business to make money. But it turned out to be so much more than that. It’s been an opportunity to find homes for people and animals in need. We’ve helped a lot of animals find a place to live, including birds, snakes, guinea pigs, rabbits, pregnant cats and dogs, pregnant horses and the occasional pregnant girl. If a person comes to us who needs help, we’ve helped them.
You have a pet grooming business. How have you helped people in need?
We work with different shelters to give them a place to stay. I’ve given them a job. We’ve found medical care for them. A lot of my clients are doctors and they have been more than happy to offer medical services to those in need of care. To steal a line from my mother, “Malibu used to be a little town with big people, real people.”
What kind of work do you do at Sherman’s Place?
We don’t do hand stripping. We do what’s best for the dogs and cats. We don’t ever want to hurt the animals. We’re all about comforting and doing something nice for the animals. Everybody knows that if there is a fire in my home, I’m going for the animals first before any person.
What is your favorite thing about Malibu?
I love the past of what Malibu used to be. But we’ve failed to preserve the essence of Malibu.
What don’t you like about Malibu?
We’ve sold out our uniqueness. When something is really special, you protect it. Our future isn’t the mom and pop shops, it’s the chain stores. Malibu is now like every other town with chain stores. We have become mediocre, we don’t even wave to each other anymore. We used to be a horse town, now the only horses we have are Shelby Mustangs.
How was it having your portrait painted by Johanna?
It was so much fun! It was just great to spend time with her. She is so funny and so soothing. When I saw the portrait I said I wish I looked that good. She did an amazing job. In those two hours I had some of the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. It was so special.
Johanna Spinks paints portrait by commission. Visit johannaspinks.com or call 310.384.7029 for more information.