Steppin’ Up with the Esteps

May 31, 2018

What do you get when you combine an accountant and CEO of the house with a retired military officer and consultant for quality and service improvement for Fortune 100 Companies?

Well, a few things:

  1. A happily married couple.
  2. Successful, driven professionals in their career fields.
  3. The perfect equation for franchisees to lead the charge at the Salons by JC Towson location in Maryland.

Husband and wife Mark and Cindy Estep opened the doors of their location in the Northeast in February 2018. When they came across Salons by JC’s salon suite concept and understood the way the business model worked, they were hooked.

Founder Cecil Miller, Mark Estep, Cindy Estep, Founder Jack Griffey

“I can never sit still, and I’m retiring soon, so I wanted to find what was next to keep me energized and busy,” said Mark. “We like working with people and having the chance to pay it forward, and we were both looking for a post-career business opportunity to do just that.”

What Made Salons by JC Stand Out

Mark and Cindy evaluated different concepts before deciding upon Salons by JC. They looked at other competitors in the market, one of which they specifically liked their attention to detail with the high end fixtures and building designs, but decided to progress with Salons by JC for two major reasons:

  1. Jack & Steve as people, their vision, and the way they talked about supporting salon suite owners. For the couple, the importance of the overall mission is to provide an environment to help make others successful.
  2. The concierge model – to them, this was a key differentiator.

“Our ownership of the Salons by JC franchise is a win-win situation,” said Cindy. “It’s a win for the clients and a win for us. The business model is exactly what we were looking for.”

Along with the concept and business model, the Esteps were also drawn to the way that Salons by JC partnered with deserving community organizations. Specifically, the Hello Gorgeous partnership stood out to them, and they are excited to participate as franchise owners in this worthy and noble cause.

They are in the midst of planning for their grand opening that will be taking place this August, and are hopeful to incorporate a Hello Gorgeous event in the season, as well.

Towson Entrance

One Down, More to Go

The first franchise they opened in Towson is the first of many. The Esteps have signed up to open an additional two salons in the greater Baltimore area, and are beginning to look for the second location. Towson is an older, established city in the greater Baltimore area, and is currently going through a lot of renovation. The builder put a lot of money into the location in order to sign the Salons by JC franchise as tenants and is currently upgrading the center.

The Salons by JC Towson location is already gaining a reputation as THE luxury professional community. The luxurious atmosphere, year lease, concierge, and 24-7 electronic access are a step above what others are currently providing.

The Biggest Challenge is the Biggest Reward

In their research & development, and the first few months with doors open, the Esteps have come to find that the biggest challenge is also the biggest reward.

“Many of the business and salon suite owners who are starting up have situations that they are unaccustomed to, so it is all new to them,” said Mark. “It’s a challenge in that there is such a variance and many times, frequency, in these seemingly critical issues. Though, it is so rewarding to help them overcome, teach perspective, and grow their amazing businesses.”

“We have found that this is a breath of fresh air for the salon suite owners,” said Cindy. “We want them to succeed, and many of the owners are coming from an environment that was not so accommodating and encouraging. We love when we can help them see a vision for themselves and their companies.”

One of their biggest pieces of experiential advice for aspiring franchisees is to hire the right concierge. They both proclaimed the importance of the role and making sure that it reflects the image that each franchisee desires within their location. Attitude and perspective were also attributes that they pointed to in creating and achieving success.

“Our concierge knows the industry. She used to be a barber, and has managed a small luxury retail store,” said Mark. “We are just getting started, but she handles the standard items – birthday gifts, sends out for lunch when the stylists are busy, receives packages, greets their customers, helps them set up their business Facebook pages, and much more.  The bonus value has been her experience in the industry, which we do not have, and navigating some of the laws, coordination with local schools, and industry reps.”

The husband and wife team said that they definitely learn every day in their ability to work together as business partners.

“As a couple, we’re learning every day,” said Cindy. “We both like to be in charge, so that’s where the love really helps.”

Congratulations to the Esteps! Keep on driving those visions forward, keep on learning, and keep on loving.

About Salons by JC: In 1997, Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller began their journey to transform the beauty industry one salon suite at a time. Like most young entrepreneurs, they started out with a big idea but had to learn how to start and run a business from scratch. After much perseverance and hard work, one year later, they opened Salons by JC in Dallas, TX in 1998, welcoming beauty and wellness specialists who were ready to break free from the traditional salon model. The company has since moved its headquarters from Dallas to San Antonio, where it continues to grow through franchising. Today, Salons by JC has over 87 locations in 24 states and Canada.  For more information, visit or

Blog written by:
Tanya Sammis 
Founder & Owner 
Sammis & Ochoa 
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