When Salons by JC initially opened its doors 20 years ago, a familial feel filled the air. Twenty years later, it’s still there and rings true in conversations we recently had with some of our original salon suite owners who gravitated toward the concept and were the first to make their salon homes within our walls.
Marie Echelmeyer, who has been a Salons by JC salon suite owner since May 3, 1999, opened her doors of I Win Hair Salon as soon as she heard about the new concept. She had previously rented a station in an open floor salon, and the environment was not for her, so she was excited about the change. She has been styling hair for more than 32 years, and she has been at Salons by JC for 19 of those. “I love having my own suite, and Jack and Cecil are truly awesome. They have stood behind me 100 percent,” she said. “I specialized in Japanese hair straightening, and I love it. I really get to make a difference in people’s lives. Being able to take frizzy, curly hair or otherwise and make it pin straight is awesome. Many of my clients fly into Dallas just to get the service, and I love being able to have this kind of impact on their style and lives.”
She has been a part of Salons by JC since the beginning and has enjoyed watching it grow. Just like her own business, Salons by JC and I Win Hair have blossomed and bloomed together.
Shuree McKinney is another original salon suite owner, having opened Bangs: The Hair Salon on December 15, 1998. She’s been a hairdresser in Texas for 24 years. She decided when she started working in the industry that she was going to make it more than just a job, where she’d always be thinking about the money. Shuree desired to make this her career. She’s a certified colorist in everything you could ever imagine.
“I enjoy the independence that Salons by JC provides, and I like being able to set my own hours. If there is ever any issue, I always have someone to talk to – and I love that,” said Shuree. “I can say I am totally stress-free. Not too many people in America can say that. I love what I do. I have the freedom to come & go as I please. I don’t have demands and quotas like much of the corporate world. I get to think outside the box ALL THE TIME.”
She loves giving her clients a total look when someone comes and tells her that they need a total makeover and want her to do her thing. “It’s rewarding because you can really use your gift, and I have been able to do it for so long,” she said. “Cecil always tells me, I’m not old school, I’m just a fixture around here, and I love that about him.”
Misty Barrett, owner of Hair by Misty, is another of the amazing originals. She opened her business in October 6, 1998. She knew at the age of five that she wanted to do hair.
“Salons by JC has and still feels like family. It’s a beautiful place,” she said. “Jack and Cecil have always been awesome, and it’s always been comfortable and relaxed. What Cecil and the team do to appreciate us is amazing – the cookouts, taking folks out during the holidays. It’s huge that he appreciates all of us.” Because of this, she’s remained at Salons by JC for 20 years and remained a loyal salon suite owner. She also prides herself on loyalty to her customers. For them and for her, Salons by JC feels like home.
On November 30, 1998, Melissa Finn joined the ranks of some of the first in the door to own a suite. She opened Salon Savvy & Gifts and occupied four suites. She recently retired after having owned the business inside Salons by JC for 20 years. “When Jack & Cecil opened, my partner and I wanted to try it out to see how we’d like it. I didn’t think we’d stay there as long as we did,” she said. “It is wonderful to work at Salons by JC, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. They’re fair and generous and they go above and beyond.
Making her clients feel special and exclusive is something that Melissa truly loved about being a salon suite owner, “we always laughed and had a good time. I wanted my clients to feel better about themselves when the service was complete” And you could always see it in their vibe as they walked out of the salon. Their energy was electrifying.
Sandra Limoges Holeman opened her shop on July 1, 1999. Since then, she’s only moved suites once for a bit more space and has enjoyed the atmosphere for the past 20 years. “The ability to be able to have your own space, do your work, and come and go as you need to without any micromanaging is something that I truly appreciate,” she said. “I love what I do, and having a welcoming, comfortable workspace really adds to it.”
One of the services that is a standout for her is natural coloring and cuts. She has an incredible talent for combining the color to match the cut and giving her clients fresh, new looks that they adore. She commends both the environment and those who occupy the suites around her for a great overall ambiance at the original Dallas location. “We’re all business owners and doing this for the right reasons – to bring in people from the public that fit and match us as human beings and take care of those people to the best of our ability,” said Sandra.
Tanya Freeman started her business, Fifty Shades, in 1987. Twelve years later, she was also one of the first to embark into the Salons by JC salon suite adventure. “I wanted to be a dentist or dental hygienist, but my senior year, I worked in a dentist’s office, and there was so much blood – I freaked out. I felt like my dreams were shot,” said Tanya. “My friend’s mom owned a cosmetology school, so I enrolled and loved it from the moment I was 18. Thirty-one years later, I still haven’t stopped.”
She loves the accommodating nature of Salons by JC, and she said it has always been that way since day one. She enjoys the drama-free environment and that it doesn’t feel like work. “I love to do nails & toes. It makes my clients feel great, and I also started a skincare company, which has helped my clients better themselves in even more aspects of their lives and features.”
Our salons would not be the same without the suite owners. Each of these individuals and many others that inhabit our walls are truly amazing, each in their own right and light. We celebrate our originals and are grateful for each of you – and those to come.
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 salonsbyjc.com or salonsbyjc.com/franchise