ESP’s development and pre-birth stages are of humble origins which began in 1992, when the founder and majority shareholder, Karl Markwald first conceived the idea of ESP while working at Dimension Data. During his prior travels around the world Karl had initially planned to launch a Software system that produced Business Intelligence into the restaurant industry.
When an opportunity arose to build a Stock Control system for a hair salon Karl quickly discovered that the Hair industry was sorely lacking a good management system based on best business practices. Karl shifted his attention from the restaurant industry to the hair industry and has never looked back.
ESP (Evolutionary Software Provider) was legally birthed into the world on the 9 March 1994. Much of the work revolved around Salon and Spa Management in general and included everything from managing staff meetings and paying staff wages to setting up policies and procedures and dealing with CCMA disputes. This was the primary focus of the company for the period between 1994 and 1997.
Chris Parker, one of Karl’s current partners joined ESP in 1997 and the focus of the company shifted more to the growth and sale of the software suite and away from the actual management of salons. However, the experience gained in managing these salons has all gone back into software to promote what is now trademarked by ESP as Best Salon & Spa Practices.
1998 saw the South African Beauty Industry start to take off and ESP’s growth into the Beauty Salon and Spa industry. It also marked the expansion of ESP throughout South Africa making it South Africa’s foremost Salon & Spa software.
1999 was marked by the migration to ESP’s first Windows release after enjoying 5 good years on the DOS platform. ESP survived the Y2K bug without much incident and the Windows platform has taken us from strength to strength.
In 2003 ESP was launched into Australia and the UK. We went head to head with other world players in the Salon & Spa Software market. Now ESP also sells software into the Middle East, Ireland, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and has just launched into South East Asia.
2005 saw another milestone for ESP as the ESP family moved into their corporate residence “Soho on Strand” – a far cry from our humble beginnings.
In 2007 Arno Steijn became a partner after 5 years with ESP to lead the way as ESP’s sales director.
2009 saw Jean Marais becoming a partner taking over as technical director and overseeing development and all other technical matters at ESP.
Looking back over the past 16 years it is very rewarding to see what has been achieved. ESP software is innovative of the highest quality and proudly developed in South Africa with the help of Salon & Spa owners, managers, therapists, stylists and receptionists. It is used throughout Africa and around the world by over 1500 Salons & Spas. The salon and Beauty Spa industry continues to grow not only in numbers but also in the diversity of spas and the spa therapies available. The future is positive and continues to be one of growth and we look forward to the continued development and delivery of a world-class product that facilitates the successful and profitable management of your businesses. Our dedicated team of Support, Development, Sales, Marketing and Administration staff is continually working to bring you the best system and service that is available. We thank you all for your valued support over the years and look forward to the next 16 years and a continued successful working relationship with you, our valued clients.
Between 2011 and 2013 ESP has had a major drive towards multi-branch operations and online integration. At present our clients are enjoying a hybrid relationship between desktop software and cloud computing, giving the best of both worlds with the speed of Offline computing and the ease of access from Cloud Computing.