ESP was established in 1994 and has always focused exclusively on the Salon and Spa industry with the objective of creating the most comprehensive management system available in the world. A system proudly developed in South Africa with our own hands and now used in thousands of Salons, Spas, Service Orientated Businesses and Wellness Centres throughout the world. At ESP we are simply passionate about being great and leave no stone unturned to ensure your satisfaction with our systems. ESP’s dedicated team, with qualifications and experience including Computer Programming, Organizational Psychology, Business Information Systems, Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Marketing, Accounting, Computer Technology, and more, bring you a wide range of software products and services to meet the demands of your business.
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 & beauty 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. This created a solid schooling in terms of what it takes to run a business in he wellness sector. The A-Z of what you as a business owner face day to day.
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 Southern 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 as a proudly African player on the World stage.
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 Marketing Director.
The year ESP leapfrogged it’s Enterprise offerings to create Loyalty and Gift Card Platforms that caught the attention of leading Wellness Groups and Collectives. Ian Fuhr the founder of Sorbet used these ESP platforms to exponentially grow their franchise group from 40 to over 220 Stores over the next decade and sold the group to Long4Life a JSE listed company.
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 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.
2011 Saw Lee-Roy Bernstadt becoming a partner taking over as Technical Director and overseeing development and all other technical matters at ESP.
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.
ESP Cloud – Our Nanoverse Platform after it’s 3rd rewrite released a super intelligent online booking engine that protects Salons & Spas from Malicious bookings and achieved new Cloud Computing Standards synonymous with long established market leading ESP Business & Software Quality Standards.
COVID reShaped our Collective future:
ESP Evolve – Our Desktop Point Of Service Platform rolled out the new MySQL (Cloud) engine to 100’s of Salons & Spas during the COVID lockdown plus we rewrote our Desktop to ESP Cloud SyncEngine which reliably keeps both platforms up-to-date with each other so that clients making online bookings appear directly online AND in the store Schedule and Visa Versa.
During COVID ESP provided free online training and extended it’s academy and The Collective Corporation, that as a ESP founder member in 1996 established, successfully lobbied government with the likes of Carlton Hair / Sorbet / Dermalogica / HairNews / Professional Beauty and GoBeauty to mention but a few to achieve PPE Protocols that government accepted and allowed our Wellness Industry to start operations months before Government had projected (August instead of December). ESP Connect within the Collective Corporation Launched “Meaningful Connection” training programmes to uplift the Point Of Connection between Professionals and their Clients to enhance Right Connection in the touch sector of the Wellness Industry.
ESP Cloud : Launched Online Store Technology for Businesses to sell safely to their consumers, in addition to consumers being able to make intelligent online bookings.
Momentum – ESP Cloud was successfully rolled out to Sorbet’s 220 sites to launch their Client Online Bookings plus Integration to their Online Store all whilst maintaining their integration to Clicks.
ESP Enhanced it’s integration to Swarm Loyalty which was rolled out to various Enterprise Clients such as Spas Of Distinction to mention but one.
Expansion – ESP Cloud went Supernova !!!
With the best-in-the-galaxy Features.
Enabling everything to be managed from a cell phone.
2023 …. 2050
Watch this space ….