Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Sue Jacquette founded J Suites in January of 2022, by the time we met in May she was breaking ground on her first 2 locations. I sat with her to find out what motivated her to do this, what makes her salon suites different, and what's in store for J Suites.
Sue and I met for lunch at a restaurant in Somers Point and she walked in with hair and nails that would make you think she was a stylist or in the beauty business herself. "I really love beauty and and am an avid consumer, but my only experience in this business is as a salon suite operator," She explained, "But everyone always thinks that!" We ordered our lunch, and after Sue talked through her allergies with the waiter (she has several autoimmune diseases), we got started.
How did you first get involved in Salon Suites?
I had a friend who was a retired businessman looking to do something new. We met up one day and he told me he was thinking of buying into a franchise of salon suites and offered me a position as his Chief Operating Officer to help him launch it. I had never heard of salon suites before that, but I started doing research and found it fascinating. I had run my own marketing and events firm for most of my professional life, and loved being an entrepreneur, so the idea of helping other women do the same was really exciting.
What did you learn about Salon Suites in the process?
So much! Building salon suites as part of a franchise is a great way to learn about the business. The franchisor gives you a blueprint to use and then, in the process of building and filling the suites, I really learned a lot about what worked well and what could be done to improve on it. I saw a need for a truly luxury salon suite in the market and I have my own style and wanted to see myself in the design - my kind of edgy yet feminine vibe.
Beyond just the physical buildings, though, I learned quite a bit about the people who occupy the suites, the industry as a whole, and how I could build something that has an understanding of how people work - like adding a processing lounge and a spa corridor with quiet rooms, and how people want to live - like having family leave and creating a great community.
How hard was it going off on your own and starting J Suites?
Honestly it was simultaneously one of the most serendipitous things to happen to me in my professional life, and also one of the hardest things I've ever done professionally. I never saw this for myself until it happened! In the beginning I was completely insecure about it, not sure if I could pull it off, or make it happen on my own - I was a bit panicked to be honest. But just when I needed it, I found so much support and encouragement from so many people around me and things just kept falling into place. I didn't have to force anything, it was like all this knowledge I had, and ideas that I had stored away poured out of me and into this business. It all felt as natural as it could be.
Was finding the name something that just came to you? Where did J Suites come from?
J Salon Suites was the temporary name I was using while I was playing around with other names. It's just the initial from my last name as a placeholder. I knew I wanted something easy for people to tell their clients, and I was trying to find something that expressed the sense of community I wanted to invoke and the independence and empowerment of entrepreneurship. In that process I liked "a beauty collective" as our tagline, but still need the name.
Then my husband called it J Suites out loud, and my ears perked up. I loved the ring to that. It also sounded to me like "Je Suis" which means "I am" in French and that felt empowering. Plus, I also love typography and the letter J just has something elegant about it. And its super easy for people to tell their clients. "Look for the J!"
How are you finding the beauty professionals to lease to?
Mostly by word of mouth, really. I did some email marketing to announce the opening to local beauty professionals, and I'm running some social media ads, but once the buzz got out that I was opening, people were calling me and I was booking showings! I am really trying to vet everyone very carefully, too - looking for people who all have the same energy - positive, collaborative, supportive and mature. I feel like we're creating a village here and want to be selective. That's why I prefer word of mouth, I feel the people who I am meeting with understand this and know the people who would be a good fit.
What is the future of J Suites?
Great question! Right now, the plan is to open 3 locations off the bat, we have Somers Point and Mount Holly underway and I am still looking for the perfect third location in the South Jersey area. After these three get open, we'll just look to expend further into the area, but right now I'm giving all of my energy to these three to start.
Okay, some rapid fire one word answer questions, ready?
Favorite color? Neon yellow
Favorite season? Summer
Who do you text most? My husband
Do you have kids? I have one daughter who is getting married next year, so I'll add a son-in-law soon!
How long is your oldest friendship? Jenn and Jenn! One I met in 2nd grade and the other in the 4th grade. (Sorry these were more than one word answers.)
Where did you go on your last vacation? Turkey
Where did you grow up? North Jersey
Where do you live now? Philadelphia
What is your superpower? Shopping
What is your favorite store: Amazon
What time do you wake up in the morning? 6am
What is your favorite movie: I can't decide - I have so many
Celebrity crush? Daniel Craig
Dogs or Cats? I love my dog so much!
Is your bed made right now? YES!
What dish are you known for making? Stuffed pumpkin at Thanksgiving and a gluten free, dairy free carrot cake for dessert
Do you workout? Love it
What is your favorite workout? Boxing, Pickleball, Hiking, Stand up paddleboarding, I'm pretty active
After our lunch, we walked her future Somers Point salon suites. It's a construction zone right now, but Sue came to life showing me where walls would go and where suites would be. It's clear that the whole buildout is born from her imagination. She really poured over every detail, telling me about the suite signs, the flooring, the seating throughout, and how each suite's lighting is completely different from her competition. I, for one, can't wait to see her vision come to life!
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