Life is too short to have boring hair, so Stephanie Cleck created a solution for on-the-go women who don’t want to choose between self-care and busy schedules.
Cleck, CEO & founder of Concihairge, found entrepreneurial inspiration after experiencing her own life journey. Thirteen years ago, while living in Memphis, Tenn., she met her husband Jonathan after he was recalled back to active duty.
Last first date
“One Saturday night, I was at a disco bar with some friends watching some cute guy swing around a pole in the middle of the dance floor. There’s a longer version of this story better told over a glass of wine, but he approached me later, asked me for my number, and I went on my last “first date” the next day. Since then, we’ve spent time in Virginia Beach, the D.C. suburbs, and we are now settled in West Chester, PA, just outside Philadelphia,” she described.
Like most military spouses, Cleck worked to balance her own career aspirations with the components of military life. She was a licensed hair stylist for eight years before getting pregnant with the couple’s first child and found it challenging to take care of her own needs around the newfound demands of motherhood.
A business concept was born, and Concihairge would be the answer for other moms—like Cleck.The Cleck Family
Delivering a service for busy clients
“ … In the months after giving birth to my daughter, I realized the difficulty in getting to the salon as a busy mom and the idea for Concihairge was born. I founded Concihairge on the belief that busy women shouldn’t have to go to the salon to have great hair, but should be able to get that salon-quality experience right in the convenience of their own homes,” Cleck explained.
Concihairge, which is headquartered in West Chester, Penn., uses an innovative approach to the long-held tradition of clients going to the salon. Customers receive an on-demand stylist in the comfort of their own home, office, studio or hotel suite. Cleck says the idea came to her after she realized she could deliver a first of its kind service.
“My initial “a-ha” moment was when I realized that no other salons were offering the full menu of in-home services and that this was something that women needed and I could deliver. I continue to have a-ha moments and try to always be thankful for the opportunities God has given me,” she said.
From party of one to CEO
Cleck started as a one-woman show delivering hair services to clients in the Arlington/Alexandria area outside Washington, DC. Today, she employs nine women, including two military spouses. As her business continues to expand in the Philadelphia and Northern Virginia suburbs, Cleck’s role has transitioned.
“I no longer do hair myself, but have shifted my role to leading Concihairge in expanding into new markets while keeping an eye on new trends in the hair industry and positioning Concihairge to become a household name across the country,” Cleck shared.
And, Stephanie Cleck encourages others to just go for it.
“Whether you’re an MBA grad from Wharton or a simple hair stylist from Memphis, the opportunities for you to flourish as an entrepreneur are largely the same in today’s globalized world. No matter their background or pedigree, the secret to their success is still their ability to surround themselves with people who can help them grow, who fill in gaps in their skill sets, and who help them ride the roller coaster of up’s and down’s during the early days of every small business,” she said.
The family business
Today, Concihairge has become a family affair, with Cleck’s husband acting as COO of the company. He uses skills learned from his military service to support his wife’s vision, while continuing to serve in the Navy Reserve. The business offers services in the following locations: Northern Virginia/DC area, Chester County Penn., Montgomery County Penn., Greater West Chester Penn., Mainline Penn. or Philadelphia, Penn.
Cleck adds that she is proud to be part of the elite sorority of military spouses around the globe. She recommends her peers lean on the vast network of military-connected family members for support.
“Perhaps the best advice I could offer milspouses is to tap into the network of other milspouses and moms to be both your sanity check and your cheerleaders. Lord knows I rely on my broad network of milspouses and moms for support and advocacy every day,” she added.
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