With over 90 day spas operating across the country, endota spa is one of Australia’s biggest beauty industry success stories. We spoke to founder and CEO Melanie Gleeson to discover what prompted her to enter world of natural beauty and wellness, and what’s in store next for the beloved franchise.
THE ECO EDIT: What led you to create your own day spa, and what was your vision for endota?
Melanie: After spending some time overseas working as an au pair after school, I came back home to manage a small day spa in Eltham. This foray into the industry helped hone my business skills, and ignited my passion and drive to open my own day spa.
I saw firsthand, a physical and emotional change in women from when they entered the spa to when they left. I knew I needed to be a part of this in a bigger way. The endota spa story began in 2000 when as a 26-year-old I took a risk and followed a dream and left behind the security of a full-time job.
My vision and passion was and still is to help women be their best, so they can live their best life. The ethos of the brand was fuelled by my personal belief in the power of positive sharing and inspiring others to reconnect.
The Mornington Peninsula where I grew up was the inspiration for endota spa. The Mornington Peninsula is a place of light expanse and stunning natural beauty inspired by the energising properties of the sun and calming effect of the water.
Every endota spa aims to transport the client to a similarly euphoric space that ignites calm, invites relaxation and rejuvenates the spirit.
Did the fast growth and popularity of endota surprise you?
I opened one of the first day spas on the Mornington Peninsula in Australia, at a time when few people even knew what a spa was – and fewer recognised the importance of investing in wellbeing.
Fast forward to today and there are now almost 100 spas across the country, and endota spa is Australia’s leading day spa. We employ 1000 people, 90% of whom are women, and 500,000 people visit our spas annually.
I often have to pinch myself and acknowledge how far endota spa has come. I am humbled by the growth and feel so blessed to be doing what I love, and to have people walk away after a treatment physically and emotionally replenished.
What do you believe are some of the key reasons for endota’s success?
We all lead such busy lives and are consumed constantly by noise. Social media, computer, TV, radio, the internet and smart phones…we are always connected to a device. We encourage our clients to leave their everyday stresses behind and turn off their phones.
A spa is one of the very few places left where this is required.
I think people – especially women – crave this time to replenish their energy levels, mental wellbeing and physical health. And while I don’t believe enough women make their health a priority, more and more are starting to realise they should.
Many women struggle to put their own needs first and therefore rarely pamper themselves with a spa treatment. Why do you think women should place more value on ‘me-time’?
Wellness is good for the soul, and as women we are so busy running around looking after everyone else that we often forget ourselves. But in order to be able to provide the best for others, or give our undivided attention to our children, work, family or friends, we need to take time out for ourselves.
When women arrive at the spa their tension and stress is palpable. Their shoulders are raised and their body tense. When they leave, their shoulders are relaxed and down.
Wellness is good for the soul…
The key message we want to communicate to women is that visiting a spa shouldn’t be considered a luxury treat; it should be a healthy habit. A part of a woman’s wellness routine, like a yoga class, or going for a walk; a massage is relaxation for the mind, body and soul.
It recharges you and makes you feel good about yourself from the inside out.
Along with its beautiful spa treatments, endota is known for its natural beauty products. How did you go about creating your skincare and body care range?
endota spa OrganicsTM was first launched in 2006 and has gained a loyal customer base. After nearly 10 years in the market we decided it was time to review and reformulate the range to harness the latest developments in the scientific skincare industry.
Last September the range was relaunched, combining the best of science with the power of nature. This offers consumers a range of certified organic and natural products that address skin concerns unique to Australians – dehydration, pigmentation and ageing.
The inspiration for launching an organic and natural skincare range ties back into the brand’s ethos. It was important for us to ensure that this heritage range used the very best in Australian native ingredients to help enhance and protect skin. Even back in 2006 when we first launched the Organics range, we believed in the power of using nature for healing.
We use native Australian ingredients, called the endota spa Bio-Active Plant Complex. It contains three exotic Australian rainforest fruits: Davidson Plum, Lilly Pilly and Lemon Aspen, which help to moisturise, rejuvenate and protect the skin by delivering a boost of naturally occurring Vitamin C.
We believe in the healing power of nature…
We are lucky to have such a powerful range of natural ingredients here in Australia that are highly effective and won’t harm skin.
We work with a skincare laboratory and leading pharmaceutical chemists to help develop and test our products. These experts specialise in premium, holistic, natural and organic ingredients and they have helped create a range of skincare formulations that address Australian skin concerns.
Each of the products has been certified as either natural or organic by the ACO and COSMOS and contains; no parabens, mineral oils, sulphates, SLS/SLES, PEGS, synthetic fragrances and dyes, GMO’s or silicones and is proudly not tested on animals.
There are a total of 33 endota spa OrganicsTM products for the face and body in the range today.
What is your favourite endota skincare product at the moment, and what do you love about it?
My absolute favourite bathroom essential is our endota spa OrganicsTM Coconut and Grapefruit Melting Body Balm. It contains natural rapidly absorbed oils and butters to deeply nourish and provide an intense moisture boost. This is perfect for summer when my skin gets particularly dry.
My favourite product from our face range is the Multi Vitamin Treatment Oil, which is high in anti-ageing properties and deeply hydrates skin to smooth fine lines. I apply this oil morning and night under the Nourish & Repair Night Cream for a noticeably smoother complexion.
Do you have any exciting new product launches or developments in the works that you can share with us?
This is such an exciting time for endota spa. We are going through a growth phase and have a number of new initiatives, products, treatments and franchises opening.
We have just launched two brand new treatments to our menu, which is really exciting. The first is our New Age Light Therapy Facial which uses LED light to deeply hydrate and stimulate cell regeneration by boosting collagen and elastin production. It is non-invasive, like all our treatments, but it delivers instant results.
We have also created a new signature massage named the Deep Recovery Massage. This treatment uses jade stones, which are believed to help facilitate self-healing. We will be adding more exclusive treatments to our menu next year as well, so stay tuned!
After many years of research and development we launched our first cosmetics line in July this year. The premise behind the range is about enhancing your natural beauty – not covering it. We use native ingredients in the range such as Kakadu Plum so that it applies like makeup but treats like skincare.
We have also just launched an anti-ageing skincare range, NEW AGETM elements; that contains potent ingredients to treat skin concerns associated with ageing, such as loss of collagen, dehydration, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. We have worked with skincare specialists from Italy and Australia to develop this range and will be adding to it with more products next year.