Melanie Gleeson founded Endota 20 years ago. That was before social media, and the technologies that clients take for granted today. Here, she tells Professional Beauty how Endota became the powerhouse it is today.

How did the Endota Spa story begin?
The Endota spa story began in 2000 when a school friend and I were brave enough to take a risk and follow a dream. Leaving behind the security of full-time jobs and brainstorming in my home kitchen, we developed a modest business plan. Fuelled by my belief in the power of service to others and inspiring individuals to connect with a still space, where I believe healing begins, the first day spa was opened.

What was your goal in opening Endota?
My vision and passion was and still is to help women be their best and make people feel better. The ethos of the brand was fuelled by my personal belief in the power of positive sharing and inspiring others to connect with themselves. 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 clients to a similarly euphoric space that ignites calm, invites relaxation and rejuvenates the spirit.

Tell us the ethos behind the brand…
The values I built the business on are Balance, Connect, Intent and Truth. I believe in cause and effect and that there must be balance with nature and humanity within our own relationships. We need to connect with the community, with each other and importantly with our own needs. We must act with mindfulness in what we do. Our intention is to be transparent and honest whilst respecting ourselves and the environment. I also believe in truthfulness. We want women to be their best and find what their truth is; I believe everyone has a spark inside them that is waiting to be ignited. Our role is to deliver exceptional customer service in an environment where women feel comfortable. Our spas are a haven for women to replenish their souls, a place where women can leave their concerns, their stresses and their ‘stuff’ at the door and simply have some me time. It’s an opportunity to step out of the real world for a time, into a world where the only person who matters is you. This is why I do what I do. And why, all those years ago, I opened the first Endota spa.

How have you evolved?
We have seen the evolution of Endota as we continue to offer a haven for women in spa, but also gain recognition as a reputable force within the anti-ageing product category, with the launch and expansion of our New Age products.  Our new retail design concepts will emphasise product experimentation and offer a sensory retail experience to our customers. We want our clients to stay and play in our retail spaces taking advantage of new features like our express LED treatments and product dabble bars. We want our beautiful products to be enjoyed beyond the treatment rooms in spa and encourage our customers to ‘bring endota spa home’ by creating their own havens and rituals for self-care.  There’s also been a huge interest around express treatments, the more time poor people are becoming. 

What have you seen as the biggest change in the beauty industry?
There is so much pressure on women today. Having a massage or a treatment is no longer a luxury – it is a healthy habit and our spas have become a haven for emotional replenishment. Not many people even knew what a spa was when we first opened and even fewer recognised the importance of wellbeing. Now relaxation and mindfulness have become more important in people’s lives. One of the biggest changes we’ve observed is that people are embracing ‘inner beauty’ and the concept that beauty is more than skin deep. Wellness and spirituality is no longer a niche market, it is now becoming what women want and need. In fact, the wellness industry is now booming worldwide and is a $4.2 trillion business. This is dramatically shaping the industry and the direction wellness providers are moving. As part of this we’ve seen a surge in interest for more natural and organic skincare and cosmetics, we’ve have always offered this option to our customers and clients so they can extend their spa experience and continue feeling good and nourishing their body and soul.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?
These usually occur when I don’t follow my intuition! Most of the time I listen to my intuition however at times I have ignored my instinct.  What can appear to be best from a financial or development perspective, may not be right for the brand. I take the same approach at home with my family. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. I am confident enough in myself now to hold strong on this.

Any words of advice for those in the beauty industry?
It’s important to be confident and believe in what you are trying to achieve. Listen to your instincts. Always. I wish someone had told me this when I started out, it’s something I learned along the way and I live by now. Also, surround yourself with supportive people, take time to celebrate small and big wins and be kind to yourself. Persevere and ensure you believe in what you are doing.

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