CEO Of Australian Spa Empire Endota Reveals Her Secrets To A Successful Business – Forbes

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CEO Of Australian Spa Empire Endota Reveals Her Secrets To A Successful Business – Forbes

Sitting on top of a luxury spa empire is a far cry from the career origins of endota co-founder Melanie Gleeson. She once made a living as an au pair before managing a small spa in Victoria.

Pictured: endota CEO and Founder, Melanie Gleeson. (Image supplied by endota).

Pictured: endota CEO and Founder, Melanie Gleeson. (Image supplied by endota).

“I saw, firsthand, a physical and emotional change in women from when they entered the spa to when they left,” she says. “I knew I needed to be a part of this in a bigger way.”

And she did, by opening her first day spa with high school colleague turned business partner, Belinda Fraser, in 2000.

“We opened the first endota spa with a (AUD) $ 5000 credit card, a location, boldness, passion and a whole set of audacious goals,” she says.

Cut to 2016 and endota has over 100 spas Australia-wide, employs over 1000 people, and is the largest day spa network in Australia. The company also boasts a successful organic and natural skin care range and a makeup line.

However, it does take a lot more than a whim and a way to create an enviable business in Australia’s fragmented health and wellness industry. Here are four elements Gleeson feels have turned her day spa dreams into a reality.

1. Find Your Story

Safety Beach at Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. (Image by: Shutterstock).

The duo behind endota grew up on the sleepy breaks of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

Their experiences with the Australian landscape had such a strong impact on them that, when setting out to launch their brand, they made sure that their childhood encounters with the sunburnt country were incorporated into every aspect of their business.

“I was raised to respect our environment and the heritage of our country,” she says. “I wanted to ensure that whatever I did in business reflected this, too.”

Their story is reflected in the way they use natural ingredients in their skincare that are native to Australia, fragrances that are unique to the territory, the strong ties the brand harbors with the country’s indigenous culture.

“When we were looking for an appropriate name for the first spa, we came across ‘endota’ which is an indigenous word, meaning beautiful,” Gleeson says.

That is, being true to what is important to them has created a unique brand and an authentic point of difference in a saturated health and wellness market.

2. Tap into the feminine

Gleeson believes that nurturing attributes that are considered feminine and applying them to her leadership model has attracted like-minded people to the brand’s employee ranks.

“I believe that this isn’t a coincidence,” she says. “We are all connected with the universe and when you set an intention, you are manifesting it to happen.”

For Gleeson, working with people who think similarly to the brand’s ethos can cement success, particularly in cases when a business needs to consider a franchise model of expansion.

3. Be mindful

Pictured: Melanie Gleeson. (Image: supplied by endota).

Pictured: Melanie Gleeson. (Image: supplied by endota).

Endota, according to the duo, has been stripped of hierarchy and ivory towers.

“I don’t believe in a ‘Head Office’,” Gleeson says. “We are a ‘Support Centre’ that works in conjunction with our business partners.”

By stripping away the hierarchal bells and whistles, the brand was able to become mindful of each and every aspect of the business.

“The biggest impact that being mindful has played in terms of determining the direction of the business would have to be through building and nurturing of relationships,” Gleeson says. “I am always mindful of this and [the] contribution [of our business partners] to the growth of the brand.”

4. Know when to put your foot forward

Creating luxury in today’s health and wellbeing market means, according to Gleeson, considering the needs of a customer the minute they walk through the door.

“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,” she says.

Furthermore, Gleeson believes that every aspect of the interaction should be tailored to meet the needs of customers that are apparent well before initial contact.

“When women arrive in spa their tension and stress is palpable,” she says. “Their shoulders are raised and their body tense. When they leave, their shoulders are relaxed and down.”

By doing so, one creates a necessity out of luxury.

“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,” Gleeson says.

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