20 Years Later, We Have This Woman to Thank for Making Wellness a Priority

Katie Fowler
by Katie Fowler

Melanie Gleeson is the innovative woman behind the spa network (and probably your last facial), Endota Spa. Believing that wellness and relaxation is beneficial in women’s lives is what inspired Gleeson to start the Endota brand at just 26 years of age, and it has certainly paid off. “In the year 2000—when few people recognised the importance of a massage and even fewer people saw the benefit of investing in wellbeing—I opened the first Endota Spa with the vision to help women realise the importance of wellbeing and give them a place to go where they could reconnect and recharge,” Gleeson says.

Living busy and demanding lives is what women do best. Juggling work, family, personal lives, and everything in-between has become the day to day norm for most women, and making time for yourself is considered a luxury, and a scarce one at that. Finding a gap in the market allowed Gleeson to build what is now the largest day spa network in Australia, and has ultimately changed the wellness industry. Slowing down and taking an hour for yourself can be the difference between wanting to pull your partner’s hair out and putting your kids in time-out for an hour, to walking through the door and feeling elated, calm, and repeating “you can do this”. 

Read on for our exclusive interview with the entrepreneur.

MYDOMAINE AUSTRALIA: What is your number one piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs?

MELANIE GLEESON: There is a huge level of personal sacrifice that generally goes hand in hand with starting a business. Especially in the early days. So, I would say, “is this something you truly love?” If the answer is no, then find something else. You spend too much time on this to do something that you don’t believe in.

MD: How did you know relaxation and mindfulness would become so important in people’s lives?

MG: Twenty years ago I was working at a small day spa in Melbourne and saw first-hand the physical and emotional benefits having a spa treatment had on people. Clients, in particular women, would arrive at the spa with their shoulders raised and tension palpable. When they left, you could see the change in them physically, they were relaxed and would remark how amazing they felt. I knew that I needed to be a part of this in a bigger way.


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MD: How do you practice mindfulness and relaxation with such a busy work/life schedule?

MG: It’s not something that comes easily, you actually do need to work at it. I find that starting with a short, guided meditation a few times a week starts the process of learning the practice. I love sitting on the floor, playing Lego with my two young boys, and the simple task of using my hands to create, allows me to be present and spend quality time with them. And we all know children demand nothing less. I also try to go to yoga weekly and do something small for myself everyday, such as having a bath with essential oils, or writing in my Endota Spa Journey to Better Wellbeing Journal ($40) to reflect and set goals.

MD: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

MG: Trust your instincts. The importance of following one’s inner guide is often underrated in business, however, I believe that most of my mistakes came from ignoring my intuition.


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MD: How do you start your mornings?

MG: Before getting out of bed, I like to set my intentions for the day ahead. This helps to centre my thoughts. We have two young, energetic boys so my husband and I work together on wrangling them to jump in the shower and get ready. Some mornings if we’re running on time, my husband will make omelettes. Once everyone is ready and out the door I like to put some music on for the drive to work.

MD: What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?

MG: Learn to say “no”. When I finally started doing this, I felt a sense of freedom and personal happiness. As women, we often put ourselves last on the list, and I found that I was constantly running from one thing to the next and leaving no time for myself. Letting go of the guilt allowed me to say no to things that weren’t crucial. It’s mostly our own fear that stops us from saying no, but when you do, you find that people are actually fine with it.

Can’t make it to your local Endota Spa? Read up on these essential oils that can balance hormones.

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