Indie Beauty Profile

Melanie Gleeson, endota

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Indie Beauty Profile Melanie Gleeson, endota
In her Indie Beauty Profile, Melanie Gleeson, founder of endota, tells how a first job in beauty grew into a spa services business and eventually a brand with 3 distinct product lines. And, she passes along the advice of a friend that changed her into an entrepreneur.

Regular readers (and video viewers) of Cosmetics Design will know that all things Australian are quite popular in North America just now, which may be why Gleeson believes that she and her brand “have arrived at a serendipitous moment in time where endota is perfectly positioned to maximize the opportunity in the global wellness market.” ​Hers is a spa brand that has outgrown the spa and now comprises 3 product lines as well as the original business: conventional skin care, organic skin care, and color cosmetics.

Here, the beauty entrepreneur shares a profile of herself and the brand.

Name: ​Melanie Gleeson, CEO and Founder

Indie Beauty Company: ​endota

Launched: ​2000

Headquarters: ​Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Cash flow: ​I remain the single largest shareholder with a small group of investors who help guide me and the senior executive team in meeting our goals.  I am 100% involved in the day-to-day running of the endota business and continue to be the soul behind the brand and its creative growth.

We are now Australia’s leading day spa brand with over 103 spas nationwide and double-digit growth year-on-year.

Indie how? ​To me what defines an indie beauty brand is innovation, passion, and being nimble enough to move with the market. The values and the soul behind the brand are shared amongst all those who work with the brand. Never becoming complacent and never losing sight of their guiding principles and brand values.

Team work: ​Our head office/support center has 64 employees - 59 full-time staff and 15 part-time staff.  The entire endota network has 1,157 therapists.

Distribution: ​endota products are sold on our own ecommerce website – shiping to Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Canada, and of course the United States of America.

We are ranged in selected David Jones Department Store and 103 endota Spa locations nationwide, including endota Light & Hydration Studio – Sydney International Airport, Raine Square in Perth, WA.

Years in beauty: ​I’ve been in the beauty and wellness industry for over 25 years.

Years at endota: ​19

Entrepreneurial experience: ​I started endota spa because I wanted to make people feel better. My career started at a day spa in Melbourne in my early 20s where I witnessed the benefits of visiting a spa first-hand. Women would arrive stressed, with noticeable tension in their bodies (shoulders raised). Then about an hour later, after their treatment, you could see the physical and feel the emotional change in them – it was so positive and so powerful. From here I thought, I really want more people to experience this.

I feel an overwhelming sense of connection to the endota spa brand – it is an intrinsic part of who I am. There have been so many happy memories here but watching the business evolve from a young, entrepreneurial, fast-moving company to a more considered, business without losing the essence of the brand has been a truly rewarding experience. Recognising the valuable contributions made by all members of our network and building a supportive team around me has enhanced the business and lifted us to a new level. By far, the highlight of my career has been the growth and evolution of endota spa into the collaborative, professional and insightful brand that it is today.

The business: ​At endota, our spas are haven’s, somewhere for women to escape. Through our Australian Made product ranges, we encourage women to continue to create a haven at home and take time out, in order to be the best version of themselves. We want women to accept and enhance their natural beauty with endota OrganicsT​, endota New Age, and endota COLOUR ​products.

endota Organics was developed using the pure essence of Australian native plants and has passed the stringent criteria to be certified organic by the international body COSMOS. Our unique bio-active plant complex containing Lemon Aspen, Lillypilly and Davidson Plum provides nourishing, antioxidising and rejuvenating and hydrating benefits to the skin and has been embraced by women looking to nature to maintain their beauty.

Our next generation New Age ​product range has been developed in response to a move away from harsh treatments to a more conscious approach to ageing. By harnessing the power of scientifically advanced peptides and potent botanical stem cells New Age has been shown [in clinicals] to dramatically improve the skin’s condition and deliver age-defying results.

The wow-factor: ​To educate women that they must invest in their own self-care: it is not a luxury or a treat it is necessary for their own wellbeing. The aim is to provide women with the knowledge for personal reflection, helping them make authentic choices, set goals and create intentions in order to live their best life, in line with endota spa’s brand philosophy.

Milestone moment: ​In 2018, we won Best Australian Beauty Brand in the Prix de marie claire Beauty Awards.  This is the most prestigious consumer voted beauty award in Australia.

Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: ​Before I started the business, a friend said to me, "You can keep dreaming about this, or you can do it." She was right, so I stopped dreaming and I did it.

Acceptance - Know who you are. Confidence - Trust in your abilities. Resilience - Don’t give up, you have the inner knowing. Intuition - Listen to your spirit, it will guide you.

Just one: ​asked about her desert island beauty product, Gleeson says it’s the endota Deep Hydration Face Moisteriser – this for me is my go-to moisteriser, the hydration stays with me all day.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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