the evolution of endota from spa to holistic wellness brand

In 2000 Melanie Gleeson opened the very first endota spa located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. “Originally we nearly didn’t get our permits because people thought we were going to be a brothel,” says Mel, “People didn’t understand what a day spa actually meant.” This early education and awareness around day spas was crucial to the ongoing success of the brand and relevancy of how spas can positively benefit in day-to-day life.

As endota grew and welcomed its own ever growing product ranges, online Retreat and endota Wellness Colleges across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, it became apparent that endota was much more than the spa brand we originally started as in 2000.

“Flash forward 23 years and people are more aware and more conscious of their holistic wellbeing,” Mel says. Which is why in 2023 we are not only showing up as a spa brand, but a wellness brand as well. This is what has helped shape the next evolution of endota.


What does this mean for endota? We have always believed that the experience of wellbeing is our natural state. It is more than a trend and deeper than a quick fix. Mel explains that although our brand has evolved and we look a little different, our core belief and promise remain.

“The brand was always, and still is, about making people feel better. It’s not just about how we look, but more importantly about how we feel. If we are healthy, happy and confident in who we are, we will feel well and we will be well beings.” 

If we think of wellbeing as a way of life made possible through the rituals we embrace and positive intentions made, then wellness refers to the tools and actions we use to get there — this state of wellbeing. At endota we recognise that wellness is personal. We want people to feel nourished and nurtured in their own way, however best fits them. We want to celebrate and support each of you on your journey to a greater sense of wellbeing. To nourish.nurture.you

a picture says more than a thousand words

“We wanted to capture the essence of the person and we want that confidence to show through. What makes us beautiful and well is all our differences. It would be so boring and not fun if we were all the same,” says Mel, expressing that “We want people to feel confident in their own skin.” This meant we needed an unconventional approach to our photography.

Shoot with natural light, a white backdrop and no wardrobe, makeup, props or retouching. We asked some of the world’s most celebrated photographers, Stephen Ward, Nicole Bentley and Jennifer Stenglein, to capture this in their own creative and authentic way. 

When asked about the creative process, Stephen noted that he found a personal connection to the experience. “It was sort of a brief you dream about having as a photographer, to have a brief where it’s more organic. I was just intrigued by it, it felt like a personal project — it was just really rewarding and was just such a different approach.” Nicole echoed these thoughts, explaining she “Was excited and inspired to see what I could create with this brief. It felt a bit like a gift really to be given at that moment.”

For Jennifer the creative process was unlike any other she had worked on and led her to start looking at people differently. “The whole project was this gorgeous, poetic space of vulnerability [and] it was a beautiful thing that unfolded really. When you strip it all back and there’s the photographer and talent, and you stand in front of one another and you don’t even need to speak, it's just like you’re creating something. I mean there’s so much beauty in that.”

The images taken are raw and real. This stripped back, honest style of photography was important for Nicole. “When I knew I had the time and the space, that's when I would really get an image that felt sincere.” This style of shoot also allowed Stephen to form a quick connection with his subjects. “Basically as a photographer your job is to really connect with the subject quite quickly and that was happening quite fast. No one had been on a shoot like that before [and because of this I] definitely got a different reaction from the talent. I mean I wish I could’ve shot for longer to be honest!”

where to next

Our promise to support you on your journey to a greater sense of wellbeing has and will always remain. We are here to nourish.nurture.you