endota spa

Inspiring passion

endota spa is Australia’s largest day spa network, and most successful day spa franchise system, with more than 90 locations in every state and territory in the country. By providing the highest quality treatment services and the best in organic skincare products, they have earned an unrivalled reputation amongst consumers. And by offering a collaborative, partnership-minded franchise opportunity, they have earned a similar reputation amongst franchisees.
“I think we’ve done so well because we inspire passion,” says Jonathon Nelson, National Planning Manager for the company. “We have a huge amount of advocacy amongst our existing franchisees and customers. We have a lot of people who simply adore the brand and what we stand for.”

The first endota spa was founded by friends Belinda Fraser and Melanie Gleeson on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula in 2000. From the beginning, the two businesswomen had the goal to spread the endota spa name right across Australia – a goal which has since been accomplished, as clients can now find endota spas in resorts, wineries, shopping centres, golf courses, beaches and high fashion streets in every Australian state and territory.
The name ‘endota’ comes from an indigenous Australian word meaning ‘beautiful’ – and that’s what customers can expect to feel after undertaking their spa treatments or purchasing their products.

On the retail side, Jonathon says endota spa is set apart by their vast range of products. In addition to developing and selling their own proprietary skincare products and spa accessories, the company is also an agent for Dermatologica, a popular skincare brand based in the US.

When it comes to body and facial treatments, meanwhile, endota spa has even more points of difference. Due to their expansive network, for example, they have been able to create a popular gift voucher system that Jonathon describes as “fundamental to the brand.”

“People can buy their partner or family members a voucher and they’ll be able to redeem it anywhere,” he explains. “They can redeem it locally, or they can go to the other side of the country and redeem it there. That’s very important to our offering.”

Of course, that system is so highly valued because of endota spa’s extremely high service standards –which they maintain “across the board.” The company has developed a comprehensive in-house training system for everyone from therapists to managers, and Jonathon says the company is “very picky” about the condition of their facilities. Every endota spa, no matter where it is in the country, must present a “beautiful, welcoming and eco-friendly space,” with features such as flawless white walls, stripped wooden floors and timber benches. The ambience of the spas is also carefully curated, with soothing music and essential oils meandering on the air.

Every endota spa location is also encouraged and rewarded for implementing environmental initiatives into their day-to-day operations – which is another important point of difference for the brand. Additionally, the company’s products are all organically-certified by Cosmos, and use natural all-Australian ingredients. Even their gift vouchers are environmentally-conscious, as they include no waste and no excess packaging.

“We have an ethically-sound, environmentally-friendly offering,” Jonathon says. “That’s a key focus of ours.”

A strong network

Since endota spa started franchising, the brand has grown rapidly and steadily across Australia. Today, the majority of spas are owned by franchisees, but Jonathon says the company’s model is a slightly atypical one.
“We’re not what I would call ‘pure franchising,’” he explains. “We don’t offer a turnkey setup that comes in a box. All our spas are in different locations with different demographics and different market demands. Frankly, two endota spas are the same.”

As a result, Jonathon says they look to form “business partnerships” with their franchisees, and give them a greater sense of independence than they might get in other franchise systems. As a brand, endota spas likes to work with franchisees that are willing and eager to be collaborative – and not just with the endota spas management, but with each other as well.

According to Jonathon, the majority of those kinds of people start off as customers or employees of the company. They tend to be people who are passionate about the brand and their mission to help people and create beautiful spaces, and they want to get involved personally. That passion is what the company looks for in their applicants.
“Of course we look at things like finances and experience in running a small business,” Jonathon admits. “But before we look at that, we look at belief and passion. It’s obvious when someone comes to us and they’re passionate about endota and the business. That’s very important to what we do.”

“We need more than just people who are looking for a good return on their investment,” he elaborates. “We need someone who’s going to commit to the brand and buy into the offering.”

If a prospective franchisee meets that criterion and moves forward in the process, Jonathon says the next step would be training. That starts with their most basic level of training, which is focused on the in-spa aspects – the “procedures, systems and standards that we hold sacred about how customers should be received.”
As an example of such a procedure, Jonathon explains that spa customers all receive a billabong footbath before they receive their treatment – and afterwards, they receive a bracelet infused with the scent of the oil involved in their treatment.

“These are the kind of rituals we believe are valuable, and these are the kinds of things we pass on to our franchisees,” Jonathon explains.

Following that training, franchisees will move on to endota management education, which teaches them about the business side of running a spa. Later, once a franchisee’s spa opens, they will be assisted by an on-hand expert for the first three days. From then on, they can liaise with endota spa’s business development team, who can help with essentially all aspects of the business and will visit each spa several times a year.

“The training is ongoing,” Jonathon says. “Each year, a franchisee has a mandatory unit to complete over our online portal. From time to time we’ll introduce new techniques they will need to learn and new menu items the franchisees will need to understand, and we’re always available to help with that.”

Franchisees are also part of a network of like-minded business owners, and they can interact with those fellow owners at a national conference held off-site every year, or at therapist awards nights where they can share ideas and socialize.

“When you join endota spa you’re joining a very strong network, and you’re never alone,” Jonathon adds. “You’re also part of a group marketing fund, and you receive leasing advice, and legal advice, and human resources advice from our support centre.”

Stepping up

Currently, endota spa has 90 locations across the country, with the majority in the brand’s home state of Victoria. Moving forward, Jonathon says they expect that number to reach 120 in the next two years.

Additionally, Jonathon says they are looking to broaden their retail product offering. This year, they’re relaunching a line of products called endota spa organics, and have organised a marketing print and broadcast campaign to support it. Next year, they will look to launch the brand’s first cosmetics range, endota spa colour.
In general, however, Jonathon says they simply want to increase the positive impact they can have on their customer’s daily lives. They see a need in the market for that kind of service, and they want to fulfill that need.
“We’re very mindful that wellness in general is becoming very important to governments and people,” Jonathon says. “There’s been a general groundswell for organic products and a healthier way of life, and I think there’s an opportunity in the market for endota spa to make a difference. We need to step up to deliver more products and more services so people can make the most of what we can offer.”

Short URL: http://www.businessworld-australia.com.au/?p=4758

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