Hannah Loreto from Eco Spa Mandurah on inspiration and running an award-winning business – Mandurah Mail

FAMILY: Jake, Sunny and Hannah Loreto. Photo: Cat Fancote Photography.
When Hannah Loreto was a little girl, she spent her days creating her own skin products out of ingredients she found in her pantry.

Today, Hannah runs Eco Spa, an organic wellness spa located in the heart of Mandurah’s marina, which has been named the 2021 Peel Business Excellence Awards’ business of the year.

After the awards night saw Hannah and her team take home both Business of the Year and the award for Tourism Excellence, Hannah sat down with the Mail to reflect on her business journey, from the first creative spark to leading a team of 18.
“My love for beauty started at an early age – my mum often reminds me how I used to make myself banana and avocado face masks when I was in primary school, and that the mess drove her mad,” Hannah laughed.
“I remember painting my nails a new colour every second day – and I still remember my first massage on a family holiday poolside in Phuket when I was eight.”
Hannah’s love for all things beauty continued to grow as she got older, and she said it was when she was approaching her twenties that she became truly conscious of the importance of natural living.

“The skin is our largest organ on our body – and it’s important that we look after it,” she said.

“There are so many chemicals in the everyday products we use, so I started focusing on looking after myself through the products I put on my skin.”

It was her passion for natural ingredients that led Hannah to pursuing a career in wellness and beauty, with Hannah deciding her biggest priority would be sourcing organic products to use on her clients.

“Before I opened Eco Spa, I was subleasing from a few hair salons where I ran a small beauty business for a few years.

HARD WORK: Hannah and her husband Jake working to renovate Eco Spa. Photo: Supplied.
“During that time I gained clients and experience along the way.”

At the age of 22, Hannah decided she would take the plunge and open her dream business, a natural and organic wellness spa with 100% Australian-made products.

“I remember my current clients and family hearing that I wanted to open this salon called Eco Spa and not really getting what I was talking about,” she laughed.
“It was eight years ago that we opened, in January of 2014.”

It opened with just one employee and one treatment room – but as the boom of the wellness industry hit, the business she had built up from the ground started to expand.
Hannah said that as her business began to grow, she began attracting like-minded people who would help her propel Eco Spa to an entirely new level.
“I hired a second employee, Monique – who is now our manager, she has been with me for around seven years and she is amazing.
“We had an office that we turned into a treatment room and then just kept building on.”
DREAM TEAM: Hannah Loreto with Eco Spa manager Monique Chiricosta. Photo: Supplied.
When Eco Spa reached spatial capacity, Hannah realised she would need to rent a second space to cater to demand.
“There was a place that came up for lease at the back of our shop – that is where we performed all of our massages – it was hard having two different areas to manage and we had to walk through another space to get there.
“I was waiting for one of the shops on either side of us to become available and eventually one of them did.”
Hannah was able to expand Eco Spa, securing 17 treatment areas and hiring a team of 18 staff members.
Having never been in charge of such a large number of staff before, Hannah said she went through a lot of self growth to ensure she built a beautiful culture for the entire team.
“It’s very much a learning process and it’s kind of not something you can prepare for – you just have to learn as you go and do the best you can.
“My own personal development played an important role – learning the tools for emotional regulation so I can respond instead of react to the many stressful situations that arise in business with a calm and balanced mind.”

BEAUTIFUL CULTURE: Hannah says the staff at Eco Spa have created a beautiful working environment.
Hannah says the relationship between staff has enriched the salon, with the positive environment carrying over to influence how clients feel,
“The culture is really beautiful – so many of our girls say they have never worked in a place like it.
“We have zero tolerance for bullying and we really strive to provide a supportive environment with great managers.
“We don’t hire on skill, we hire on whether they’re a good person because we can teach the skill.
“Our manager Monique is a trainer and assessor, so if they’re the right fit for us then we welcome to the team and we will teach them anything we need to teach them.”
With an expanding, successful business and life being at an all-time-high, Hannah and her husband Jake decided it was the perfect time to grow their family.

“In the lead up to having my little girl, Sunny, we knew eventually one day we would have kids, so I was working hard to set up Eco Spa before that happened.
“All systems were running smoothly so I could transition myself out of working inside the business performing treatments to working from home.
“Once Sunny arrived she became my full time job and when she’s sleeping I get on to my computer to do some work.
“It wasn’t easy to set that up, no one will really know how much hard work went into creating it, but it’s also rewarding in a lot of ways.”
When Hannah is not writing systems and procedures for Eco Spa, she and her little family like to take their camper trailer away for the weekend to enjoy nature.
“Right now as we speak we just arrived in Lancelin for a spontaneous camping trip – we love to go out camping and fishing and get outdoors.
“We just went on a six-week trip for my birthday up to Karijini (National Park) and up north and hiked all the gorges, we decided we needed to see more of this beautiful state.”
Hannah said one of her main tips for running a successful business was learning to adapt when things go awry.
“We were shut for about 10 weeks last year during COVID which was quite scary, not knowing when or if we were going to come back out of it.
“During that time we revisited the whole menu, created some new treatments, renovated and creating ‘home journey boxes’ so people could enjoy a spa day at home.”
Hannah and her team delivered home journey spa boxes from Rockingham to Dawesville, delivering to clients who were missing their services.
“Those were really successful – they allowed us to keep paying our rent, we had to pivot and adapt.
“We were thankfully able to open again and now, more than ever, people are putting more focus on their health and wellness.”
When asked what advice she would give to someone wanting to start their own business, Hannah said she encouraged people to lean into every opportunity, even if it seemed hard at the time.
“I love it when people want to go for it. It’s about the ‘why?’ and having clear goals and the drive knowing that it’s going to take time.
“If you want to scale and grow your business, you have to create systems and procedures, it’s literally your full-time job.
“People think ‘oh you own a day spa, you must get treatments all the time, it must be relaxing’ – if only you knew,” she laughed.

Hannah said she has big plans for the future of Eco Spa, which include the possibility of becoming a franchise.
“We have been working on setting Eco Spa up to franchise and plan on taking the brand national – and we are welcoming interest from potential investors.”
After eight incredibly successful years in business, Hannah is still highly focused on her ‘why’ – providing nurturing and nourishing wellness and spa treatments to the Peel and beyond.

“We are bombarded every day with chemicals – through the food we eat, our water supply, the air we breathe, the cleaning products we use and the chemicals we unknowingly apply to our skin every single day which wreak havoc on our systems.

“It’s important we choose to actively minimise our daily exposure and use natural alternatives where we can to reduce the toxic load so our bodies can thrive how they are supposed to.”

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