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Idyllic Seaside Pampering with Koukoulee

Nestled in the heart of Oneroa, with idyllic seaside views, sits Koukoulee – a boutique yoga studio. Koukoulee is the perfect way to start your hens’ weekend or to calm the nerves the morning of, by offering a pamper session of yoga, nourishing brunch and massages. We speak to founder Vassia Simou about this luxury offering and how Koukoulee came into fruition….

Tell us a bit about Koukoulee?

Koukoulee started in 2019 as a side project. I was just recovering from corporate burnout and my yoga practice has helped me so much I wanted to share my experience with other people. I had also just moved to Waiheke and I was inspired by the beautiful locations and the impact nature had on my mental health. So, I started organising yoga and brunch events around the island. The weekend retreat enquiries started coming in a couple of months later and then a space became available and we opened up our first yoga studio. It was a great little space that allowed us to build our community and learn a lot but I always had the vision of offering a more holistic wellness experience. My background is in the beauty industry – I was a beauty editor – and I really enjoy the research and development of new services. So, in November 2022 we moved into a bigger space with stunning sea views that allows us to offer alongside our yoga studio a range of massages and beauty treatments with a holistic, natural approach.

Tell us about the experience you offer to your clients?

Koukoulee is the Greek word for cocoon. This is the foundation for everything we do, whether it’s a class, a treatment or a retreat.

Of course we offer standard treatments and classes but what our teachers and therapists do best is listen to our clients and personalise as much as possible based on their needs and emotions on the day. No cookie cutter experiences. I am honestly so proud of our team, each and every one of them is doing an amazing job. They all have a very nurturing nature and a wealth of knowledge that they are always so happy to share and help our clients with their wellness wherever they are on their journey.

Do you ‘Love what you do?’ Tell us why?

Koukoulee was partly created as a way to connect with people and find my community as I had only been in New Zealand for a short time. So, what I love the most is the community that we have built. I love that we are seeing the same people week in week out and we can build a relationship with them. Friendships have been initiated and flourished in our space and it’s just beautiful to watch. Then we have a lot of visitors from all over the world in the summer and get to hear all sorts of stories and connect. Often we become part of an important event in someone’s life – a milestone birthday, a wedding, hens dos, pregnancies – which is such an honour!

What inspires you?

Seeing people progressing with their wellness journey even if they just added one class per week in their routine. It’s what makes me want to carry on.

Describe your current contents of your handbag?

I am quite minimal. Wallet, phone, lip balm (can’t live without it), the Chloe Zara hair and body perfume, headphones, nappies and wipes for my little one.

Talk us through a typical day?

It depends on the season a lot. In the summer, I am usually at the studio around 8.30 am. Classes start at 9 so I am here to greet everyone and have a chat. Some days, I might even join in if there’s space. Once everyone is in the class, I’ll get my coffee and sit on my laptop to respond to emails and work on our marketing. At this point, clients will start coming in for treatments and the classes will be finishing. So, I will be preparing tea for everyone. The afternoons are a bit more relaxed with clients coming and going. If we have a bit of downtime, I usually sneak in the treatment room for a quick facial. I am loving the sonophoresis infusion facial at the moment and I can see a difference on my skin with every treatment. I’ll leave around 5-5.30 pm and head home for family dinner and toddler bedtime. I don’t feel like watching TV these days but I am really into reading so I’ll stay in bed reading until 9.30-10 pm before I fall asleep.

What sets you apart from other similar businesses to Koukoulee?

I think it’s the fact that we are offering an experience rather than just a service. Starting with our space, the high ceilings and bright white walls evoke a sense of wellness and mindfulness and the experience starts from the moment a guest steps into the space. Greeted with a cup of Timmy Smith tea and earthy, subtle scents from our candles. People always comment about how good our space smells and I am quite happy to hear it every single time.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything during your first month of business, what would it be?

Trust the process. If you are putting in the work, good things will happen.

What’s next for you in 2024 and beyond…

I would love to keep expanding our services. Last year it was only relaxation massage and one facial. This year we added more facials, different styles of massages, waxing, brows and lashes. Next, we want nails and reformer Pilates. The vision is to become a one-stop shop for everything wellness on Waiheke.

I have a plan to develop our corporate offerings in 2024. Definitely more retreats in New Zealand and also I would love a retreat in Greece in 2025. I am currently manifesting…

For more visit Koukoulee on the Wild Hearts Vendor Collection here

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