Mariolga Ericson of La Isla Spa: “Remember that at the end of the day YOU ARE THE EXPERT”

…Remember that at the end of the day YOU ARE THE EXPERT. You hold a license, and clients are coming to you for answers and advice. Don’t let someone try to intimidate or demean you out of your title. As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

…Remember that at the end of the day YOU ARE THE EXPERT. You hold a license, and clients are coming to you for answers and advice. Don’t let someone try to intimidate or demean you out of your title.


As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mariolga Ericson.

Mariolga is the owner of La Isla Spa in Nashville, TN. After many years of working in both luxury and medical esthetics, Mariolga decided to combine her passion for the two very different sides of the industry and create a space where her clients could fall asleep on the table, and wake up with amazing results. La Isla Spa is dedicated to corrective, preventative, and relaxing skincare.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Absolutely! At the very vulnerable age of 11 years old I developed Grade III Acne. I remember my mother taking me to different doctors and specialists to help me with my skin, but none of them seemed to really fix it. Eventually my mother made me an appointment with her esthetician Hélène, and from that day on my life was changed. I remember how reassuring Hélène was when she told me “We are going to fix your acne.” All through out the facial I tried to absorb as much of the experience as possible- the warm table, the steam, the music, the smells. By the end of the facial I was hooked. I looked at my mother and told her “I want to do what she does.” Being an 11 year old girl can be so tough, but I was so lucky to have had her in my life. Fast forward a few years, and at the age of 15 my family moved us to a new state. Around the corner from our new home was a spa, and there I met Tracy. Tracy was an angel, as she encouraged my love for the esthetics industry. She would answer all my questions I had about being an esthetician, and always told me she knew I would succeed in the industry because she saw how much I already loved it. When it came time for me to finally go to esthetics school, she cheered me on from a distance and regularly asked my mother how it was going for me. Now, there isn’t a day that goes by at the spa that I do not think of Hélène and Tracy. It’s been my goal ever since I became a licensed esthetician to make sure every client leaves feeling the same way I did after leaving Hélène and Tracy- beautiful and confident in my own skin.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Honestly, the most interesting stories come from my clients. The transformations that we go through together, both physically in their skin and emotionally in their personal lives, are amazing. I’ve helped clients clear up cystic acne and quit their jobs. I’ve been through divorce with them, through pregnancies, I’ve sent them off for their weddings with glowing skin… Just getting to be a part of someone’s life and making a difference for them has been so cool to me. Nothing compares to those moments when a client comes back and says “Thank you for everything.”

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

I think I started to see success when I allowed myself to be my true authentic self with my clients. No filter, no fluff, just me. Clients all of the sudden related to me and felt they had a sincere connection with me, rather than just another transactional relationship. I not only was their esthetician who did their facials, I was their girlfriend who listened to them and gave them advice. We laughed together, we cried together, and we grew together. My advice to any one else running any type of business is to be yourself. Don’t be who you think social media wants you to be, or who your last employer told you that you had to be. Be you. You are special, you are unique, and you are wanted.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Again, Hélène and Tracy. The type of impact they made in my life is what inspires me daily to continue on in this industry. Also, my parents, who have always supported me chasing my dreams, and are there to catch me if I fall. The success I have today would not be possible without their unconditional love and support. Lastly, my boyfriend. He has made immeasurable sacrifices so that I could chase my dreams. When I envision “success” at La Isla Spa, I see myself being able to take care of my loved ones the way they have taken care of me through out my career. Although I can never repay them for all they have done, I want them to know I love and appreciate them whole heartedly.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

When a client comes to La Isla Spa they will receive a results driven treatment that is both corrective and preventative, as well as relaxing. You should not have to compromise a relaxing treatment just to get good results, and you should not have to compromise good results just to get a relaxing treatment. La Isla Spa is here to be your escape from daily life, and is here to help you achieve healthy skin. With the sun and stress being the top two aging factors, having a spa that values both results and relaxation is key. Also having an esthetician who customizes each and every single treatment to your specific needs is equally as important. Each person is so unique- their skin deserves a unique treatment as well.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

I am so excited to see how CBD will continue to play a role in the beauty industry. There are so many benefits to CBD in skincare already, and with continued research who knows what else it can do for us! I also love that the younger generations are taking an interest to skincare and self care earlier and earlier. It’s never too early to practice good habits, especially when taking care of yourself. If we can teach the younger generations to prioritize selfcare now, then they will grow up with much heal their relationships with themselves. The third thing I am excited for is the new “standard” of beauty. Gone are the days where people feel obligated to wear a full face of makeup before their first cup of coffee. People are now prioritizing the actual health of their skin, and embracing their natural beauty. More and more people are going to work with minimal to no makeup, and that is still 100% professional.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

The biggest thing that concerns me about this industry is the quality of ingredients. Any brand can put some salicylic acid in their cleanser and say they have an “acne cleanser.” However, the quality of that salicylic acid will vary greatly depending on if you purchased your cleanser over the counter or through a licensed professional. To that point, we also have the issue of the “skinfluencer.” While we love social media, it has become far too easy for clients to come across an online page full of mis-information and further damage their skin. I believe social media is meant for inspiration, not education. Lastly, I think people expect their skin to be fixed over night. I constantly have to remind clients that their concern did not appear over night, nor will it disappear over night either. Skin care requires consistency and dedication to see the results you truly want. If I could improve the industry in any way, I’d love to improve the education we give to consumers. They deserve truth, transparency, and realistic marketing.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

Find what makes your soul happy and surround yourself with it. If you fill your life with things that make you happy inside, that happiness will radiate outwards and give you a glow that no facial can. True happiness and inner beauty brings out outward beauty.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

The first thing you need to know to succeed in the modern beauty industry is that your education should never end. You never want to be the smartest person in the room; if that ever happens, run into a different room! Learning from other people will only make you better at what you do.

The next thing to know is that mistakes are not always a bad thing in this industry. Everyone messes up, and that can be difficult to deal with in the moment. But more often than not I find that a “mistake” here can actually be used somewhere else to better my outcome.

Third is to remember that at the end of the day YOU ARE THE EXPERT. You hold a license, and clients are coming to you for answers and advice. Don’t let someone try to intimidate or demean you out of your title.

To succeed in the industry the fourth thing you’ll need to know is to ignore what everyone else is doing. It is too easy to get caught up in what other industry professionals are doing. While you might think this is helpful for your business to compare products or services, it can actually hurt you. All of the sudden you are consumed with someone else’s business, and your own starts to slip away. Just put on blinders and focus on your own business.

The last thing you’ll need is to know who your ideal client is and what they like. One of my mentors taught me the phrase “People like us do things like this.” This phrase has really helped me figure out who I am trying to attract to my business, where I can find them, and what they are looking for from me as a business owner.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want to challenge everyone to invest in themselves. Invest in your mental health, your skin, your physical health, your education… Whatever you choose, you will start to feel so much better about yourself for making that decision, and you will see that your life will begin change in positive ways. I truly believe the more you invest in yourself, the better the outcome you get in life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My mother always says “At the end of the day, it’s all about choices.” I think I heard this every night at the dinner table growing up, and continue to hear it almost every time we talk on the phone. This really stuck with me because I am someone who makes their choices very carefully. At the end of the day, I try to avoid any choice in life that will make me one day think “Well what if I had just gone for it?” I’d rather take the risk any day. If at the end of the day it was the wrong decision, at least I will be able to say I tried.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow La Isla Spa on Instagram and TikTok at @LaIslaSpa .

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.