WOW Magazine had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ms. Le Yen Nguyen a 30-year veteran in the skincare industry and founder of Ecobel Med Spa, a medical and day spa, located in Atlanta, Georgia, serving Buckhead and surrounding Atlanta areas.
For more than 3 years as the owner of award-winning Ecobel Med Spa (www.ecobelmedspa.com) Buckhead, Atlanta, Le Yen Nguyen has helped thousands of Atlantans and people from around the world experience and embody feeling beautiful from the inside out. Her core insights into lifelong vitality and elegance evolved from a saying she learned from her parents as a child in Vietnam, and again while studying at the elite aesthetics schools of Europe: Le Yen is a graduate of two highly regarded skincare schools: the Ecole Internationale des Estheticiennes de Direction (now known as Elysees-Marbeuf); and the Italian school Emmanuelle Rossetti. She was also certified as a French Board-certified Master-Esthetician since 1981. Le Yen considers herself a “visagiste”, a formal title that allows her to examine a person’s face and skin and design a treatment that matches the contours of their unique appearance.
Ecobel, which won “Best Med Spa Service” in Atlanta in 2015, Le Yen is a leading authority on anti-aging and hormone replacement therapies for both men and women. She is certified in Anti-Aging Medicine by Empire Medical Training in 2016 and trained with world renowned Anti-Aging endocrinologist Dr. Thierry Hertoghe in Belgium in 2015. She is also certified by CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology), a pioneering organization located in the United Kingdom. She is Professionally Endorsed and certified by Spas2b, an advanced spa training school in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada since April 2015. Le Yen’s journey to success in America came after periods of challenge and adversity. Her career as a budding entrepreneur began in Vietnam as a teenager, where she sold her family’s household goods on the streets after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Sherry: I note one of your core principles is beauty from the inside out. Why is this important? Le Yen: It is important for two reasons. First of all, I was taught this as a child. The phrase that sticks with me the most is what my mother used to say to me in Vietnamese: “pretty is, what pretty does”. My mom always instilled that in me as well. “Pretty is what pretty does” refers to your behavior and how you treat your inside, and your body, this is how the beauty is going to radiate on the outside. When you are considering looking to a professional for anti-aging and hormone replacement advice, a client really needs to seek someone who will view them as a whole person. You have to be healthy and beautiful on the inside in order to be beautiful on the outside. As a “Visagiste” (a French word meaning designer of the face), I help people understand the full scope of their internal and external health and how every decision we make together is connected to revitalizing and restoring their natural elegance. Second, we all know that the skin is a billboard of your inner health. When you see the skin on the outside you see all the symptoms of the inside of the skin. From extensive studies in Chinese Medicine and other traditions, I know that the deep immune system is very important in defining how you look and feel on the outside. If you have a healthy inside everything is going to radiate through. You are going to feel beautiful and look elegant on the outside.
Sherry: How has your multicultural upbringing and or exposure impacted your view of the world? Le Yen: My global experiences are the foundation of everything I do. It’s where the East meets the West in my life. I was born and raised in Vietnam. I have traditional Asian values that were taught by my parents at home. So that’s how I view the world. That is what helped to shape my outlook on the world. From a young age, I also had a western outlook on the world such as civil rights, women’s emancipation, and living democracy in the third world. Those are issues that have always been important to me. My understanding of sophistication and world couture came from my Father. He is the most stylish man I have ever known. My family experienced the fall of Saigon firsthand. After a year of living with that devastation, we relocated to France where I received a formal education in French schools. The mix of the cultural upbringing that I had helped me understand a broad view of culture and beauty. Plus, I have advanced studies in Paris, Italy and the U.S. Yes, I am a 30- year female entrepreneur in America, and part of my success stems from an intimate understanding of people from every walk of life.
Sherry: Could you kindly inform readers of some of those values?
Le Yen: Some of the values that I carry are service before self, caring for others, respect for the elderly, integrity, and excellence in what you do – do your best all the time.
Sherry: What inspired you to enter the skin care industry?
Le Yen: I would say not what but who. It was my mom. Growing up in Vietnam, we had times when my mom could afford to buy cosmetics and skincare. But other times when we couldn’t, she made home remedies. I was watching her doing hand masks for her hands, rinse for her hair, so those kinds of things. I grew up watching her take care of herself. In Asian culture, your parents always raise you to grow up and be either an engineer or a doctor. But I just knew that it was in me, the love for skincare, the passion for skincare was in me and that’s what I followed. I followed my instinct and my love. That’s why I’m in skin care today. So it’s very important that you treat your inside well so that you can reflect the beauty on the outside.
Sherry: What does a regular consultation entail?
Le Yen: Often when people come to me they want instant gratification. So, what I would do is treat their outside first, to give that instant gratification, to beautify the skin on the outside. Then I tell them that to truly have long-lasting beauty, one must take care of the inside. We do that using various scientific methods. We do hormone therapies where we balance you.
Stress over the years or everyday stress can cause your body to go into inflammation and inflammation causes aging, weight gain, and various chronic diseases. Much of it stems from imbalances in the hormones. I often recommend a program to detoxify to help remove chemicals in the fat tissues, liver, and kidneys to reduce inflammation. Then after that, we do comprehensive blood work to measure the hormones and work to balance the hormones so that the body can function properly again.
Sherry: I’d like to know, for our readers, what was one of your greatest challenges in business and how did you overcome that challenge?
Le Yen: Great question. I would wrap that up in three things. It is a competitive industry. It is very hard to compete against businesses that have low integrity, drive prices to the bottom and make everything a cheap commodity. That is not the approach someone should take with their own skin. In order for us to continue to provide excellent service, it costs money and training, and the right staff. It is a constant challenge to compete against businesses that do not do quality but quantity, hustling volume at a very low price. That is what my first challenge is – competitors that have low integrity in their business practice. The second one is my business practice itself. When I started my business, I started with my savings and very low start-up funds. Therefore, for many years, I had to work and reinvest in my company. What that meant is that I had to sacrifice my earnings in order to reinvest in my company. For many years it was very, very, hard. There were tough times financially. Any business person – especially someone with an entrepreneurial spirit – understands the importance of finances. In such a competitive space, and with clients who carry such extraordinary expectations, the business side of the business is a constant challenge. The third thing is people, meaning staff. We are in a different era. It’s been challenging over the years to find and retain staff who embrace the culture of Ecobel, which is integrity, customer service as our utmost priority, and then excellence. People are content with being rich, doing just enough to have a job or a career path.
Sherry: What are some of your secrets to success and how would you encourage readers to start a business?
Le Yen: To advise somebody to start a business, I would say, be ready to work harder than your staff. Be ready to work 60 – 70 hours to build that business. And plan a lot of planning. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s what I have to say. People should also acknowledge their strength and weaknesses, and always celebrates your strengths. I think the secret to the success of Ecobel is me. It’s just who I am as a person. It’s been a lot of hard work, and 100% worth it. You have to have integrity. I refuse to be average. It’s just who I am, You need a lot of persistence and hard work. A few times I have fallen. But I have picked myself up and kept going. You just have to keep going.
Sherry: You mentioned that sometimes you failed, how did you encourage yourself? How did you get back on your feet? What steps did you take to bounce back to a higher level of success?
Le Yen: I think my upbringing. I was raised during the Vietnam War. I had fought battles to survive, immigrated to a new country twice, and faced cultural and social challenges along the way, including being bullied while I was in school. As a result of the hardships, I learned to be resilient and self–reliant. It is 30 years after opening Ecobel and I am unveiling a completely new side to my business that will complement the spas services perfectly. Ecobel Med Spa is still anchored in the Buckhead business community to this day.
Le Yen is the owner of a woman-owned business in the hypercompetitive health and wellness industry. Ecobel Med Spa is located at 2996 Grandview Ave NE #224, Atlanta, GA 30305, (404) 960-0812). The spa is open 10 am – 6 pm. Le Yen is available for one-on-one VIP consultations for anti-aging and hormones. For more information on Le Yen’s special events, speaking, workshop and training, contact E. Emmet Brady, the brand strategist at 510-759-7624.