Conversations with Muffie Faith and Nicole Wallen : Lowcountry Women in Business
Tell us about yourself in three words.
MF: Christian. Loyal. Creative.
NLW: Loyal, adventurous, independent.
What's the one thing that changed the trajectory of your life?
MF: When I was 14 my best friend was killed. At that very second, I realized that life is short and love matters the most.
NLW: Moving to South Carolina my senior year in high school. It was rough to leave the friends I had known since kindergarten but ultimately I realized that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and I made a new group of lifelong friends that changed the trajectory of my life in a very special way.
I know you both love to travel, tell me about you time abroad and how it has impacted your business today.
MF: I love to travel! When traveling you realize how small you are and how big the world is. Big in that people are so fabulously different and each culture is critical to the whole. I reflect and think and dream more when I am traveling. I am extremely detailed and notice everything. When I travel I bring back inspirations and colors and how the places I go to feel. Then I paint what I learned …in what I buy, what I found compelling and sharing it is why I am in the business I am in.
NLW: I am an adventurous traveler and have been on some amazing trips. I appreciate immersing myself in different cultures and experiencing the way they live, love and connect with one another. I spent time in Austria, Prague and Costa Rica when I was in Business School and love how these cultures all celebrate friendship with leisurely lunches and long coffee dates on a daily basis.
To both, what is your favorite element of the non-American lifestyle? The siesta?
MF: I love Paris. When I arrive I always go buy a scarf to feel more french. I love the the way the women dress…such great style. I love that dinner is an event and long. Lots of talking, lots of great food and always a sweet dog tucked under someones table. I always think it can’t get any better but then I go to Italy! Family and food and markets every day. Such fresh food and simple living is divine. I slow down when I am in Italy to their pace. I love looking at the flowers and produce and they take their olive oil so seriously. They picnic and celebrate each mouthful. Don’t touch the tomatoes or pick up the fruit to see if it is ripe. I had my hand smacked once.
NLW: I love that so many other cultures walk everywhere and buy fresh flowers and food daily. It makes sharing a meal with family and friends a wonderful event AND supports local business’s. European’s love meeting friends on the street, chatting and make it a daily event. This close connection to people you live with in a village is so special to me.
Nicole, I know you are well versed in other athletic fields like pilates and barre fitness, how did you know barre was where you needed to be?
NLW: I’ve had a chronic back injury for over 20 years and I it only took a few Pilates & Barre classes for me to know that these modalities were exactly what I needed. I loved the classes so much that I decided to get certified to try and teach others how to live without restriction and pain medicines. I started Mt. Pleasant Pilates 10 years ago and Barre Evolution 4.5 years ago and love that the classes focus on the spots women struggle with most and are non-impact. The core focus keeps my low back and abs strong and allows me to chase after my spirited little 4 year old, snowboard and play volleyball again.
Muffie, you were a florist, a designer, photographer, residential designer, what made you hone in on interiors?
MF: I think interiors honed in on me, really. I have a great respect for beauty whether in art or nature, fabrics or a beautiful, well pointed living room. I love to create in all aspects. My children make fun of me because I would rather have flowers than food and I love collecting beautiful things and designing with them. It is so fun creating a beautiful space for a client and knowing how happy they are in the end is the best part of the design process.
Let's turn the tables. Nicole, what part of your home do you just want to curl up in? Where do you nestle in?
NLW: I’ve just started working with Muffie and Emmi on my living room and kitchen and am loving how they feel. Having a beautiful space where I can display special art, or even my sons rock collection while I cuddle up on the couch is a wonderful feeling. My favorite part of the day is sitting at our big farm table and bench with my family for long dinners while we all share stories about our day. The bench and fluffy pillows allow us to pull our feet up and be comfy while we hang out.
Muffie, what activity really gets you going and/or what do you do to stay active?
MF: Yikes! I am always told I move at mock 80 but I am hoping that in 2015 I can take time to do the things I have always loved and not be so busy. I use to paddle board, garden, and loved to fast walk with friends (a great way to catch up) and of course barre class!
To both, what is the number one piece of advice you could give to future female business owners and entrepreneurs?
MF: Be true to yourself and what your gut tells you.
NLW: Yes, I agree with Muffie whole heartedly. A women’s intuition is a beautiful thing and will tell you a lot if you just trust your instincts. Also, ask other seasoned business women for advice. I remember how hard you have to work to get a business off the ground and I love helping other women avoid some of the mistakes I made.
Thank you, Nicole, for taking the time to chat with Muffie. To learn more about Barre Evolution, click here!