Meet Mary Carol Friddell

Location: Nashville, TN
Age: 58
Marital Status: Married
Education: BA from Brenau UniversityMA from Vanderbilt University

Are you married?

I’ve been married almost 30 years to Charles Friddell.  He’s an attorney and a CPA.

Do you have children?

No.  I have two gorgeous standard poodles that are chocolate with amber eyes. Vladimir and Ivanoff.

Tell me a about your business.

Sixteen years ago I bought a nursing school called NATS, Inc. here in Nashville. I just had a vision for how to fix it. I do all the marketing and administration. We train over 600 nurses a year.

Who has inspired you?

My mother.  She was light years ahead of herself. Most of my friends’ mothers went to school two years and then dropped out and got married.  My mother had the idea to never to depend on a man for anything. And you didn’t hear that back in the ’50s.  My older brother and I were taught that you get your education so you’re able to stand on your own two feet.

Tell me about your style.

Casually elegant. I dress up everyday for work—heels, suits. I never have a dress-down day.

Who influenced your style?

Jamie Stream [owner of Jamie in Nashville]. She brought all these great designers to Nashville.

Why do you like to shop at Jamie?

I’ve grown up there.  She’s been in business since the mid ’70s.  Jamie is a good friend as well as a mentor.  You feel like you’re a part of the family there and they have great service. She carries my favorite designers– Lanvin, Marni, Alberta Ferretti. They’re just so fashion forward. I don’t like to look like everybody else.

Do you have a signature item of clothing?

I wear a size five shoe so my signature item would be shoes.  I love the Christian Louboutins.

What about jewelry?

I would say Gurhan is probably my favorite, and Yossi Harari. They both use 24-karat gold–the Turkish gold. It’s real bright, so on a blonde it looks great.

What about perfume?

Clarins Eau Dynamisante. It’s a real light, clean sporty fragrance, and it’s the only one I can use because I get allergies to everything else.

What do you use to cleanse your face and moisturize?

I love the Natura Bisse line out of Barcelona.  I can see a difference in my skin.  They’ve got a great glycolic peel that I use twice a week. I like their creams, they’re very moisture enriched.  And I wear their Sun Defense Cream that’s 50 SPF everyday on top of my moisturizer.  I love that.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Art. I collect all different things–from black and white to very colorful. It’s just whatever strikes me and makes me happy.

Any favorite artists?

I loved Arthur Weeks. He’s dead now and he was out of Birmingham, Alabama. He always paints colorful oils of interesting subjects.


What do you do for exercise?

I ski and I do a lot of walking and I play golf and tennis.

What about a great book you’ve read?

The Great Gatsby was probably my all time favorite. I love that period when they lived so grandiose. Of course, they were just indulging themselves way too much, but I’m fascinated by being able to indulge that way.  I don’t imagine we’ll be able to live like that again in my lifetime.

What about your favorite wine?

La Crema Pinot Noir.  It’s very smooth, not heavy.  I like a lot of Italian food… tasty, spicy food and it’s great with that.

Favorite restaurant in Nashville?

Margot Cafe. Everyday it’s a different menu.  It’s American cuisine but she’s very clever.  She can put a twist to anything.

What is your favorite place to travel?

I love going to Palm Beach because a little part of me grew up there.  It’s so relaxing and that’s really what rejuvenates me; going to the beach and being with my family and with my dogs. I stay at this the little boutique hotel called The Colony.  The food is great, but it’s very relaxed–not at all what I call frou-frou.

What’ your favorite secret place in Nashville?

We have the most fabulous new public library. On the weekends I love to go in there and check out books and just find a little cubbyhole for myself, you know what I’m saying?

What’s the single most important thing you’ve learned in your career?

To be patient.  I had to go back to the bank to borrow money three times to keep my business afloat in the beginning.

What’s the most important thing you learned about money in your life?

Not to spend it all.  You gotta put some aside for a rainy day — just like we’re having right now.

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