As a self-proclaimed “hype woman” for brides, it’s safe to say Nicole (aka Nikki) Barré is an expert when it comes to helping women find the perfect wedding dress. When she opened Nicole Barré Bridal Boutique, Nikki set out with the goal of being every bride’s safe person, helping them not only find their gown but themselves, too. Before brides even step foot into the boutique, Nikki gets to know each woman on an individual level so they feel heard and supported. When they arrive at her store, she greets them with her warm personality, a glass of champagne and a pressure-free atmosphere. We’re excited to introduce you to our newest FACE of Memphis, Nikki Barré!
Tell us about your boutique and how you got started in the bridal industry.
We offer our brides an unmatched one-on-one shopping experience with her closest friends and family. I like to get to know my brides before they ever enter the shop so I can tailor the appointment specifically for them. I want every one of our brides — and their squads — to have a fun and memorable experience while shopping for their dream gown.
I am Team Bride all the way! I want my brides to feel supported and beautiful during the entire shopping process — from the first contact to the final delivery of a gorgeous custom gown. I want them to have the most memorable experience and never forget how they felt when they found “the one.” I imagine we always want a “hype woman” by our side, so I’ve made it my mission to be just that for my brides.
Speaking of your goal to be a bride’s “hype woman,” what inspired that mission?
I have been in the fashion and beauty industry for more than 20 years. My husband is a wedding photographer. When we met, my obsession with wedding gowns blossomed. I left the beauty industry to work in a bridal boutique and found my passion for working with brides. I’ve always considered myself a “day-maker” — endlessly optimistic — so this was the perfect way to do that. Making my brides happy gives me great joy and creates lasting friendships that I covet.
What is a common misconception about bridal dresses or dress shopping you would like to clear up?
Brides should be open-minded about styles when shopping for gowns. Most brides leave with a style they never thought to try on. Always trust your consultant.
How do you choose the dresses that you carry in your store?
I wanted to bring designers to Memphis that would be exclusive to us. You have to know your clientele. I watch trends, but I also have a great idea of what brides in this area want. Our designers offer thousands of different gowns. I meticulously choose gowns that have beautiful fabrics, gorgeous beading, and timeless lace. We have something for every bride — from classic and boho to mermaid and ballgown.
Do you have a memorable moment of helping a bride find the dress?
There are so many sweet moments that come to mind, but one of my favorites was in the fitting room with a bride. I didn’t even get her zipped up before she started squealing, “This is my dress!” Her sisters and mom could hear her from our lounge area and were all chanting for her as she exited. We walked out of the fitting room and the tears were already flowing. The bride stepped onto the pedestal, and we all held hands dancing around her and cheering her on. This moment still chokes me up because the love in the room was overwhelming.
What are some of the biggest bridal dress trends right now?
Clean, classic looks and capes. Lots of intricate beading, illusion lace, low backs and sexy shapes.
What do you love most about owning your own store?
My boutique is an extension of my personality — from the way it looks to the atmosphere I’ve created. We designed it from the very beginning to be the most beautiful boutique in the Mid-South. I love that a bride can walk in and immediately feel like she is going to have an amazing shopping experience. It’s a stunning space! We get lots of “oohs and ahhs!” I also love that my brides can shop without pressure or judgment. They can be themselves. We have fun and really get to know each other while she puts on some truly stunning gowns.
How has your business had to adjust in light of COVID-19?
We were only open for eight weeks before the shutdown, so honestly, it wasn’t too much of a shock to us. Sales certainly slumped during the shutdown, but our shopping model is perfectly suited to the “new normal” since we were designed from the start for small, private groups of close family and friends. Our sales have been above our projections since we reopened.
Where can we find you when you’re not at your boutique?
I love to frequent Memphis restaurants, cook with my husband and spend time walking at Shelby Farms.
What is your best piece of advice?
“Don’t adapt to the energy in the room — influence it. Be strong! Take control!”
Aside from faith, family and friends, name three things you can’t live without.
NARS “Jungle Red” lipstick, uproarious laughter, and lots of travel with my hubby.