NikkiBiedes produces a range of pieces, including necklaces, bracelets, anklets, body chains and earrings beautifully crafted from semi-precious stones,
pearls, glass beads, silver, 14K gold and vermeil. There is something for everyone; children, adults, lawyers, doctors, college students… you name it! Intrigued by her five-star quality work, Dazzle could not miss the opportunity to take a peek into the fascinating realm of NikkiBiedes. Dig in!
Dazzle: Where did the idea for NikkiBiedes come from?
Nicole: I decided to get back in touch with my creative side after having quite a bit of free time on my hands. One day I was flipping through a magazine and saw these necklaces that I really liked and wanted but had no idea where to buy them. So I found some beads and started making my own pieces and before I knew it, I had made 40 necklaces. I attended the christening celebration for my friend’s daughter, wearing my necklaces. Everyone loved them and wanted to know where I got them from. Needless to say, they were surprised when I said I had made them. The next question was how much do you charge? I had never thought of selling my creations. And although making just one of these necklaces took me 30 minutes, I sold them at $5 for three. Word got around and the orders started pouring in. People started calling me NikkiBiedes for fun and then my fiancé also started calling me that, so I decided to brand my craft using that name.
Four glass-bead necklace collections later, and after penetrating regional markets, Nicole knew that she wanted to develop her brand further with more designs and collections. In April 2015 she officially launched NikkiBiedes with a popup shop in her yard. She got more patrons than she had anticipated, including 30 sales from different clients. She attributes the unusual spelling of ‘beads’ to the need to reflect the bond she shares with her younger sister and trusted best friend, Bianca.
Dazzle: Do you do custom pieces?
Nicole: Yes, I do. Do I enjoy doing custom pieces? Not so much because I feel like I am making what somebody else wants me to make. I love doing my own thing for people to see and love. I try to accommodate my loyal clients from time to time though.
Dazzle: Are your products available in stores?
Nicole: While I don’t have my own store here, at Windjammer Landings the late managing director and his wife approached me with the idea of adding Nikki Biedes to the St. Lucian design store within the mini-mart. I must admit that selling in a mini-mart was not the vision I had for NikkiBiedes. I decided against it but he asked me to trust him because clients had been raving about my pieces. It turned out that out of 41 designers, NikkiBiedes was the number one selling brand. I also do a lot of small popup shops, which are not always widely publicized to give my clients a bit of an exclusive shopping experience.
NikkiBiedes will soon be available at Krisoff Boutique in Grenada before the end of the year and there are also plans to team up with Barbadian swimsuit designer, SugaApple. This type of regional collaboration is not new to Nicole as NikkiBiedes has also sold in Trinidad in a collaborative venture with designer, Anya Ayoung-Chee.
Dazzle: What doors have been opened for you since you started?
Nicole: Well, I was honoured when in 2015 Fiona Compton actually used some of my pieces to style and accessorize her collection for Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica. But I think the biggest thing for me was attending Hot Couture in 2015, using the profits from NikkiBiedes to buy front-row tickets for Bianca and me. I just had to be there because Anya Ayoung-Chee would also be there! It was worth the investment because Anya’s mentor, Meiling Esau who is a massive designer in Trinidad, approached us and sparked conversation. I took that opportunity to tell her that I design jewellery and she encouraged me to come visit her in Trinidad and pledged to help me get my pieces across the Caribbean, which I took for kind talk. (Lol). That was in May and I went to Trinidad that September and we met for lunch. She asked that I bring some pieces to try to tap into Anya’s market. Fortunately, she did keep her word and she taught me a lot about how to showcase my pieces and get into other regional markets. Anya agreed to work with me and I did a popup shop there that received tremendous support!
Dazzle: How do you want to be remembered?
Nicole: My dream for NikkiBiedes is to be in the high-end boutiques within the Caribbean. I want to be the David Yurman, John Hardy of the Caribbean. Not that I try to compare my jewellery to his but name-wise I would like to be recognized as a Caribbean designer who makes chic and affordable pieces so that you can have as many as you wish.
All the best Nicole! We will be following the growth and success of NikkiBiedes as the brand sweeps across the region.