Just mention the name NIKKIBIEDES and fashionistas across the Caribbean clutch their pearls in delight at the thought of owning a piece from the gorgeously designed jewelry line. The reaction isn’t surprising because they look like the jewelry you see on the pages of popular fashion magazines. Oh, but wait, maybe you have! NIKKIBIEDES has been featured in international publications like, Tattler, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, Elle and Vogue. And why wouldn’t they be? Take one look at the NIKKIBIEDES Instagram page and you can see why. Whether it’s bracelets, earrings, necklaces or body chains, every single NIKKIBIEDES piece is a handmade embodiment of Caribbean Chic.
So how did this homegrown Caribbean brand become so wildly popular, that it’s making waves beyond the region? The answer to that is Nicole de Gale-Mc Intosh, the woman/powerhouse behind the brand. Once you meet the 34-year-old, St. Lucian born, Grenadian raised now Barbadian resident, you completely understand why that is. The self-described free spirit has all the right ingredients for success. Along with her passion for fashion and an eye catching sense of style, Nicole is driven, strategic and has a proclivity for hard work. The fact that she has achieved so much without any formal training as a jewelry designer, is a true indication that the above is not an overstatement.
Nicole has always been creative but if you had told her years ago that this is what she would be doing now, she would not have believed it. In fact, when she declared her desire to study graphic arts after high school, she was met with a big fat “absolutely not” from her dad. “You need to have a proper career to survive financially he told me.” So, with that came a year of prelaw followed by several years in sales, an area she excelled in. Nicole worked selling advertising at SHE Caribbean Magazine where she was mentored by publisher and Caribbean fashion maven, Mae Wayne, who had a big influence on her, and it would be here that her desire to study fashion was ignited. Nicole’s enthusiasm to pursue the calling of her creative side was once again met with an equally enthusiastic “no” from her father. Deciding to stick with what she knew and did well, Nicole continued in sales, and went onto work for Windjammer Landing in St. Lucia selling real estate. But during the latter part of the eight and a half years that Nicole was with Windjammer her gift of creativity innocently made its way to the public domain and created a pathway to the beginning of a journey that would see her living out her passion.
An afternoon of downtime spent leisurely skimming the pages of a magazine was the starting point of that journey. Struck by what she described as a stunning photo of a woman on the beach “dripping” in beautiful beaded jewelry, Nicole was inspired. She decided to make herself some jewelry using beautiful iridescent glass beads, by the time she was done she had made 40 necklaces which she layered on and wore to a function. Nicole was surprised by the reaction to her creations which were a huge hit! So much so that when someone asked her how much it would cost for her to make some for them, she hadn’t even thought about selling them and said she would do three necklaces for five dollars! The orders started pouring in and Nicole, was christened NIKKIBIEDES by her then fiancé, now husband, Shimon. As word of mouth spread and the orders became more than she could handle on her own, Nicole enlisted the help of her best friend and sister Bianca, which is the reason for the unusual spelling of the word “beads”.
Demand continued to grow with every popup Nicole had. In 2015, Nicole decided it was time to officially launch NIKKIBIEDES. She went from glass beads to semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls. The contacts she made throughout her years in sales proved to be extremely helpful and opened the doors for NIKKIBIEDES to be carried in boutiques in several islands. In Barbados you can find NIKKIBIEDS collections in Sandy Lane, Sugar Apple, South of London and Butterfly Boutique. Nicole is toying with the idea of doing a line specifically for pets, since she has gotten a few requests for collars from some of her clients. Not too bad for someone who was told to get a serious job huh? If the phrase “you were destined to do this” had a photo next to it, Nicole’s photo would be right next to it.
NIKKIBIEDES’s demographic covers the gamut from the pre-teen to the more mature woman which Nicole attributes to the versatility of the brand. “NIKKIBIEDES is an affordable luxury brand, there are so many different aspects to it, there are so many different collections. You can be chic, you can also be fun, you can also be funky, you can be edgy, you can be elegant. I want women to have fun with it, I just want women to feel beautiful in it, powerful in it, elegant, chic and I don’t want them to break the bank.”
Nicole took her creative gifts, love for fashion, tenacious drive and capacity to work hard at anything she does and channeled it into a line that reflects elegance and sophistication of the Caribbean woman.
And while she has accomplished a great deal and come a long way from where she started, Nicole is not stopping here. “I have a vision for NIKKIBIEDES, I would like to be the John Hardy or David Yurman of the Caribbean, I don’t know how I am going to get there but I’m going to work hard, and I am going to try my best.” Judging by what she has done so far, we know Nicole and NIKKIBIEDES are well on their way.