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ShopLocalSD: Nicole Miller Boutique

Fifteen years of great fitting dresses.
Photoby Rebekah Sager

Owner Stefanie Lyon has owned one of the only independent Nicole Miller boutiques in the country for 15 years. Lyon fell in love with NM clothing when she bought her first “really nice dress” for her Junior Prom in 1990. Her mom kindly split the cost with her; as it was an expense for the family at $250—this was before anyone had even heard of Nicole Miller.

The NM line was launched in 1982. Miller’s style developed into a fashion institution with four categories of clothing—sportswear, red carpet (collection), ready-to-wear, and bridal—all remarkable for their flattering draping and rouching matched with extremely wearable looks.

Lyon is from Monterrey, and when the first freestanding NM store opened in Carmel, she was the first in line to work at the store. “I only made enough money to shop in the store. I had to get another job to pay for college,” Lyon says.

After graduating from St. Mary’s College with a degree in Anthropology and Archeology, all on a tennis scholarship, Lyon got a job at a winery. “But as much as I love wine, my passion stayed focused solely on the Nicole Miller store. I was making a lot of sales and the management people were starting to notice,” Lyon says.


Nicole Miller sells a lot of bridal gowns.
Photo courtesy of Rebekah Sager


Within months, the Nicole Miller Corporation heads flew Lyon to New York where she met the woman herself, as well as the CEO of the company, Bud Konheim.

She knew then that all she wanted to do was open her own independent Nicole Miller storefront. She got the license from the corporation and the loans and managed to openon Prospect Street in La Jolla.

“La Jolla was different then--all hustle, bustle and lots of tourists,” says Lyon.

NM’s bridal collection started with simple bridesmaid styles. Thirty percent of the business in the La Jolla store comes from the bridal collection, and today that’s mostly wedding gowns.

NM bridal gowns are well loved because they are beautiful and very affordable—the most popular are in the $800-$1,600 range. They are fashion forward and not traditional frou-frou gowns.

Lyon has survived as an independent storeowner by maintaining a very strong relationship with her local San Diego customers. She and her staff keep track of all the events happening around town and what people might need. She tries to order only a few versions of every dress and stays on top of who’s wearing what so there’s less of a chance of a fashion faux pas.

Details »
  • City: La Jolla, CA 92037
  • Phone: 858.454.3434
  • Address: 1275 Prospect Str.