Lorraine Love recently made history as the first to open a Black-owned bridal store in Minnesota. She is the founder of Saint Paul-based boutique LaNoire Bridal (The Black Bridal), a business she launched in May this year.
“The bridal industry, I know it lacks diversity and representation of different cultures and backgrounds,” she told Kare11. “I get tons of customers that walk into this bridal shop and share their experience that wasn’t so comfortable, wasn’t so welcoming.”
She further told the outlet that an essential aspect of her business is the fact that she has a variety of designers that caters to a diverse group of individuals. Currently, LaNoire Bridal has over 10 designers who create various styles for brides in all shapes and sizes.
LaNoire Bridal offers designers including but not limited to Dovita, Chic Nostalgia, Pantora, and La Premiere in sizes 2 to 36. They also carry veils, hair accessories, belts, jackets, hats and bridal jewelry, according to Minnesota Bride.
In an interview with Fox 9 Minneapolis, Love said she settled on the name La Noire after playing around with a bunch of different names and thinking about what Black means in other languages.
“And also realizing that, when I was doing my research that we didn’t have any Black-owned bridal shops here in Minnesota so that was another driver to me being in this field right now,” she said.
Since launching her bridal store, she has sold over 30 bridal gowns. And according to Kare11, her first clients included Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez of Richfield, Minnesota, who went with her friends and mother-in-law to fit gowns at the store.
“I think the wedding industry caters to making women feel like they need to fit a certain mold, and it can be really uncomfortable,” Gonzalez said, adding that she is thankful to LaNoire Bridal for helping her to represent her culture through her dress and making her comfortable.
Prior to opening the first Black-owned bridal boutique in Minnesota in May, Love spent eight years as a hair and makeup artist and two years as a wedding planner. According to Minnesota Bride, she was inspired to open LaNoire Bridal after dress shopping for her siblings’ weddings.
Love’s ultimate goal is to sell more than just dresses. She wants to become a “one-stop-shop” that sells menswear and gowns for women from different cultures to be custom-made by local designers or sourced from around the world.