Artist Profile: Dina Shikhman, Toujours Bridal
By: Valeria Nunziato // 11.15.2020
A woman born to be in the wedding industry, Dina Shikhman is truly a jack of all trades. A seasoned opera singer who has performed in Carnegie Hall and across Europe turned wedding planner turned bridal consultant, Dina is not just the proud owner of the luxe bridal boutique, Toujours Bridal, she is the heart of it.
The 2,600 square foot modern California-chic space comes to life with the incomparable selection of European designed fashions hand-picked by Dina herself. As a female businesswoman still on the brink of turning 30, Dina is already building an empire in the bridal industry. What’s even more impressive is her devotion to ensuring each person that walks through her doors leaves with an unforgettable experience.
When you first walk into the window-lined, Rodeo Drive-esque boutique that overlooks Bathurst and Centre Street, you are immediately mesmerized by the dreamy, romantic gowns floating amongst the soft blush and shimmering gold décor. It’s the kind of pleasing minimalistic aesthetic that would make any Instagrammer want to whip out their phone for the perfect snap. But before you can, Dina is already enchanting you with her friendly and welcoming demeanour, dissolving any inclinations you may have had about walking into a boutique of this calibre. This is because as an active member in the bridal industry, Dina had one goal in mind: to offer luxury couture gowns without the luxury price tags.
Dina opened Toujours Bridal in November 2019 and was excited to sit down and chat with me about her growing business as her one-year anniversary fast approaches. “This is a very happy industry to be in, and I enjoy making people happy,” she says when asked about why she decided to build a career in the wedding industry. Toujours Bridal is Dina’s way of solving the problems she encountered while previously working as a bridal consultant before opening her own boutique. After noticing the pattern of overcrowding racks with repetitive styles and a lack of couture boutiques outside of downtown Toronto, Dina was determined to open a local boutique that offered luxury shopping that didn’t compromise on experience. Dina’s selection of dresses includes up and coming European designers including Milla Nova, Pollardi Fashion Group and Sima Couture, explaining that her intuition with her customers, listening to their feedback and requests, has helped her curate the refined selection of gowns she carries.
Wanting to eliminate the overwhelming nature of bridal shops today, Dina focused a lot on the open concept of the store, with private bridal suites being the only closed off spaces. Spacious enough to fit a small group of guests, the suites offer customers a fairy-tale experience during their appointment, which Dina guides. “It’s not about being a salesperson,” Dina explains about helping brides find the gown, “it’s about being a bridal consultant.” Listening and paying attention to body language is key, but so is building trust with each bride and their guests. Sales aside, Dina says it’s truly fulfilling knowing you are contributing to a once-in-a-lifetime moment and wants all of her brides to experience “that moment when somebody feels like a million bucks.” This is what keeps Dina opening her doors every day.
Beyond the feeling of fulfillment she gets from her work, Dina knows that she is also bringing her late father’s dream to fruition. Reflecting on her businessman father’s big dreams to start a family business here in Canada after moving his entire family from the Ukraine when Dina was only 3 years old, Dina and her family were distraught at his diagnosis in 2019 that unfortunately led to the most difficult goodbye in April of 2020. Through these hardships, Dina says her father’s diagnosis only pushed her to hustle harder, wanting to build something her father would be proud of in the industry he believed will never die, and witness it all before his untimely passing. “Toujours helped me cope with my father’s sickness,” and Dina says even though her father isn’t here to celebrate Toujours’ one-year anniversary, the date will always hold dear to her as her 2019 grand opening was one of the last gatherings he attended.
Even with all of Dina’s incredible triumphs, Dina considers Toujours Bridal undoubtedly as her greatest achievement. Strong, humble, and above all, one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met in the wedding industry, Dina Shikhman offers a complete package of quality product, proven expertise and an unforgettable experience, not just for a day, but toujours.