A Houma native has turned passion into a successful business that has surpassed all expectations. Nick J. Hebert, the owner of the local business Nick J Hebert Designs, has found a love for design that has evolved into endless opportunities.
Nick realized his passion while working at a client’s wedding with a wedding designer, “That was how I found my passion. I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” he said. He explained that the number one florist in town at the time, Nancye Payne of the Crystal Vase, was the florist at the wedding. The Monday after the wedding, he was offered a job at Crystal Vase, working with Nancye in florals and design. Nick worked at the Crystal Vase for years, before going to work at Dillard’s on the corporate side, working his way up to management. He continued to do design work on the side, all the while attending college at Nicholls State University.
He graduated from Nicholls State University while he was still in management in the Dillard’s home department, “It was at that time I decided that corporate wasn’t for me. I decided to open up my own store shortly after,” Nick said. Although it was scary, he believes life is too short to not take the risk, “We are here for a very short period of time. Whether we’re here for 40 years or 100, take the risk,” he encouraged. “If it would be easy, everybody would do it. You have to be willing to put forth the effort and sacrifices; you get out what you put in…Life is already short enough, enjoy everything.”
Nick J Hebert Designs opened their storefront in Houma in 2014, located at 216 Mystic Boulevard. He said it’s both an honor and privilege to serve the community, “I’ve grown up my whole life here, so that has been an amazing journey for me. I will always, no matter where my next steps are in life, I will always have a store here. It’s kind of my way to give back to a community that has embraced me all of these years,” he shared humbly.
In 2019, Nick saw an avenue for growth, finding a fit in another market that led him to eventually open up a New Orleans location called Nick J. “I wanted to grow there and saw that New Orleans was booming in the housing market in the CBD area. I saw the opportunity,” he explained. The second store is located at 601 Baronne Street in the heart of the CBD district in April 2019.
Both of Nick’s shops have a variety of services including florals, event design, wedding design, and interior design services for all of your furniture, art, and accessory needs. They also have unique gifts in the retail shops. The two locations are different when it comes to gifts that are offered; the New Orleans location offers “touristy” items while the Houma locations focuses on beautiful items for your home.
Nick brings the true spirit to the holidays by personally decorating homes, business and New Orleans hotels each year. He designs and creates a holiday wonderland, bringing joy to his clients and their families, as well as businesses. Each year, you can find Nick draping staircases, setting up trees, and anything else that brings the Christmas spirit.
When it comes to his work, Nick shared he loves pushing the limits on the things they create instead of doing the same thing over and over. Innovative designs are what Nick yearns for and when you think of wedding design, you may not necessarily think of some designs the Houma native has done. In 2018 he said they designed a wedding where they hung 4,000 stems of hydrangeas over a dance floor, “It was definitely one of those wow moments,” he shared.
Nick finds inspiration all around him. His designer inspiration is Jeff Leatham who started out designing beautiful and innovative floral arrangements along with sculptural installations at the Four Seasons George V in Paris, “He’s fabulous, over the top,” Nick explained. Another inspiration of his is a mentor that was there for him since the beginning of his design journey, Nancye Payne, “She’s the one who took a chance on me,” he proudly said, “I was only 18 at the time, and I remember her saying you either have it, or you don’t and you have it…I thought that was the biggest compliment coming from her who had been in the industry at that time for close to 30 years.”
“A very good designer once said, ‘I don’t consider myself an A person, because once you’re an A person, there’s no room for growth’….I consider myself a B person and I surround myself with A people in my company. That makes my company an A company,” he said.
Nick also loves to travel. Other than designing international weddings, he also has found ways to incorporate travel into bringing beautiful items to his stores. He recently returned from a Paris market and highlighted the stores have unique items, “It’s one thing to go to market in the states, which I love to go to, but also I want to find different items. I had an opportunity in 2019 to go to Paris and it was an amazing trip,” he said. Once back in Houma, he did a “Nick’s Picks” that featured five items, all of which sold out. Nick was able to return to Paris in September of this year, after Covid restrictions that made travel difficult were lifted.
Looking ahead to his continued successful career, the designer said he’s always five years ahead and has a few things in the works. “We have other avenues and expansions in the New Orleans area,” he said, “so we just have to wait and see!”