Client Name: Dina Akel
Business Name: Vieira Luxe
Business Website:
Industry: Luxury Retail
Location: Nashua, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Andrea O'Brien

Even as a little girl, Dina Akel, Owner of Vieira Luxe of Nashua was into fashion. She loved to get dressed up and even learned to hand sew and make outfits for her Barbie dolls. While fashion is her passion, it hasn’t always been her profession. 

Vieira Luxe client story

The daughter of immigrant parents, her mother and father had other dreams and aspirations for Dina. The push was to become a doctor or lawyer, so Dina got into the sciences and more specifically, the study of parasites. She loved studying it in college and had big plans to become a parasitologist, but six months into her position in an infectious disease lab, she made an important discovery. “I hated it. I hated every part of it,” says Dina. She wanted to create an impact but the rules and policies, while important, made it difficult for her to do that.  

Instead, her impact came through event planning, which became a creative outlet for Dina. She connected with a bridal shop owner who hired her to be a wedding planner for them and work in the shop part time. This opened the door to something so much bigger. 

Dina worked in the bridal industry for over eight years. She found a large gap in the market, and In February 2020 she opened Vieira Luxe, “your go to shop for affordable luxury occasion wear.”  Vieira Luxe collaborates with bridal shops nationally to move their excess inventory and offer it to Vieira customers at a discounted rate. “We provide a one-of-a-kind styling service to EVERY customer to help them feel empowered and stylish as they find their perfect look,” explains Dina. “We want to help the small business owner, but we’re also helping the community afford their dresses. It’s like this sustainable circle of operations.” 

Vieira first opened as an e-commerce business, but through customer demand, Dina opened her brick-and-mortar location in Nashua in late 2021, and business has been good. Dina notes that this may be the busiest year she has had.  

She credits part of her success to small business services and programs such as NH SBDC. Dina shares, “without these programs, honestly, I don't I don't think I could have gotten this far this quickly.”  

vieira luxe logo

Dina initially worked with SCORE and participated in the Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses program where she gained a lot of knowledge. “It was like a rapid MBA for me,” shares Dina.  During that experience, she met an NH SBDC representative and in desperate need of funding resources to scale her business, she sought NH SBDC’s support. Vieira Luxe was growing exponentially, and Dina, who was on her own doing it all, needed help. “It was time to implement expert marketing strategies and hire help,” says Dina.  

Dina worked with SBDC Business Advisor Andrea O’Brien. “Andrea was phenomenal,” says Dina. “The second I got on the call, she just had a very positive energy, she was really excited to work with me.” Though Dina didn’t know where to start, Andrea did, guiding Dina through the entire process.  

Dina shares, “SBDC has helped me by advising on how to acquire funding and resources to do so. I was dreading the application process, but SBDC made it easy and less stressful.”

Andrea connected Dina with Ascendus, a non-profit lender for small business loans. Dina received the funding Vieira Luxe needed, allowing her to hire the marketing team that helped Vieira Luxe get to where it is today – busy!

 NH SBDC’s support for Vieira Luxe has meant the world to Dina. She says, “Just being able to have this support early on makes me so excited for the future.” It’s an exciting future indeed as Vieira Luxe plans for expansion to provide more inclusive wear for both men and women to dress the entire wedding party. They have also partnered with a company that has a new patented men’s accessory line they look forward to releasing.

Dina reflects,

“It's such a great community of programs that I was a part of, and SBDC was a very positive piece of that. The energy that you keep around you, the community that you keep around you is so important. And that's why for anything that is given to me, I have to give back, because it's the way that we should be living. Community is it. And SBDC is one of my communities now.  I'm very grateful for SBDC. I'm also very grateful for SCORE, and all these other programs I was in, because we need this.”