Nicole Black: Co-owner, Philadelphia Diamond Company

Like the diamonds she sells, Nicole Black (B.A. ’92) became the embodiment of The Howard Woman while under pressure. 

The Howard Woman is bold,” Black said. “She’s resilient, she’s a trendsetter, she’s unbelievably resourceful, she’s
a groundbreaker, she’s fearless, she’s conscious.” 

As co-owner of the Philadelphia Diamond Company, with her husband, Kenyatta Black, Nicole Black credits a great deal of her success to the opportunities she was given while a student in the School of Communications. 

“When you have the exposure at Howard where it’s like you can make a way out of no way ... day in and day out ... that really set me on a course of success, quite frankly,” Black said. 

While at Howard, she knew she wanted to focus on public relations, so she landed an internship in corporate public relations at DuPont USA, a chemical and healthcare conglomerate. At 19 years old, she was incredibly steadfast in creating her future and interacted with the higher-ups at the company. 

Because of my can-do attitude and the confidence that was instilled in me from Howard, they were always so impressed with how I carried myself at that age,” Black said. “So, I got more opportunity because of it.” 

After earning her M.B.A. from Clark Atlanta University, Black went on to work as a brand manager at Johnson & Johnson, where she helped launch Splenda. But it was always the plan for Black to leave the corporate world to focus her attention on the diamond business that she and her husband, a second-generation jeweler, started almost 15 years ago and to spend more time with her elderly parents and two young sons. This past February, she did just that. 

Black has been working to make their business appealing to millennials with many customization options, appointment-only services and their Queen Cut diamonds. This business model differs from the retail storefront they ran back when they’d first started, and she said that she is excited to see how their business continues to grow. 

“Your version 1.0 is not going to look like your final success, because you have to learn,” she said. “You have to fail and adapt.” 

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