Belle Noire was established by entrepreneur and HBCU graduate Nicole Williams. After working in the fashion industry for over a decade, Williams saw very few designers that mirrored her reflection, style, and inspiration. Her personal style always included accessories from Africa and the Diaspora, and she found herself frequently stopped on the street, or at fashion events, as people asked about her accessories; and in some cases, offered to buy them on the spot! Soon after, Williams decided to put on her entrepreneurial hat, and Belle Noire was born. The brand represents Williams’ love of high quality African fashion, and a commitment to improving the lives of all people; but specifically of those of African descent.
As a direct descendant of native San Franciscans, Williams’ ties to the community run deep – as far back as 1912, when her grandmother (who was also an educator and entrepreneur) was born. As a third generation San Franciscan, Williams was molded by the Fillmore district, as her mother was an educator, and integrated the school where she taught in the Richmond District. Coming from such an established legacy of women in San Francisco that helped shape minds and communities allowed Nicole to remain close to stories of Black excellence and ownership in San Francisco. Williams plans to continue to advance Belle Noire not only for herself, but for her family, her legacy, and for Black communities locally and globally.