INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Nina Powell turned an ancient African tradition into a business to help people reconnect with self-love.
The idea of starting Beadbody Co. came after she lost her job with the Pike Township Fire Department.
“I was a deputy firefighter, fire investigator, information officer and public educator,” she said.
Although she shared many fond memories of working with her colleagues, she admitted that a few days were difficult to bear.
“I’ve seen people’s worst days,” she said. “I had days that kept me awake at night for situations that didn’t belong to me, but in which I was a part.”
After 12 years she lost her job in the fire department. She remembered going through a life changing thought process immediately after receiving the news.
“I was just looking for my peace,” she said. “I’m just trying to find myself.”
She found herself with the help of a hobby: hip pearls.
The ancient tradition practiced among women from different African countries uses the tying of a pearl necklace tied around the waist as a symbol of various affirmations and awareness of body weight.
“From early 16th century Africa to self-love, worth, peace and worth,” Powell said.
After falling in love with waist beads and seeing what it could do for others, she decided to turn Beadbody Co. into a business. Since then, it has drawn more people to Indianapolis to have the experience.
“When I heard some of the ceremonies she was doing, I was like, ‘I really want this,'” said Beadbody customer and supporter Moni Green.
After doing her own research, Green found Powell looking for two things.
“One is weight loss because I just want to tone the body,” said Green. “Two is inner peace.”
The bonding ceremony is a moment when the two of them prayed together and positively affirmed some of Green’s goals. “She has a new niece,” she said, then laughed.
Powell recalled that her greatest inspiration was two of the women in her family: her mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and her grandmother, who is fighting leukemia. Her resilience is why she is patient with her growing business and confident that no matter what challenges she faces, people will continue to join the beadbody movement.
“When the people are ready, they will come.”