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‘Gr8 Comeback’: Beadbody Co.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nina Powell has turned an ancient African tradition into a business to help people “reconnect with self-love.”

The idea to start Beadbody Co. came to her after she lost her job with the Pike Township Fire Department.

“I was a deputy fire marshal, a fire investigator, public information officer and public educator,” she said.

Although she shared many good memories of working with her colleagues, she admitted, some days were hard to take.

“I’ve seen people’s worst days,” she said. “I’ve had days that kept me awake at night for situations that didn’t belong to me but I was a part of.”

She lost her job at the fire department after 12 years. She remembered immediately going through a life-changing thought process after getting the news.

“I was just searching for my peace,” she said. “Just trying to find me.”

She found herself with the help of a hobby: waistbeads.

The ancient tradition, practiced among women of several different African countries, uses tying a string of beads tied around one’s waist as a symbol of various affirmations and body weight awareness.

“Dating back to the early 1500s, in Africa of self-love, value, peace and worth,” Powell said.

After getting hooked on waist beading and seeing what it could do for others, she decided to turn Beadbody Co. into a business. Since then, she’s attracted more people in Indianapolis to get the experience.

“When I listened to some of the ceremonies that she did I was like ‘I really want that,’” Beadbody client and supporter Moni Green said.

After doing her own research, Green found Powell looking for two things.

“One is weight loss because I just want to tone up the body,” Green said. “Two is inner peace.”

The tying ceremony is a moment where the two shared a prayer and positively reinforced some of Green’s goals. “She got a new niece,” she said and then laughed.

Powell remembered her biggest inspiration being two of the women in her family: her mother, who’s battling multiple sclerosis, and her grandmother, who’s in a fight with leukemia. Their resilience is why, when it comes to her growing business, she’s patient and confident that no matter what challenges come her way, people will continue to join the Beadbody movement.

“When people are ready they will come.”