FBF Body Founder Zakia Blain Talks Being in Business for 10 Years

Q&A
Blain shares the journey of her body-positive athleisure and shapewear model. Plus, information on a particular occasion she’s internet hosting subsequent weekend.

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FBF Body, based by Philly native Zakia Blain (proper), creates athleisure and shapewear for girls of all sizes. / Photographs courtesy of FBF Body.Ten years in the past, Chester native and present Delco resident Zakia Blain launched FBF (now FBF Body), a clothes and way of life model carrying athleisure — like high-waisted leggings, t-shirts, sports activities bras — and shapewear for girls sizes small to 5X. What started as a small enterprise constructed from the bottom up by Blain — a former trainer in the Philadelphia School District — has develop into a multi-million greenback model empowering girls to reside their greatest, most wholesome lives.Next weekend, FBF Body is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an occasion sequence known as Fit Girl Fresh at W Philadelphia. The weekend kicks off with a cocktail occasion on Friday, August twelfth. The subsequent day, attendees can anticipate health courses; panel discussions on monetary well being, work-life stability, relationships, and entrepreneurship; and a soiree that includes a sit-down dinner, a keynote speaker, and time for networking. The programming wraps up on Sunday, August 14th with a enjoyable farewell pool occasion on the lodge’s Wet Deck. Fit Girl Fresh additionally features a separate occasion on Saturday designated for ladies ages 11 by means of 17 — a roundtable dialogue about cultivating optimistic physique picture, vanity, and self-love. ((*10*) to Fit Girl Fresh weekend could be bought right here.)In gentle of FBF Body’s 10-year anniversary and its upcoming occasion, I chatted with Blain about her firm’s decade-long journey — what’s modified, what’s stayed the identical, and why the mission of FBF continues to thrive in Philly and past.How did FBF Body come about?I’ve all the time lived an lively way of life, and I’ve all the time been what individuals would take into account fats — I don’t draw back from the phrase “fats.” But about 12 years in the past, I used to be recognized with a mind dysfunction known as chiari malformation after experiencing extreme complications and vertigo. I used to be placed on a number of medicines to mitigate my signs, however my meds had extra unwanted effects than the precise mind dysfunction — I developed a stutter and skilled reminiscence loss and cognition points. At the time, I used to be instructing in the School District of Philadelphia, and being a trainer whereas residing with these signs was arduous. I ended up happening incapacity, and that’s after I turned to weight loss program and train to hopefully get off my meds, which ultimately I did. My expertise prompted my ardour to assist individuals — particularly Black people — be extra proactive in relation to their well being. My mind dysfunction didn’t have something to do with my weight; nevertheless, the meals I used to be consuming have been triggers for my complications. Everything we put in our our bodies impacts our day-to-day residing.I bear in mind I used to be out strolling with a buddy of mine round Cobbs Creek — it was the summer season of 2012 and about 97 levels. At one level she stated, “You know what, fuck being fats” and I used to be like, “Yeah, fuck being fats. I’m going to place that on a t-shirt.” That second led me to start out an eight-week weight reduction problem that August, which I posted about on Instagram. Eight individuals participated — our most up-to-date problem had 1,000 individuals — however that’s actually how FBF was born.You and your model determine as body-positive. What does that imply to you?Plus-sized girls have been ignored by the health world for an extended, very long time. People are all the time telling fats individuals to train and reduce weight, however then they don’t welcome us in the health club or make garments — particularly cute garments! — for us in our sizes. But FBF got here and confirmed that fats individuals do work out, and that health and well being can’t be decided by what somebody seems to be like on the skin. I believe that’s why FBF has carried out so nicely these previous 10 years — we constructed a group for individuals who have been ignored and/or criticized by the wellness business.For me, physique positivity — what FBF is based upon — is loving the physique you may have now, and perhaps that additionally contains engaged on the physique you need however not essentially. We all battle with insecurity based mostly on what the wonder business has informed all of us. That’s why I all the time say that we don’t promote garments, we promote confidence.How does FBF’s unique tagline, “Fuck Being Fat,” match into this, then? Can’t that be taken as dismissive or fatphobic?When FBF began 10 years in the past, the physique positivity motion was actually simply getting began. For FBF, that mantra of “fuck being fats” is extra like saying, “You’re not going to disgrace me.” When you develop up being fats, “fats” is the primary insult individuals use in opposition to you. And it’s weak — you wish to be like, “Come up with one thing extra artistic than that!” Our unique slogan was meant to assist neutralize and reclaim the time period “fats” by embracing it.As we began to develop and scale the enterprise — particularly alongside the physique positivity motion — we needed to evolve as a way of life model that encompasses the entire individual, together with psychological and monetary wellness. So, we rebranded as FBF Body round 2017.Photograph courtesy of FBF BodyWhat are the targets of subsequent weekend’s Fit Girl Fresh occasion?This will probably be our sixth yr placing on Fit Girl Fresh, however that is the primary yr it’s spanning a whole weekend. The occasion is supposed to rejoice group and produce individuals collectively at first. I additionally wish to make sure that attendees go away with sources that they will begin implementing into their lives that day, which is the aim of Saturday afternoon’s four-part workshop section about different points of wellness like funds and work-life stability.That makes quite a lot of sense, provided that there’s a lot extra emphasis on holistic wellness now.If you’re not mentally nicely, it’s actually arduous to search out motivation to train, not to mention get off the bed in the morning. Those worlds have to come back collectively in order to reside a full life on all ranges. It goes again to FBF’s understanding that bodily well being — what somebody seems to be like on the skin — shouldn’t be the entire image of wellness.The occasion is especially for grownup girls, however you’ve additionally included a teen summit. Why’s that?I do know from private expertise and my time as a middle-school trainer that younger girls battle with vanity, particularly throughout their early life. That’s why we host a section for ladies ages 11 by means of 17, in which we incorporate our “I Love Her” mission specializing in physique picture and vanity and supplemented by perception from an adolescent therapist.What’s an important factor you’ve realized after 10 years in enterprise?Loving your self is the toughest, however bravest, factor you are able to do in a world that continuously tells us all that we’re not adequate or we have now to look or behave in another way in order to be completely happy. In my expertise, displaying up for your self and for your group in methods you’ll be able to is a manner that can assist you embrace the physique you may have. You solely get one home for your soul; would possibly as nicely admire it.

https://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2022/08/04/fbf-body-zakia-blain/

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