Zakia Blain, the founder and CEO of FBF Body, describes herself as a “professional overcomer,” motivational speaker and mother.
Blain’s body-positive lifestyle brand was born from her health and wellness journey after she was diagnosed with Chiari malformations, a brain disorder that causes the brain to bulge through the skull and enter the spinal canal.
Blain designed FBF as a source of healing for herself.
Blain told Blavity that she had to make drastic changes to her lifestyle, and while walking outside in 90 degrees Fahrenheit weather during her break with a coworker, inspiration struck when her colleague muttered, “F**k being fat.”
Blain echoed the sentiment.
“I was like, I’m gonna put that on T-shirts. Then fast forward two years after that, we started a weight-loss challenge, and I didn’t know what to call it, so I was like, it’s gonna be called the f**k being fat challenge. That was in August; November, we started with our first T-shirts, and I was like, ‘I’m gonna put the f**k being fat on the T-shirt,’ and then that’s how FBF started,” she told Blavity.
Blain shared that she eventually had to model her business’ operations around her brain disorder.
“I was placed on a bunch of medications that made me stutter, lose my memory. I had to look at diet and exercise as a way to basically heal myself, and that led to me wanting to help other people be proactive in their health as well, which is why I started the FBF, with the fat weight-loss challenge,” she said.
FBF does not subscribe to one standard of beauty.
Blain’s brand will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Aug. 2022. Now, her company carries athleisure and shapewear ranging from a small to 5X, and includes high-waisted leggings, T-shirts, workout sets and accessories.
Blain told Blavity that she wants her customers to feel empowered, comfortable and confident in their skin as they work on their health and wellness.
“Instead of saying these are the beauty standards, no, everybody is beautiful no matter what you look like, what size you are, we all deserve to feel beautiful. That’s what FBF has cornered. I always say I don’t sell clothes; I sell confidence,” Blain said.
“We like to show customers that if you are heavy up top, smaller at the bottom hourglass, whatever your shape is, we want to represent that in our customers. We always make sure that we are reposting and sharing all of our customers no matter if they’re a size two, they’re size 22, they [all] have a different body type. We want to make sure that people know that this is for everybody,” Blain said, adding that she also instills the same values in her 15-year-old daughter.
Blain wants to leave the legacy of self-love and care.
Blain wants to see her company grow in five to 10 years and cross over into mainstream markets. Still, more importantly, she wants the FBF legacy to become a source of inspiration for women, as well as provide a community and a safe place for women ignored by the fitness industry.
“I want you to be inspired to love your body as it is, even if you’re working on the body that you want. And it’s also not just about the outward appearance; feeling better about yourself starts mentally. Loving your body on the outside starts with acceptance of it. You can mourn what you used to be and still love who you are at this present moment.”
“But take care of yourself, mentally, take care of yourself physically, like it’s a holistic thing,” she added.