FERGUSON, Mo. — A local business is bringing beauty accessories from West Africa to St. Louis.
Waist beads go back to the 15th century and they’re experiencing a growth in popularity today.
Thanks in part to a local woman.
Brittany Raji-Alberty from Ferguson is making her mark with her business, Beauty Impact Accessories.
She brings a centuries old accessory from West Africa to the U.S.
Waist beads are much more than a fashion statement.
She said, “We’re so used to fast fashion, or you know, do what we see celebrities do, but I really want people to be intentional about being so.”
Waist beads are traditionally worn underneath clothes, around the waist or hips, for a variety of personal reasons.
Brittany said, “Some of my closest friends from Liberia, and I’ve met sisters from Kenya and Tanzania, and they all have different reasons for wearing them. Some they wear to shape their waist, thought to increase fertility, it really helps with self love and self confidence journey.”
To help people understand the meaning behind the positive cultural accessory that’s been around since the 15th century, she recently released ‘I Got Waisted’, a workbook for physical, mental, and emotional health.
She said, “The biggest component is that education piece, so like if you grab a workbook, we walk through how to meditate what is, what does it look like to be intentional.”
When Brittany first learned about waist beads in 2015, she immediately felt drawn to the accessory made by women-owned businesses in West Africa. She wanted to sell them in the U.S. and launched her company the same year.
She said, “I went to Nigeria and I fell a little with the process and the story.”
Today she’s working with 6 manufacturers in 4 countries. In addition to her top selling waist beads, she also sells earrings and necklaces like the ones he’s wearing.
Brittany said, “So we’re completely fair trade. We’re manufacturing in Ghana, in Nigeria, in Liberia, so they get paid for their products very well.”
Beauty Impact Accessories, connecting the local community to West African culture.