Growth: In the beginning, I had low self-esteem and didn’t love myself the way I should have. In my journey through life, I have done a lot of growing and healing. I have overcome some emotional obstacles, but I’m so grateful I didn’t let that hold me back or hold hate in my heart. I’m still growing as a person and have so much to learn.
Eager: I’m eager to keep progressing in life and being the role model that my son can look up to.
Faith: This year I have been walking in faith and trusting God in the process. He has blessed me so much this year. I’m so grateful for every day.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I’m proud of taking the leap of faith and starting my business. I’m a naturally shy person, and part of starting a business is putting yourself out there. So when I finally launched, it did make me very nervous, but everything was worth it, and it's pushing me out of my comfort zone for the better.
My next accomplishment would be graduating with a bachelor’s degree.
My latest accomplishment was birthing my son. All these accomplishments were a journey, but it was worth it in the end.
How have you learned to pray through hard times?
I have always prayed, for almost all my life, but I can admit that I didn’t fully understand the depth of prayer until I joined my friend Jasmine’s prayer call. Attending this call throughout the summer and reading the book The Rules of Engagement By Dr. Cindy Trimm (free PDF download attached in this link) together has increased my relationship with God. I feel closer to Him than ever before. I talk to Him about everything.
What is Ali Bah Bah?
Some people call me Aly for short. One day one of my friends started calling me Ali Bah Bah in reference to the movie Aladdin. It was the part of the movie when Aladdin wished to become a prince that he paraded through the town and the people were singing and calling him Prince Ali Ababwa. One day I just decided for that name to be my Instagram username and people started calling me that surprisingly. So, now it's my actual nickname.
What plans do you have for your business?
Since I have a background in agriculture, and I do want to take care of our planet. One of many of my plans is to come up with sustainable solutions. I would love everything in my company to represent going green and use sustainable alternatives in the future. Also, I would love to grow and produce if not all but the majority of my ingredients. So, ingredients will be fresh and of good quality.
How can people connect with you?
I am more of a listener than a talker and I feel like it is easier for me to be more in tune with my environment. Also having this trait I feel like it’s easier for me to have more empathy for others since I feel like I’m very sensitive to emotions and body language. I can always put myself in someone else’s shoes, for example, even if someone is hurting me, I know that it's not me personally that’s the issue, but they’re dealing with their problems that they can’t properly express themselves. When I am talkative, it's more on a passionate level. I love to educate on topics that I am passionate about such as hair, nature, and mental health. Growing up, I did not have many friends at all. I was very lonely, and I don’t want anybody to experience that pain I felt. So, I try to be as welcoming as possible to people. I also want my customers to feel like they can reach out to me with any questions because I genuinely want to aid in their hair journey.
What can they expect from your brand?
I believe people can see your passion in your work and whatever you put out represents you. I put love and my creativity into what I do. When people order from me, I want them to feel like they’re receiving a gift in the mail. I personally love good quality things and my customers will feel and see with my products.
What do you receive often from your customers?
Positive feedback makes my day. Being the perfectionist that I am, I love hearing from customers the products brought good results to their hair and that they’re loving it. Even down to the smell of the product, and hearing that they love it, makes me feel good. It motivates me more and it lets me know that I truly have a gift in what I do.
When you're down emotionally what did or do you do to keep going?
When I’m down I normally pray, listen to music, or watch a sermon online. When I watch sermons I usually look for something close to what I’m feeling. I also like to journal my thoughts down as a tool of just releasing all those frustrations. Sometimes I might even read over it and say, “why was I even tripping off this?” I have a passion for mental health and I do go to my Christian therapist weekly. We also pray when the session is about to be over. She has also helped me on my journey. Sometimes you do need professional help for someone to say,“you’re not crazy for feeling that way, but let's do something about it to overcome that obstacle." Or probably just someone to positively check you and give you a way to correct yourself. Therapy has also helped me dig up emotions I buried and to acknowledge them, and figure out a healthy alternative so I don’t carry on generational curses and stop them before they can even develop. I realized that a lot of generational curses form from holding in a lot of deep hurts and numbing those memories or sweeping it under the rug.
What things have you overcome? How do you know you overcame it?
I have overcome severe depression. It took years of self-reflection, God, and therapy. It’s not something easy but it’s worth the process. When I had severe depression, around the age of 20, I wouldn't leave the house, but I would constantly be crying and having anxiety attacks all day. I also had this weird sensation that I was floating and didn’t feel like I was physically there. I thought that something was wrong with my health and was at the doctor or ER almost every week. At the time, I thought that I was very sick but I didn’t realize that it was depression. It was a very dark time for me. I didn’t have the emotional support at the time and I also didn’t want to let anybody new in. So, I had to get the strength for myself to take the steps for my emotional healing. It took about maybe over three years for me to get back to myself. I knew that I overcame it because I was enjoying life again, and I was genuinely happy. I found friends who genuinely cared for me and rekindled relationships with cousins that I was closer to when I was younger.
What encouragement would you give a woman who doesn't know how to show self-love or self-care to herself?
My struggle with self-love in the past was putting others before myself. Most of the time these people weren’t serving me for my higher good. I was also putting more energy into these people than I was getting back. That being said my advice will be to take time to step back and evaluate your current situation. Usually, you will feel an urge deep down when something doesn’t feel right in your spirit when it comes to a certain situation or a person.
Normally, I ask myself.
“Does this benefit me for my higher good?”
“Does this bring me peace?”
“Does this person genuinely value me?”
“Am I pouring more in than receiving?”
If the answer isn’t positive, then that problem or person needs to be let go of for your good and because you deserve better. We only get one life, so why waste it on being stuck in misery or your happiness being sucked away. Sometimes we’re blinded by our current situation since it’s something that we’re used to. Take time to journal your thoughts and feelings to reflect. If you're unsure about something, make a chart of the positives and negatives of a certain situation. That should give you a clear understanding if something should be let go of or not.
Start a small list of things that you love about yourself.
Give yourself a break.
Spend time on hobbies and your natural gifts.
Put on clothes that make you feel good.
Anything that makes you feel better is a good start to self-care. You deserve to be happy.
How do you believe that God prepared you for this company?
God has amazing timing. I was planning this business for three years before it officially launched. I knew that I had a passion for natural hair. That opened up to me once I did the big chop and cut my hair off. Looking back, He always knew what I could handle, He knew that I needed to perfect some things before the launch. Every time that I thought I would get to launch, something crazy would happen to me. It would be a big obstacle that I didn’t have too much control over. It was an emotional experience every time, but now I know God was preparing me for so much more outside of my business. On top of that, He knew I should work on some things, which I did. He showed me that some things or people I should let go of.