Meet Kala, the vivacious, faith driven, ray of sunshine with the most contagious smile I’ve ever seen (besides my own of course). She was raised in Cali, San Diego to be exact, and it shows from head to toe. She’s a pillar of positivity, a lover of all things natural, and the color yellow is her spirit animal. Today she’s the co-founder of BetternessBox, a subscription box dedicated to intentional self-care with products featuring wellness, fitness, and beauty products. Looking back on her journey though, you would’ve never guessed this is where her story would lead. Her childhood years wouldn’t be described as the Cali version of a Huxtable household, with two successful parents, safe surroundings, and stable family support system. But it was for that exact reason that she made a choice to not let her surroundings keep her stuck in a place of negativity, and took steps to make a better path for herself.
Kala spent her undergrad years searching for a long term career path that would fit her love of people with every intention of continuing on and pursuing a law degree. But after graduating from college she landed a job in HR ultimately deciding to hold off on prepping to get into law school. Fortunately though, most first “real jobs” are like first “ real relationships”, good for the lesson but not for the long term. Kala’s HR role was no exception. With a bit of women’s intuition and a whole lot of divine intervention she took a chance on a completely different career opportunity and taught English in Sudan. She nurtured her inner travel bug taking in as many countries as she could during her time overseas. Returning to the states fresh off a mini world tour seemed like the perfect time to settle into her career goals and focus on pursuing law; but God tends to close the doors that aren’t meant for you to walk through, and after being rejected by every law school applied to, she chose to close the door on law completely. “I have always known that God will tell me where I need to go, and I haven’t ever considered law school since. He made it clear that wasn’t where I needed to be.”
Transition seasons for some people can be difficult. It’s easy to focus on all of the things that have gone wrong and let the fear of the unknown hold you back from trying new things to see which door is the best fit for you. Kala, being the social butterfly that she is, did the exact opposite. She started a YouTube channel focused in natural hair, self care, and beauty. The channel’s success lead to a Women’s Empowerment Tour in select cities stateside and around the world, exploring a lot of tough topics that women deal with internally, including their own self-care and wellness (or lack thereof). After seeing the impact that these issues had on women, Kala and her sorority sister couldn’t see a more perfect time to found BetternessBox. The box is designed to influence women to be intentional in their effort to take better care of themselves. The duo refers to themselves as “recovering perfectionists”, realizing that as women we want everything to be perfect all the time which takes a huge toll on actually perfecting yourself. “Perfect work is never completed, so why put such an impossible standard on yourself, because it will never get done? Letting yourself be free to be imperfect is the only way to succeed.” Life is imperfect in itself, the cards are never dealt out exactly the way we want them to be. Kala realized that playing the hand you’re dealt, cutting yourself some slack, and taking time to intentionally care for yourself only makes you stronger and better prepared for the challenges that may come your way. The imperfections in life are just a stepping stone to get you to the next phase.
Choosing to take a positive perspective on her challenges and firmly standing in her faith that all things work together for her good, allowed her to build a business that she can be proud of and be passionate about. “I truly believe that we are working in partnership with God, and once we just [start], it activates all of the other things we could have never done by ourselves.” Jumping into a completely different career field and jumping into full time entrepreneurship were necessary risks, because without them she would never know what she was capable of. We all have a different journey but through each one the message remains the same. When we’re faced with challenges, and our attempts at perfection fail, we only have two choices: to stay stuck or take a step forward. Knowing that God’s plan is immovable, being relentless with positivity, and making the decision to keep moving forward is the best and most freeing choice we could ever make.
CustoMYze Me is the creative studio of photographer and designer Keva Burns. Based in Dallas, Tx.