Mbali & Lukafit

Mbali, can you please tell us about starting your brand Lukafit?

I am the founder of Lukafit, the future of health and wellness for Black women. I was initially inspired to start Lukafit about three years ago when I started to get more serious about my health. I started a local meetup group for Black women in New York looking for workout buddies, which has since grown to 900 members. As I talked to the women in my group over the years, they kept saying that they didn’t feel included in other health and wellness spaces. They often felt ostracized and not welcome. That’s when I realized there was something much bigger here.

What is Lukafit?

We are not just an empowering activewear company, but a community of women who support each other along our health and wellness journeys. We also design empowering activewear. Our first design launched last September and has since sold out three times already. The response has been really incredible.

What was in the first launch?

We launched with one legging design, which features bright colors and figures of Black women all over them. We will be releasing new designs later this year. The message is really to celebrate yourself. The community aspect is really important.

Are there still meet ups for Lukafit?

Yes, we are currently combining the initial meetup group with my Lukafit community. We’ve already hosted a few events, including one where we teamed up with Meetup headquarters to host an awesome event focused on self-care. Mariam from I See You Wellness led a grounding meditation and a Banana Skirt Productions instructor led a twerk aerobics class, which was a fun, yet intense, workout. The response was fantastic, so I’m working on hosting similar self-care events more frequently.

Have you done any marketing for Lukafit?

The majority of it has been word of mouth. For example, health and wellness instructors will wear the leggings in class and then their students will then buy them, or friends will tell each other about them. We’ve done a little Instagram marketing, but we’ll be expanding our marketing efforts over the next few months.

What’s your background?

I come from a media background. It may sound a little unrelated, but I’ve mostly worked at organizations that are focused on creating content by and for underrepresented communities. I’ve also worked at media companies in South Africa with similar missions. Most recently, I worked at Firelight Media, which is a documentary production company that also runs a fellowship for emerging documentary filmmakers of color. In school, I studied the effects of media on Black youth. I’ve been able to use my experiences in the media world and apply it to the same issues that exist in the health and wellness industry.

What makes you powerful?

My meditation practice makes me feel powerful. Knowing that every day I can start with a clean slate. Knowing that nothing is set in stone. I’m learning as I go in this entrepreneurial venture, and I truly feel like the possibilities are endless. My support system also makes me feel powerful!

Where do you see Lukafit going?

The sky’s the limit! I want Lukafit to continue sparking a health and wellness movement among women all over the world around. In addition to the States, we also have customers in Paris, London, and South Africa, so I definitely want to continue expanding our footprint internationally.

Photography by Daisy Cheng


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