As a teen, Keaira LaShae’s first job was at McDonald’s. It was there she started to develop unhealthy eating habits. She’d regularly eat from the fast food chain’s menu, which wasn’t atypical as many of her friends and family did the same. But it wasn’t until she observed what was happening to them did she realize a change was needed.
“The people I was growing up with in my community had illnesses like diabetes, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, all these things and I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want that for me or my family,’” she tells ESSENCE. “I needed to be the change.”
As just 16, she decided to clean up her diet and develop a regular fitness routine alongside her love for dancing, and helped others do the same along the way. Over time, she built an online fitness and nutrition platform and changed thousands of lives. Her husband, Kevin “KP” Price, has similarly shared a love for health education for most of his life.
“I kind of got to have a cheat code because I played professional basketball for a while but my true appreciation for health and wellness got started after my father died,’ Price tells ESSENCE. “I’ve had a lot of people die from a heart attack, unfortunately, which is prevalent in our community. From there, I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to protect my heart.’ We didn’t have kids yet, but we wanted kids. Now we have three, so I had to make sure that I’m here for them. And I tell my wife all the time, in the back of my mind, I want to live past 61, which is where my father died. So that kind of really got me going.”
Together, the built a holistic online dance fitness brand and set their sights on expanding into providing supplements, but was met with challenges along the way.
“If you look on our YouTube channel, you’ll see that about nine years ago, I was talking about having proteins of our own, and at the time, we couldn’t afford it,” Keaira LaShae tells ESSENCE. “But we were tasting so many different proteins since then, and it’s just nasty. Especially vegan proteins. It just doesn’t taste good. They’re chalky. The flavor is trash. So we were like, ‘we have to be able to create something.’ And at the time, we couldn’t afford it, but we knew what we wanted to do. And when the pandemic happened, I remember the night we talked about this, we were like, ‘you know what? Let’s try this. Let’s see if we can get all the things in order so that we can try to execute this, because it’s going to mean a lot for our community to have something like this.’”
After deep research, the couple launched Just Move Supplements, a vegan protein brand that celebrates Black food culture.
“We asked our mothers to share their recipes for their baked goods because we wanted to replicate the taste in our protein powders,” Keaira LaShae shares, pointing our their distinct flavors like Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie and Grandma’s Lemon Pound Cake. After perfecting the recipes, they worked with local manufacturers to produce the products, but soon learned it would be best to take their process in their own hands. As of now, they are the only Black manufacturers of vegan protein in the country. And they’re just getting started.
“We are definitely open to working with investors,” Price shared. “Our main thing is, if we do accept investors, they have to understand what it is we’re trying to do. We are not out here to grab every dollar. We’re not out here to change up our formulas and cheapen them up to make more money. We’re here not just for our people, but for people, period. There’s a lot of things in this country that is allowed to be ingested that shouldn’t be. We want to put out a quality product, even if it costs us a little bit more money. And we have to sacrifice a little bit of our profit margins to put this out. We want to do what’s best for our community, one step at a time.”