Nataliya Barbin’s brother Vasiliy died in a motorcycle accident at age 21. To keep his memory alive and remember his beautiful spirit, she started an inspirational t-shirt company. Here, she sends kisses heavenward to him while wearing one of her motorcycle safety shirts. (Photo by Annie Bingham of www.portraitswithannie.com)
By Gaye Bunderson
The sudden loss of a family member can cause much grief, and families often struggle to find ways to cope. When Nataliya Barbin lost her brother, Vasiliy Yaroshchuk, she remembered the kind words he always spoke to her, her sisters, and her mom: “Hello, beautiful!”
“My brother would light up a room; he had a contagious laugh and was full of joy,” said Nataliya.
Vasiliy died in a motorcycle accident near the Boise Train Depot at age 21 roughly four years ago. “My family never really lost anybody – it was a shock, a storm,” Nataliya said. When they held a candlelight ceremony for Vasiliy near the depot, many people showed up, people the family didn’t even know. Townsfolk came to pay their respects to the young man they had met as he went about his day, and in the process, brightened theirs.
People from Dutch Bros. Coffee showed up at the candlelight ceremony and told Nataliya, “Your brother would make our day.”
A lady from a paint shop where Vasiliy would stop in to buy something told the family he brought her joy; and then she revealed something the family didn’t know: he would always greet her by saying, “Hello, beautiful!” This was the first time family members realized he had said that kind expression to many others, as a way of cheering them and paying a compliment.
Also, many people wrote about their fond memories of Vasiliy on Facebook.
Nataliya had worked in a dental office for many years; and following the death of her brother, she was moved to tell her boss she had to quit to stay home with family.
“I was trying to hold on to those words, ‘Hello, beautiful’, and I realized that he – my brother – was full of beauty; it wasn’t about me. He was ‘beauty-full’ as a Christian, and that’s how we’re all supposed to be,” she said. “Vasiliy had a heart for serving; he would play the violin in the church orchestra and taught Sunday school when he was only about 17 or 18.”
“As he got older,” his sister explained, “he would do stuff for free for people, like if someone had a broken car that needed fixing, he would fix it and not charge them. Or if someone’s car broke down in Twin Falls, he’d go get them and not take any money. We often never knew he did this, because Vasiliy was humble. He literally lived to serve.”
His love for auto body work eventually turned into a career, but it never stopped him from serving and helping others with their vehicle needs.
Nataliya started to think about making shirts that promoted beauty, inner Christ-like beauty. “We are all full of beauty, but it is up to us to share it with the world. I started with one shirt to raise awareness. It was all faith-based – the shirts would reach those who didn’t know the Lord.”
Three years ago, the shirt project became a small company named Hello Beauty Full & Co. Inspirational T-Shirts. It can be found online at hellobeautyfullco.com. Shirts are available there, as well as at some businesses throughout the valley (listed on the site).
Nataliya did not intend to make a huge profit from the sale of inspiring shirts but only enough income to continue the project that is a tribute to her brother. A message on her website reads: “Let’s spread positivity around the world. Be kind, smile more, take the time to say hello, love and share your beauty. Inner beauty.”
She also wants everyone to feel they are beautiful – or, more correctly, beauty full. A favorite Scripture is 1 Peter 3: 3-4 — “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Nataliya also built a giving back component into Hello Beauty Full and holds a 10 Days of Giving project in November. One of the first non-profits she worked with was City Light for Women and Children, a Boise Rescue Mission program for mothers and kids.
Other non-profits include The Closet. Founded and operated by Kelly McMurry, The Closet provides free clothes to teens in need; also JEMfriends, founded and operated by Liberty Barrett Thompson and aimed at helping young people who age out of foster care.
“Nataliya approached me two years ago. I can’t remember how we first met, so I’ll give God the credit. During her giving month, for every shirt somebody bought, she gave The Closet a free shirt. She delivered 25 shirts to us,” Kelly said. “Nataliya loves God. I never doubt that when I see her.”
Natalie J. Williams, volunteer coordinator with JEMfriends, said, “The 10 Days of Giving program was where any shirt bought within those 10 days, she matched it with a donation of a shirt to JEMfriends. Nataliya’s story of how Hello Beauty Full and Co. started was so moving. We loved having her come and share with our JEMyouth. Her donation of Hello Beauty Full and Co. t-shirts and matching pajama pants was a success with the girls.”
Said Nataliya: “We all mean to do well, and 10 Days of Giving is an opportunity to join me and make a positive impact. It’s my attempt to give back, but I want others involved in it. When we come together that way, our impact is greater.”
Also, go to her website and check out her blog entry titled “Look Twice” (https://hellobeautyfullco.com/blog/f/look-twice?blogcategory=GIVE+BACK). Nataliya designed a t-shirt specifically for motorcycle safety. When anyone purchases that shirt, she puts the money in a separate place. She has given money to people who have lost a loved one through an accident, but she’d also like to partner with an organization to raise awareness of motorcycles and motorcyclists. (See contact information below if you are interested.)
Nataliya buys her t-shirts locally and gets them printed locally. “I sometimes write a blog when I’m launching a new shirt,” she said. She’s on Instagram and a good way to see what she does is to go to @HelloBeautyFullCo. She’s also on Facebook.
She said that when she needs to do fundraising, whatever she comes up with is always enough. God always provides for what she needs at that time.
Like his sister, Vasiliy was born in Ukraine and came to this country with his parents as a child. Nataliya, now 34, married and the mother of three sons, was 9 when she came to the U.S. Her brother’s “Hello, beautiful” will always be with her. “Oh, how we miss him,” she said.
Her business is a dream fulfilled, and as it says on her website: [It’s] a dream for love over hate. A dream for kindness, inspiration and true beauty. A dream to see someone smile. A dream to keep a memory alive.”