The Taliah Wajiid Word Natural Hair and Healthy Lifestyle Expo. Whew. That’s a lot of words. It is held in Atlanta Seriously though, as being part of “Team Natural” for the last three years, falling into the trap of all the good smelling, beautiful packaging natural hair product, I found this to be a MAJOR event, particularly for the woman of color. This event had all the major hair product vendors specializing in products for natural and black hair.
Look. I love products and when I tell you ALL the top brands were in the convention center. In addition, there were makeup products, beauty products, jewelry, clothes, scents EVERYWHERE! The major brands had HUGE sections of the floor that were transformed into small salons, some were up on platforms, with stylists mic’d up to broadcast their diction of the technique, product, or style.
It was a sea of beautiful black women, natural hair and dare I say a sense of belonging, acceptance, and sisterhood that, for one moment trumped any stereotype or preconceived notion. It was wonderful. I called everyone in passing “sis.” And I meant it.
Enough with the emo.
I don’t have a particular favorite product, but I do have a favorite process: good cleansing shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, gel or mousse, and oil. I like to try different products or a line of products and decide what I like from there. So many endless combinations. There are also certain products for certain looks. I have also found it true for me that a product will stop working after I use it that when your hair gets acclimated to one product, it stops working, so I change products when that happens. Yea, I love products.
I’ll get right to the pictures because they feature the major brands that were in attendance:
For me the best parts about the expo were:
- Being in an atmosphere where we, black women, were the majority and were the focal point of the event
- A number of independent brands that were represented. Here’s the lesson in this. Get you a PRODUCT! Figure out your skills, your product, your service, get a marketing plan together and SELL IT. So many profitable brands were in the building that I have never heard of, but are thriving in their lane
- The opportunities to work in your passion, your calling, your natural skill set. There were so women there helping other women, whether that was beauty, self-confidence, providing counsel, art, style, or design — there was so many black woman whose needs were being met by other black women. I know the center of passionate work comes from serving others and being in the midst of the huge exchange at the expo reminded me that there is room for us all.
- Did I say this already, but get you a product. The world is so much larger than what you know. There are so many low-key independent products out there thriving. Get you a product and make your unknown become known.
- Invest in yourself! The vendors at the expo’s paid a minimum of $1000 dollars to participate in the expo. Maybe they broke even and made their money back, maybe they didn’t but the opportunity to learn and connect is a stepping stone into brand development and growth.
- Be creative! I admired the idea that Creative Nature had to capture email addresses via iPad in exchange for a swag bag.
- Bloggers Make Great Brand Ambassadors for Expos! I attended the event as a Brand Ambassador for Hip-Hop Charades. I did a great job selling at least 23 units. I know all about selling myself and can apply the same skills set to products and brands I believe in. For Hip Hop Charades, I believe in celebrating Hip Hop Culture in a family setting with the goal of bridging generational gaps and creating opportunities for human interaction.
Expos are the best place to connect with brands in your industry or niche. I met so many Social Media Managers, Program Managers for Brand Ambassadors, and even a Vice President of Marketing. I was able to even make connections so quickly that I was given product on site to review. (Blog Posts coming soon!).
What hair products do you use? What’s your favorite product? Let me know in the comments!