If you missed this year’s Natural Hair Industry Convention (NHIC) Where Beauty + Business Meet, you indeed missed it. The movement was strong!
This year’s Natural Hair Industry Convention was held on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at the lovely BWI Airport Marriott Hotel. This event is said to be the only convention sole dedicated to the education and advancement of professionals in this niche industry.
Pre-Event Meet & Greet
For some of us this weekend started early. My rich experience began Saturday, October 31st when I arrived at the pre-event Meet & Greet held in the Chesapeake, I was warmly welcomed by Natural Hair Industry Convention (NHIC) co-founders Susan Peterkin-Bishop of Jaha Hair Studio and warmly greeted by Angela Walker of N Natural Hair Studio. I hit it off instantly with spicy New Yorker, Diane C. Bailey. The ladies and the few gentlemen in the room were down to earth and it felt like an evening out with close friends. I worked the room meeting and greeted everyone. I found myself nestled in with my fellow bloggers, Jonna @NaturallyGlam who is my fellow Virginia International Natural Hair MeetupDay (INHMD)Host and whom I supported at this summer’s Return of the Curl 2 Branding Brunch. I met Blogger MissbMonet, who lives right in my birth town of Alexandria, VA and Lauren, Howard U. Grad and Founder of Curls Unbothered. I cannot forget the sweetest and most on-top-of-it, CurlyNuGrowth’s NHIC Blogger Manager, Jocelyn Renee’. Their personalities are all different but intoxicating. These ladies kept it fun, interesting, and we had lot’s of open conversation and laughs throughout the event.
Towards the end of the evening, one of the Master Pioneers of the Natural Hair Industry, Phylis Allen initiated a real talk session that got real deep and even deeper with rich history by event keynote speaker, Tulani Kinard. Kinard is apart of the Grammy award winning A ccapella group Sweet Honey in The Rock. Everyone in the room gathered in close. I found myself surrounded by some of the best in the business. As the evening waned, the veterans shared rich history and had much to bestow on those of us where were fairly new to the industry. The atmosphere was warm, the spirituality was strong, and the connectivity among us was interwoven. Many sharing, remember when’s and so on. I was in the right place at the right time and I didn’t want it to end, but had a full day of more of the same.
After the opening breakfast ceremony, a day of educational classes were in full swing. Classes could be purchased at registration to this ticketed event. Each class was held in its own meeting room. As an NHIC Blogger, I had the socialite blogger ticket which included two classes, YouTube: Should You Join a MCN (Partnership Network) presented by Bella Kinks and Natural Partner in Crime’s Sabrina Bossiere who taught Blogger Etiquette 101. Overall, there were so many classes that I wanted to take, only if I could split myself in two. Note to self, bring a tag team partner next time to capture double the content and cover twice as many classes. Each class was amazing. I took an informative class along the line of Regaining The Natural Client’s Trust: Giving proper consultations and how to build relationships to gain repeat clients presented by Arlette Pender and an amazing class Executing Signature Styles* presented by Essence China.
*Catch the REPLAY of the Executing Signature Styles live hair demo via Periscope
Talk about keeping the almighty dollar in our community, yes indeedy! There were more than enough vendors to choose from. From product oils to hand cream, tribal fashion, and onsite eyebrow threading to onsite barber cuts…not just any barber cut, but the one that feels like a super package with all the fixings that make it “an unforgettable experience”
There was a plethora of product vendors, Oyin Handmade, Zuresh*, Shea Moisture, and Praises to name a few. Catch the live demo on at the Zuresh table on Periscope! I cannot forget Anna Teiko’s tribal fashion located out of Gaithersburg, MD, which I luh-uv!!!!!!! The event photographer, Kel @kelpics literally captured a picture of me selfie’ing it against what felt like a personal closet of all my favorite tribal clothes. Ms. Teiko was the honorary stylist who designed the tribal clad duo Susan and Angela, Co-Founders of The Natural Hair Industry Convention who were dawned in matching prints but styles all their own. I had the pleasure of talking at length with fashion designer Anna Teiko about her amazing pieces. Stay tuned for a future blog feature! Until then check her designs on Etsy.
*Catch the REPLAY of the Zuresh’s live product demo via Periscope
Gathering to Break Bread Together
A delicious fare was served from the moment I arrived at the meet and greet, which served drinks and a hot evening fare. Conference day offered an Opening Breakfast Ceremony and lunch with hot snacks and beverages sprinkled throughout the day, There was plenty fare for all event attendees. Every meal was unique, offered a variety, and was right on time. The most memorable gathering was when event attendees, exhibitors, panelists, speakers all gathered in the main ballroom for a 4-course lunch served while we enjoyed the Keynote Address by Tulani Kunard.
The event had a speed networking event which interfaced attendees with vendors and bloggers to stylists. Attendees had the fortune of turning in feedback surveys to receive a Shea Moisture tote bag filled with full size products from the new Shea Moisture Collection. This event ended with a fiery panel discussion with Bella Kinks, Julian R. Addo, Diane Bailey, Sabrina Bossier, moderated by Tribe Call Curl’s, Imani Dawson, Tulani Kinard, Dr. Afiya M. Mbilishaka, and other impactful women in the industry. I’m most excited about the groundwork being laid to kickoff the The Natural Hair Industry Alliance whose mission is to assure the economic, political, cultural and social empowerment for the natural hair and beauty enhancement community and industry. In short, this Alliance will improve sustainability of the natural hair and beauty industry for its core community, foster mentoring and partnerships to nurture the next generation, support educational venues for the professional stylists and students, keep the dollars coming into the community, information resource for the natural hair and beauty industry, and ensure that Stylists and Bloggers partner together. I plan to be apart of the industry growth and change.
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