Recently, I was asked to be a VIP influencer for the Natural Hair and Health Expo. I’ve been wanting to attend for a while, but I had a lot of hesitations.
- I’ve only been natural for a few years, and even so I still get my hair straightened.
- I can barely do my own hair. It ends up getting done by a pro and then I let it stagnate for a month or attempt to wash it and fail miserably.
- I’m a dork – even if I did know how to do my own hair, it’s never been a priority, so why spend a bunch of time at an expo.
- My history with my hair is nothing compared to my history with black women. I was recently dumped by a black gf and it tore me up and brought back memories of my years being bullied by black women. Would I even feel comfortable?
Turns out, I had all of the wrong ideas. Being a VIP influencer meant having to post about the expo. I apparently had the perfect social media presence for it because I personally ensured one ticket was sold – a VIP ticket with my friend Que, who I hadn’t had a chance to hang out with very much.
That ended up being the difference maker, and it’s the pro con-going tip that changes everything.
Like all conventions, the best part about attending events are the people you go with.
Everything else can suck, but as long as you’re with the right people, it will work out. Keeping that as your focus means the world.
While I loved the VIP room, the free goodies and food, the best experience was making the drive from Tuscaloosa with a friend and seeing her happy. That was amazing. We laughed and giggled so much, and she even connected with an incredible celeb. Even if everything else was terrible (which it wasn’t!) that connection made the whole trip worth it.
And the other tip that other geeky convention goers already know – you’ll encounter all kinds of people at this event. Even though I’m not trendy in the slightest and ended up not feeling well enough to get my hair done, no one was really paying attention to that.
Here’s my take on this expo for those who spend less than 30 seconds on their hair every day.
What I Loved
The guides and volunteers – there was never a shortage of people to ask questions or get help. My VIP media guide was always available via phone and email and the folks helping out were really sweet and as helpful as possible.
The vendors – one thing that my friend Que noted was the sheer number of black-owned businesses. We were just in awe. And sometimes black folks underwhelm with their products and marketing. Not so here – it was incredible. The goodie bags were unbelievable in quality.
I even saw some friends showing off their political campaigns and were floored! So proud to know these folks.
The classes we took were freaking phenomenal – learned so much about financing for my business and about homebuying. Still can’t believe how much I learned.
Lessons for Next Time
I was promised Wi-Fi and no one knew the password. (Did I mention I’m a dork? This blog is for nerds, remember!?
Looks like part of the VIP experience was checking out one of the panels but they didn’t take that into account with all of the folks who had pre-registered, so it was hard to find any seats.
Every vendor needs to have a table. We were dying to buy some of the cupcakes we tried at the tasting. There was a lot of confusion about even if we were supposed to have any and they didn’t have a table!
So glad to have attended and can’t wait for next year.