By Yolanda Renee of Et Cetera Blog Magazine
This past weekend I had the awesome honor of attending the LET YOUR HAIR DOWN EXPO in Brooklyn, New York which was hosted by Jenell Stewart (of www.kinkycurlycoilyme.com) and Candace Kelley!
When I first arrived I was lucky enough to catch the painter painting the event title on the Villain building. That was interesting. He did this free hand and I honestly wanted to see if I could help out! Lol. So as Design Essentials posted on their instagram, “Design Essentials was in the building and in this case they were literally ‘on the building’”! Lol.
The event started promptly at 12pm in Brooklyn! Which was held in a warehouse type of building called the Villain. From the outside you may wonder…”What the hell!?! This is not an upscale spot!” But I guess in New York this is the thing to do…have events in bigger spaces that hold large crowds and lots of vendors! The décor is not as important. I arrived in NYC early around 11:30am! There was not a line at that time and the vendors were still setting up their booths. That was interesting to see. But a few moments later I came outside to check out the line and OMG was there a line! The line literally wrapped around the block! I saw a lot of people whom recognized me which was really exciting whether it was from my YouTube channel, social networks, or from attending Jenell’s Dinner With CurlFriends events. Everyone was very nice and very excited to get inside!
Woop Woop! Thankfully I ran into my girl Sunshine! We know each other by working on graphics together for her website www.sunshinesnaturalandlovingit.com! I’m her graphic designer as well. She attended to support Jenell as well and also to be a presenter at the Mommy & Me workshop. We ended up hanging out together the entire time! We had lots of laughs, got tons of free products, met a lot of girls who follow us on our blogs and social networks, as well as took A LOT of pictures! Fun times! Check out those photos of myself, Jenell, and Sunshine in the MOJO PHOTO BOOTH! That was a lot of fun as well. This photo booth was right at the front door as you walked in; so kinda taking the place of a red carpet. Guests were able to get in the booth and have a mini photo shoot with backdrops and props and all! We went in there twice, back to back! He he!
As you walked into the building there was a booth where you were politely greeted and handed an event program and full size products! There were Motions, Shea Moisture, Curls, etc products…and ladies, these were full-sized products not sample sizes. A lot of the attendees were really surprised by this gesture! Lol. So that is a great perk to attending these types of events. You get tons of products!Next up, again was the photo booth! After that you entered the huge building that had two sides as well as a 2nd floor where they held the workshops on a schedule. The schedule was repeatedly announced over a loud speaker so everyone would remember where to go. The ground level is where all the vendors were set up. Such vendors ranged from Curls, Design Essentials, Haus of Swag (love them), and more! There were tons of clothing shops, accessories, hair products, and even beauty product vendors there. And in the middle of all this excitement there were hair demonstrations going on and there was even a fashion show happening right in the aisles of the venue! The energy in this building was ahhhhhhhhhhhhhmazing! And if you were hungry or thirsty Jamal had a cocktail booth and food was served as well.
SunShine and I showing off our wedges! There was a DJ too! Niko! Lol. He was a mess! SunShine and Jenell we won’t even go there. But overall the DJ was great and played lots of dope music to keep the energy going throughout the event.
Overall you do a lot of shopping when you attend these events. The seminars were scheduled back to back and as you shopped you were reminded of them by the lovely SunShine on a loud speaker. A few seminars such as, The Jenell Experience, Mommy & Me, DESIGN ESSENTIALS VIP Chic Natural Styling, Kitchen Concoctions with Candace Kelley, The Hairy Truth – Dermatologist Dr. Dina Strachan, Weight Loss & Green Smoothies with Jenell Stewart, and of course the Bloggers Panel which I had the pleasure of being a guest!
I must say the bloggers panel was a lot of laid back fun! The panel held myself, Sunshine (http://www.sunshinesnaturalandlovingit.com), Toia (http://luvtobnatural.com/), Fran (http://youtube.com/chescaleigh), and Carmen (http://lipstickfashionmascara.com/).
The panel was hosted by Sasha (love her) and she asked some awesome questions that allowed us to give the audience some great tips and information about the blogging world! The audience had an opportunity to ask us questions as well. But the questions the hostess asked left barely any room for follow up questions. Lol. Which was pretty awesome. It was a very thorough panel. This part of the event was very important to me as a blogger. I was able to meet so many people to expand my audience. This was also a great opportunity to show who I was, what I was doing and to let people know my upcoming plans! If you ever attend an event like this it is also very important that you have business cards. Networking with other bloggers is a must in the blogging world! I exchanged so many business cards and I can’t wait to connect with them! I also met a lot of aspiring bloggers which gave me so much inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing! They explained to us that we helped them so much with their journey. That really touched me. So I do want to say good luck to those women with starting their new blogs and YouTube channels.
Overall, this event was a huge success! I’m telling you Jenell has natural hair powers! There were over 2,000 people at this event! Crazy, right!?! Both Candance and Jenell held a very successful event and handled it with class. Jenell worked the room like we were over to her apartment for drinks! She was so calm and very comfortable. She didn’t have a care in the world. I was so surprised she even had time to jump in the photo booth with myself and SunShine. I was so happy to see her have a good time instead of being stressed about what was going on.
So after the event was over. Jenell, myself, SunShine and a few others from the KCCM crew all went out to dinner! We made reservations at Sea (Thai Restaurant) in Brooklyn which was approximately 4 blocks from the venue! This spot was jumping and the food, mmmmmmmmmmm delicious! The décor was amazing and the energy was just like I would imagine in the city! And funny enough…while in line to the ladies’ room I met one of my girls who follows my blogs! And she didn’t attend the event…so that was wild! She had recently cut her hair and was inspired by my videos! Yayyyy!
Anyway, back on subject. Having dinner with this amazing crowd topped off my night! We had great food, conversation, and fun! Oh and let’s not forget the amazing Thai plum wine we had…yummo! Jenell, great choice doll! It was a perfect day in the city with the KCCM crew! I can’t wait until the next event. After dinner we all went home to get some rest. No wild parties or anything. He he!
CHECK THIS OUT | Video footage of my trip from Maryland to New York! And some of the controlled chaos at the event as well as a surprise feature from SunShine from SunShine’s Natural & Loving It!
Again, this event was a major success. I would recommend all my natural hair sistas to attend events especially if you are a blogger! It gets you exposure, you meet great people to network with, tons of free products, lots of great shopping, and it just keeps you on top of your game. I want to give special thanks to Candance, Jenell, Design Essentials, SunShine, Jamal and so many others! I really enjoyed myself! Bravo to a great event!