In Search Of Next Big Thing
Report from 2022 Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Show
The end of Covid-19 pandemic has not arrived, but Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Show was held in a cautious mood at Atlanta Georgia International Convention Center from April 23 to 24. The show used to bring more than 30,000 people at a time before the pandemic, but I could not help but wonder how many people would show up. In last March, the IBS show at New York has seen a very low level of participation from vendors and visitors as it required wearing facial mask and proof of vaccination for the participants. Nevertheless, when I arrived at the event hall, a significant number of people was lined up for ticketing or waiting for the entry with a purchased ticket. Although the crowd did not flood out of the building as it used to be, considering the circumstances, the show obviously succeeded in gathering people. The show itself was a smaller in comparison. With less than 100 vendors, it would take only 20 minutes for one to look around the entire event hall. However, the show was full of excitement with aggressive marketing and elaborate booth setup. Famous vendors were selling merchandise at show-discount price directly to the visitors, and you can meet CEOs and executive managements from large companies who made trips to the show. For a relatively calm beauty industry and market of late, they seemed in search of a next big thing.
The biggest advantage of the Natural Hair Show is that 90% of the visitors are salon owners and stylists. They often come to the show with an impressive styling. You could not possibly examine and analyze all of them, but you could see what directions the leading beauticians of Atlanta are heading.
People I met at the show
Taliah Waajid, this year’s show host and CEO of a hair care line, was at the center of the show and made a round to the booths, expressing gratitude to the participating vendors. She also guided people to her exhibition, built museum-like, prepared for the launch of a new product Apple & Aloe. The inside of exhibition can be called a Taliah museum. From the early days of her launching of first hair care products, followed mishaps, and scaling up, all in the path of the launch of Apple & Aloe, you could learn about her whole journey. The merchandise for sale was located at the exit and sold for significantly discounted show price, attracting many stylists and providing wholly new experience.
Taliah, Jibril & Shawntel Waajid: all of Taliah’s family members beside her are enthusiastic about the African American beauty and care. Aside from hosting the show, they are making effort for the civil rights and education for African American. The three brothers and sisters are based in Savannah, Georgia and running a hair salon and a beauty supply, focusing on creating opportunities for African American hair stylists. The hosting family also spearheaded the great hair classes and business classes offered at the show.
They have made great effort for and supported the legislation and enactment of the law that made the Juneteenth a National Holiday last year. And for its second anniversary in 2022, in partnership with the City of Atlanta and ABC network, they are planning a festival for the emancipation of the slaves along with a Juneteenth parade.
Mz Lady Lox: Mz Lady Lox is a famous loc stylist, renowned nationally. In addition to the celebrities, celebs’ stylists are her clients, and she also tours across the country to lecture on natural haircare to facilitate the growth of the new generation of stylists. She is also a main stylist for Jamaican Mango and Lime brand.
Supreme Hair grabbed the attention with braider-favorite pre-stretched braids, Ceres with great versatility for natural styles, and Passion Twist with great volume of curls at low weight. It also set up the Instagram influencers’ live cast at the front, which made a great way to interact with the consumers. Sasha Harris of Magic Finger in Brooklyn also made notable appearance for the braiding products of Spectra brand (of which she is a model) and Shine’n Jam product promotion and showcasing. She held model demonstrations and taught braiding tricks at the booth with the visitors.
On the event hall, stylists were attuned to the new products and techniques they can bring to their clients for a better service and style. The audience wanted to know if the product supply can be stable without disruption and if there are techniques they can acquire for an upgraded, more high-end service rather than finding a cheaper priced item.
Throughout the length of the event, more than 20 classes were held daily. Designated classrooms were provided for participating stylists to learn from each other and share information. It was divided into various main topics such as business class, natural hair maintenance tips, product how-tos, hairstyling techniques, and customer service, and the classes were full of great materials. You could easily find newly minted stylists who just received their license listening to the know-hows of the seasoned professionals. In the past, many people just started to work at a salon without basic knowledge about business. From registering an LLC to tax returns, foundational basics that apply for all new business were taught to help people who start business.
Some of the most crowded booths was Mielle, Alikay Natural, and Cantu, in addition to Taliah’s main stage and the museum. Not to mention the elaborate booths, the aggressive price competition took place. You could purchase the same products sold at a beauty supply at $19.99 for $6 to $7, so for stylists who regularly purchase them, it was a great opportunity they could not miss. When it comes to the samples, some companies simply offered full-sized products for sampling, and to attract more people to come inside, many promotions were ongoing inside the booths. Speaking of Cantu, a photo booth was installed for promotional purposes where you need to input contact information to receive the photo. Many companies ran activities such as games, photo shoots, and demos to attract visitors who may not be interested in the product display by itself.
For this time, natural haircare, body care, and curl products were the star of the show. Many visitors wore protective styles, curls, and braids. You could hardly find a style made with weaving or a wig. From the observation, you could anticipate the continuation of natural hair boom in 2022. Especially, loc styles were popular, and many loc specialists occupied booths to promote their business.
Although it’s hard to put your foot down on a forecast, loc products were popular at the scene, for which you can guess the various loc styles to make trends in this Summer. Most of all, all stylists I met at the event talked one thing in common. Although you are to work with store-bought products, you should be able to produce unique and creative styles at the salon. To create styles with various thickness, patterns curls, and color mixes, you will be needing the hands of professional stylists.
Hair Trend BY Bora Chung
BNB Magazine JUN 2022 ©bnbmag.com