It’s the last weekend in April which means every natural must make her (or his) pilgrimage to Atlanta, GA for the 18th annual World Natural Hair Show presented by Taliah Waajid. While the show has made some significant changes over the years, it still ranks as the definitive natural hair expo in the world. Whether you are there for the deals on natural hair products, educational seminars, or like me just want to commune with your curlfriends there is definitely something for everyone. As a long time visitor to the show I am going to share with you my tried and true tips to make the best of this event.
- Set a budget and bring cash. There are so many deals and it is very easy to spend double or triple what you intended. The advantage to cash is that you connect with each purchase and once it is gone you know you have to make a decision on whether or not to continue.
- Buy your tickets online. Yes I know the service charge is BS however the line to purchase tickets is ALWAYS long. Too long. There is a much shorter and completely separate line for those who have purchased tickets ahead of time.
- Make a list. And stick to it! Write down which products and vendors you desire to purchase from to stay on track. Check the FB pages of your favorite vendors and write down their booth numbers it is easy to forget a vendor once you enter the matrix.
- Come prepared. Most people are not ready to spend 3+ hours needed to walk the expo. Eat before you come, there is a snack bar but trust me you want to eat a real meal. Bring your own bag to carry your purchases, make sure it has enough room and comfortable straps. Wear shoes that are made for walking and standing.
- Mind your electronics. Bring your phone charger (or backup battery) you will be surprised how fast your phone will die. Also to spare your battery life while in the expo hall turn your phone to airplane mode. This will allow you to take pictures but will turn off other apps to save your battery.
- Do not purchase from the first vendor you see. There are many repeat t-shirt, jewelry and oil vendors so make sure you walk the floor and check them out before making your purchase as you may find a better deal.
- If you are attending the show with friends, set a spot to meet up and specific time. Again phone service can be sketchy and it is easy to lose track of time. I would recommend meeting up at the snack bar in the back of the expo hall after 90 minutes. This will give you time to walk the show, compare purchases and get something to drink while you are there.
- Buy more and save. The vendors are there to make money and you are there to save so meet each other in the middle, propose a discount on a volume purchase even if you don’t see one displayed. For example if earrings are $5 each offer the vendor a deal of $20 for 5 pairs, that will save you a $1 per pair.
- Pay attention to smaller vendors. There are many smaller vendors who use this show to introduce themselves to the market. I was introduced to OBIA Naturals a few years ago at the WNHS. You can get your hands on the product, ask questions and most will do a demo so you can try before you buy.
- Take time to rest. There is always a stage near the center of the expo hall, grab a chair and check out the talent that is performing and give your feet a rest before walking the rest of the show.
While you are in Atlanta take in some of the awesome sites and things to do, this city always has something going on and is never boring. If you are looking for a product that wasn’t at the hair show, use the Target, Walgreens, or CVS store locator app because Atlanta is such a natural hair Mecca many products are available in stores that may not be available where you live. I will be at the show Saturday afternoon so be sure to say hi if you see me.