With all that's been going on I didn't get to report back about Natural November which took place on the previous Bank holiday.
It was an all day event from 11am until 7pm, but somehow myself, Ketisha (@SugarKinesis) and Rose (@Leladevine) didn't actually leave until about 8pm.
Although I wasn't able to attend last year I did hear reports that it was a great day but unfortunately a bit cramped. This year I doubt anyone could complain as the venue was fantastic. As well as the main hall being filled with stalls, there were also vendors along the corridors, a canteen room serving hot Caribbean food, and organic cold snacks, and quite a sizeable side room where a series of seminars 6 seminars were held throughout the day. 2 of the seminars were specifically focused on natural hair, the morning talk was about hair loss, and the afternoon session was about transitioning.
I attended the transitioning talk being given by Valley Fontaine.
Although I've already transitioned, I like to get perspectives from other transitioners so I can share their advice here for people considering going natural. One benefit that Valley noted was the fact that by transitioning as opposed to BCing (Big Choping), you still have all your hair if you choose to go back to a relaxer. Some people may finding this less daunting. However, she also noted the extra care that having 2 textures of hair requires, in terms of handling and styling.
At one stage during Valleys presentation I felt as though she received some question that I doubt she would have received, had her hair texture been thicker, which raised a comment from one audience member who rightly stated that there is often a misconception that mixed race hair is easier to manage or less problematic than Afro hair, when the truth is, any hair is difficult to manage if you dont know how, and easier when you do.
After the talk I had one thing on my mind... BeUnique Hair Care! I was already aware that Belinda would have her very first stall for selling her BeUnique products and there was no way I was gona leave Natural November without some.
After proudly purchasing my Moisture Custard (Large, £15), Ketisha - my partner in crime, took me around to see some of the other stalls. Having arrived early, she was already familiar with the layout, and had only just missed out on the goody bags for the first 100 attendees (she was 103rd).
Although the event was not exclusively about hair, there were a number of vendors selling products and natural oils for hair, including Ebony of Naturally Sexy.
Ebony had some great accessories that Im not quite allowed to reveal just yet, but I'm looking forward to their official launch.
I really enjoyed a lot of the stalls which weren't necessarily for hair at all, especially those selling art works or earrings.
There were heaps of accessories to choose from and I eventually bought this pair from the J.M Prempeh stall where I met a lovely lady called Ayesha Asantewaa, also purchasing some JMP bits, despite already wearing her own, homemade, feauture piece necklace!
Purple Turtle Beads
And check out JMP jewellery at JM Prempeh on Etsy
Natural November definitely attracted a more varied audience than the usual natural hair events. I guess because its more about culture and lifestyle (but includes hair and beauty), it feels less exclusively about women. Consequently there were definitely more men in attendance than usual and it also seemed to appeal across the generations.
I also observed that both locs and headwraps were the primary styles of the day and varied from the simple to the more extravagant.
Natural November was actually quite a large scale event, and I'd be interested to find out how many people came and took part. I came away feeling so impressed and inspired by the organiser Debrose for proving that visions such as Natural November maybe ambitious, they're not impossible! Congratulations Debrose, for successfully staging such a big day.