Art, Culture & Events

How I got to Rep Miss Kabi for International Natural Hair Meet-Up Day

June 5, 2016

Recently, I got a chance to be the representative for Miss Kabi, an afrotrend online market place, as The Hue Beauty and Natural Hair Affair hosted by Natural Hair Partners in Crime. It was an amazing and uplifting experience!

It all started on a whim. I saw a post on the Instagram page of Miss Kabi saying they needed a rep in NYC on the 21st of May. I wasn’t sure what the event was but I did know two things: I like the work the company was doing and I would be NYC that day. I took a chance and DM’d my interest and added a few words that showed I might be semi-qualified. Then I forgot all about it, since I knew tons of people had probably DM’ed her already.

The next thing I knew, she and I were messaging back and forth and she decided she wanted me to be the rep for the event and it would be followed by a brunch, on her, with other designers! I was elated! And so began a really fun weekend full of beautiful women, innovative entrepreneurs, positive vibes, networking, friends and so much inspiration.

Miss Kabi is an online afrotrend marketplace. They represent independent designers that are influenced by African fashion and style. In addition, the woman behind Miss Kabi, Honorine, and her mother design a few of the pieces themselves. All their pieces are handcrafted in Senegal. Miss Kabi is a company based in Montreal and the designers they represent are global and they are looking to expand soon. Check them out if you’re looking for beautiful and unique West African inspired attire and accessories.

miss-kabi african-accessories

Honorine and I hit it of immediately! I learned a lot from her and the journey she’s been on to bring her company to where it is now.

 

Natural-Hair Show Rep Miss-Kabi

The Hue Beauty and Natural Hair Affair was a 6 hour conference and expo celebrating and spreading knowledge on all things curly, kinky and natural hair. I didn’t get a chance to check out any of the sessions, but you can see who was in the line up here . I did, though, get a chance to walk around the two shop floors to see who the other vendors were. The event planners made a concerted effort to not only invite vendors dealing directly with natural hair, but vendors that catered to the holistic lifestyle of these women. That was why people like Miss Kabi and other clothing and accessory vendors were invited. As Honorine put it, “I go where my customers are.” And many of her customers are into all things Afrocentric, including big beautiful afros.

Here are some of the vendors I got a chance to chat with:

Natural-hair made-beautiful true-by-made-beautifulTrue by Made Beautiful is a natural hair care line. They were posted right behind us and had quite the line!

 

martin-themed-t-shirts-republic-&-coThese gentlemen love the classic Martin theme show, so they made shirts with some of their favorite quotes. Find some fun ones here.

Kinky-curly-yaki-natural-hair-extensions

The ladies from Kinky Curly Yaki were really great to chat with! I almost got into a Ghana vs. Nigeria battle with the founder – whoops! They make wigs, clip-ins and weaves out of natural kinky curly hair! Finally, hair extensions that match our texture.

natural-hair-products-sweet-treats-by-oraje

Oraje, the founder of Sweet Treats, shows two girls one of his natural hair products. The products smelled good enough to eat! Just to throw us off entice us, they had hibiscus juice for tasting!

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D.I.D. Nails make eco-friendly nail polish. I thought it was really cool that they were at the event because I love seeing black owned women businesses that aren’t necessarily geared specifically to black women. I feel that sometimes it’s expected that as a black woman, your business has to just be for black women, but we can be bosses in any field.

Black women can be bosses in any field.

Natural-hair-black-illustrators

Jonquel, on the left, is a body positive illustrator and this was her first event doing live illustrations. Natasha, on the right, is a career coach and overall boss lady and offered me some pro-tips on my job search.

lili-creations-african-clothing-natural-hair-show

LiLi’s Creations sells beautiful and bright African print clothing. I enjoyed chatting with them about their fun designs.

african-jewelry-natural-hair-show

Prettiuneek had beautiful handmade and afrocentric jewelry and they were posted right next to us.

This is just a sampling of the amazing brands and founders that were attending the event! It felt like one big family and even companies that were selling similar products shared ideas and supported one another. It was a lot of great energy in the room.
The Hue Affair was actually happening as part of a bigger set of events known as International Natural Hair Meet-up Day (INHMD)! The idea was started by the amazing Adeea Rogers, a speaker, coach and co-founder of BlackBizScope. She talked to several event planners and natural hair influencers around the world and encouraged them to all plan events for May 21st, 2016. To that effect, there were events going on in Nashville, LA, Charlotte, Baltimore, New Orleans and even Cebu City in the Philippines. And that’s just a few of the cities. It really is true when they say there is power in numbers. Snapchat even had a filter for the day, with “Black Girls Rock” written boldly in sparkly gold. I got a chance to speak with Ms. Rogers for a bit when she came by the Miss Kabi table. She is extremely down to earth and she was really attentive to our questions and the table and freely offered suggestions and ideas for ways to expand the business. She was a lot of fun to talk to and she even let me take a picture with her!

trendy-socialite-adeea-rodgers-natural-hair

 

I’ve never seen so many gorgeous crowns and tresses in one room.

Perhaps the highlight of the entire event though, was the energy and beauty in the room. Sisterhood (and brotherhood), good vibes and fun radiated throughout the room. Everyone was so friendly and open, it just made for a great atmosphere. And there were so. Many. Beautiful. Curls. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I’ve never seen so many gorgeous crowns and tresses in one room. This is a sampling of just a few of the bomb women who let me take their photos:

Overall the event was simply amazing and I’m so glad I took a chance to reach out to Miss Kabi, despite my doubts on being chosen. Remember to always put yourself out there because staying put never got anyone anywhere.

Remember to always put yourself out there because staying put never got anyone anywhere.
Did you notice or attend any events on International Hair Meet Up Day? Or see the snapchat filter? Comment below about what you think of this new annual holiday.
Yours,

Omolayo Nkem

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