More than one thousand natural hair enthusiasts flowed through Minneapolis’ Ramada Plaza for the Twin Cities Natural Hair & Beauty Expo, Sunday, Aug. 13. The first annual event featured some of the industry’s top and emerging beauty brands, along with experts and resources to celebrate and unite women of color along their hair journey.
The day-long event also shined a light on the challenges naturalistas face when it comes to transitioning and finding acceptance at the workplace, as well as finding products and communities to support their new hair ventures. This is not because of a lack of interest (or spending power), but because of a lack of access.
While hair meccas like Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles enjoy shelves stocked with diverse hair and beauty needs, other big cities like Minneapolis still feel ignored when it comes to marketing and distribution. Hype Hair‘s digital editor (who served as keynote speaker) recalled having to schedule online orders and special trips to the one store that carried specific products for her hair. Others shared a desire to demo or learn more about products when they launch instead of just waiting for word of mouth referrals as well as access to products via more local events.
“The Twin Cities’ natural hair community has been underrepresented for so many years,” said Tephanie Delaney, co-founder of the expo and creator of natural hair care brand Hair Hunny. “I was humbled to see the Minneapolis/St. Paul community embrace the concept of having our own natural hair event and help women and brands come together to celebrate our natural hair and beauty.”
The organizers already have plans to expand after the event’s overwhelming response and attendees appear to have strengthened their own communities and social networks. Hopefully, the response will also encourage brands to broaden their reach.
Click through to check out some images from the empowering event.