By Khalia Dunn
The Natural Hair Industry Convention
When: Sunday, November 12
Where: The Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel
To register, visit www.thenaturalhairindustryconvention.com
The 4th Annual Natural Hair Industry Convention (NHIC) will be hosted in Atlanta for the first time on Sunday, November 12 at the Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel. The event, previously held in Linthicum, Maryland, will feature presentations, classes, and helpful information to help professionals build their brand.
NHIC co-founders Susan Peterkin-Bishop and Angela Walker fly to Atlanta yearly, but they weren’t quite ready to bring the convention to the area until now. “We had an opportunity to work with a new hotel, and Susan and I decided why not take a chance on Atlanta,” says Walker. Peterkin-Bishop adds that Atlanta could be ideal for many attendees. “It is a city of progressive people of color who are open to change. It’s also a midpoint. Many hair professionals are willing to travel to this destination.”
For years, natural hair has been a topic of discussion in the black community. What was once seen as uncontrollable and unprofessional is now being embraced by many men and women; so much so that there is an entire niche in the beauty market dedicated to education and styling, and caring for natural hair. “A movement, once viewed as a trend, has completely disrupted the beauty industry,” says Peterkin-Bishop. “For this reason, the NHIC serves to create a safe space where industry professionals can share their knowledge and disseminate information that keeps us on par with better servicing our clients while creating new revenue streams to keep us in business.”
Part of the convention is to educate other professionals on natural hair, as well as sharing styles and trends. “Education for natural hair care professionals is the only way the industry can advance,” says Walker. “Without that, it would be a bunch of very talented people in their own houses or salons, and no one would be able to learn from anyone. It slows down the progress of an industry as a whole.”
Whether you’re a stylist, blogger, or retailer, this convention is dedicated to educating, sharing content, and making connections in the natural hair community. At this year’s convention, attendees can expect many hands-on classes including flat twist tutorials by Essence China, Stitch braids by Stasha Mabatano-Harris, and Goddess Locs by Dr. Keri Williams. A hands-on cornrow class and a henna class will also be available. There will be a minor focus on hair loss. Dermatologists, Dr. Chesahna Kindred and Dr. Yolanda Lenzy, will be demonstrating as well as sharing their knowledge on how to recognize the signs of hair loss.
The high point of the convention will be the State of the Industry Panel discussion. This panel is a favorite among attendees. Influencers in the industry will talk about the present and future of the natural hair care industry, and discuss how professionals can navigate it and get the most of out it.
The better professionals understand the industry, the more likely they can maintain control over this specialized niche, says Peterkin-Bishop. “I truly believe it is one of the last aspects of the industry that we have total control over because everyone has to come to us to learn. We are the creators [of the industry], we are the innovators,” she says. “Even though the product companies have jumped over us to the bloggers when they want someone to represent their product, they have to come to us.”