The Most Epic Day Of My Career


The Natural Hair Industry Convention

It started with a phone call from Angela Walker aka Angela Gone Social. I can’t remember the last time I got a personal phone call (the old fashioned way) invitation to an event, so I immediately responded and was pleasantly surprised. Angela had met me years before at the Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show and she knew that I needed to be at The Natural Hair Industry Convention (NHIC). Herself & her partner Susan are the founders of the very first Convention for  the natural hair industry. It’s such an honor for me to be a part of history & this evolution of natural hair! Whatever I had on my schedule for the weekend of NHIC I cleared because I knew I couldn’t miss it for the world, this was the day I have been waiting for! The first of its kind NHIC is not a hair show, it’s a specialized networking & educational event for the best of the best in our industry. Natural Hair salon owners and stylists, product makers, natural hair authors, bloggers, vloggers & educators nationwide were gathering in Baltimore for an unforgettable weekend!


After arriving in the lovely Marriott hotel, I was excited to mingle at the pre- meet & greet event the evening before the NHIC. I walked into the dimly lit but very elegant gathering and noticed about 20 women and a few men huddled in groups chatting it up sharing their natural hair journeys & how they got started as natural hair artists & product formulators.  I immediately noticed some familiar faces from the industry. A very tall & confident woman quickly stood up to greet me with a huge smile, she asked me who I was & I introduced myself, she shook my hand and said “hi I’m Dianne Baily” with that I almost passed out, began breathing fast & cheeks blushing! I replied “I can’t believe it’s really you Dianne Baily I’ve always wanted to meet you!” Dianne Baily is the author of the Milaidys Standard Natural Hair & Braiding textbook that is used at beauty schools nationwide & is the most comprehensive training book for natural hair stylists, and I have both editions.  She began to laugh & said I was funny, but to me she is a goddess & I look up to her on so many levels. Dianne Bailey is a master pioneer in the natural hair industry, she has two product lines she is part of Design Essentials and Shea Moisture as well as one of the very first natural hair salons Tendrils in Brooklyn. I couldn’t believe I was actually meeting her, and she told me not to worry because we would have the whole weekend together! What a greeting, this just set my whole weekend off & I couldn’t even sleep that night I was so excited!

Buzzing with excitement I planned an early morning workout with Camile Reed owner of Noir Salon. She shares the same philosophy as me that beauty is parallel with health and fitness. We both are moms, salon owners and we make time and dedicate ourselves to daily workouts cardio, weightlifting, and yoga. We planned to workout in the hotel gym at 5:30 am followed by morning Hatha Yoga taught by Anu Prestonia owner of the renowned Khemit Kinks salon in Brooklyn!

Tulani Kinard, Anu Prestonia & Dianne Bailey authors of the Natural Hair & Braiding textbook. What made the Natural Hair Industry Convention so epic was the feeling of belonging, I was in a sisterhood! Being in the presence of greatness was overwhelming to say the least. I was ready for a supercharged day of workshops tailored to our specific needs, for example I got to take a workshop on how to teach workshops effectively. Most of the workshops were either advanced training for stylists, salon owners or managers. There were several business related workshops, like how to earn over $100k/year as a natural stylist. I was very inspired and open to receiving knowledge & connections and most of all the energy felt right.

I had a pleasant surprise at the luncheon, my good friend & colleague Michelle London from Loc Mamas Salon in Atlanta was there, we had worked together years ago at Duafe Holistic Haircare & at Rasa Salon. I was happily surprised to see her, along with so many beautiful women nationwide.

Our keynote speaker at the luncheon Tulani Kinard, Natural Hair Artist & Master Pioneer, started off singing with Sweet Honey in the Rock, she expressed to us through song how deeply valuable we all are & how to live life through gratitude & African principles. She also explained the phenomenon of our calling, how all of us (natural hair braiders & Locticians) have been called to our work, our ministry as she said & our ancestors have called on us to do this work of the art of natural hair care. I got chills as Tulani explained how this energy moves through us & many of us don’t even understand how or why we have been called to do this healing work. But one thing is sure, we have been called to do our craft & the creator works through us & our blessed hands, that we may please our ancestors & continue braiding & twisting & talking, bonding & bringing so much joy to every crown we touch! I felt so honored to hear her words as they resonated with my soul at its deepest level. For so long I have not really understood my drive to this calling as a natural hair artist & healer. That day my world was illuminated with the feeling that I have been in tune with my life’s purpose & to gather with a group of women that’s shares my exact passion, enthusiasm, professionalism, commitment, & dedication to our craft felt amazing! For the very first time I can actually say that I felt equal, connected, accepted, respected & loved by the community of Natural Hair Professionals.
When Tulani Kinard took my hands after her speech, looked into my eyes & said “I see you, I’ve heard of you & she thanked me for my commitment & consistency to the industry & my craft. ” She looked into my eyes & she could see right past my skin & see all the love in my soul, so nurturing. I just began to cry because I was full of so much joy! To receive such a blessing from my elder who I look up to so dearly meant the world to me & was confirmation that I’m on the right path & determined to continue with my vision & Rasa Salon.

I had the opportunity to speak more with many other professionals in the field & I was pleasantly surprised to meet the Manager of Rare Essence Salon in Arizona, Adelaide. I was immediately drawn to her because she looked like a grown up version of my daughter Rasa! She shared with me her story of how she got into natural hair are & how Essence has been grooming her for years to be successful & manage her Salon & Rare Essence Academy, which is a fabulous natural hair training program. One of our concerns as managers is how to keep motivated & have a good energy flow in the salon. Adelaide told me about the usefulness & power of using daily affirmations to stay motivated & on purpose every day in the Salon. I was able to take those gems with me  from the NHIC and bring it back to my staff at Rasa Salon. I also realized the importance of working with the youth & I decided to focus my energy on training younger apprentices & of course my daughter Rasa. I am so grateful to be a part of this new Alliance and share a common goal with so many beautiful & successful women.

I loved that Angela & Susan from NHIC had the vision to bring us together for the very first Natural Hair Industry Convention, and we are continuing our networking through follow up events like the Natural Hair “Let’s Talk Mixer”.  We are continuing an ongoing conversation about the many changes & advancements & challenges our industry is facing. Some of our concerns we have been discussing at our events include: How to prevent “big business” from taking over our industry & sweeping it from under our feet. How bloggers, vloggers & stylists can be more unified & supportive to each other while forming alliances. What are the state requirements and certifications necessary to practice Natural Hair styling and how can we make that more accessible & consistent throughout the USA. Most importantly we are discussing ways that we can all support each other & our businesses more effectively to keep each other thriving!

I’m so happy to share this great news & I am open to ideas, suggestions and opportunities to help our community & make 2016 successful productive & positive year at Rasa Salon.

If you would like to be a part of Rasa Salon in any way or your interested in a career as a natural hair Artist & Healer please contact me here. I am happy to offer private styling lessons & we also have many wonderful workshops planned for the year. Please also send us suggestions or ideas for improvement or ways that we can make Rasa Salon better.

Thank you for all your love and support.

After 20 years in the industry it still feels like the beginning. This Natural Hair Movement is here to stay!!!

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