Hello my Cakers Bakers and Beauties!
On June 1st 2013 I was at the Jane Carter 360° Transformation Event, it was held at Jewel in Covent Garden, London.
I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t even know there was a UK blogger collective until recently! I’ve been reading the United Kinkdom Blog for ages now, in fact Crystal’s blog really helped and encouraged me in the beginning of my natural hair journey as it was the first UK blog I found. Before finding the United Kinkdom blog I’d only read/seen USA naturals on the internet.
The event was free but you had to register for tickets, unfortunately by the time I tried to register the event was fully booked!
Crystal had a competition on her blog to win tickets, I entered the competition but Crystal actually contacted me and asked if I’d like to volunteer at the event instead, (she didn’t just message me out of the blue since I met her on my birthday I’d emailed her to say hi and thanks for taking pictures with me etc.)
I said I’d love to volunteer and on the 1st June I turned up at Jewel about an hour and a half earlier than I was supposed to, that was intentional as I wanted to make sure I could find the venue first, then eat and do a bit of shopping round Covent Garden.
Shannon – the lady who was setting up the event had other ideas though as she put me to work immediately!
I didn’t mind helping out as that was what I was there for after all! Shannon was a bit bossy and kept pronouncing my name as Shawn but hey her job was to get things done and she is very good at her job! After half an hour or so the UK Blogger Ladies made an appearance and I got to meet the others, Pelumi, Fiona, Wunmi and Leila.
The bloggers went back off to carry on getting ready for the main event and shortly after the other volunteers turned up.
They were lovely girls and all with natural hair!
Don’t let the smiles fool you we worked HARD! we set up consultation stations, put up signs, set up the “shop” area, carried boxes and boxes of product up and down stairs and so on…
There was also a massive sheet of paper put up for people to write down the reasons why they love their hair.
We all wrote on it before the event actually started!
Once the event was about to begin we had to put on our “uniform” of Jane Carter T-Shirts, the T-Shirts only came in small. I thought that was a bit odd as we all come in different shapes and sizes but to be honest the T-Shirts were baggy on all of the other volunteers! I had foreseen this and brought my scissors with me so I could customise the shirt. I wanted to give it a deeper “V” neck to accommodate my …. um…. well you know but I didn’t want to cut into the picture of the product on the front, it wouldn’t have made a difference though because the picture was so stretched out anyway it was almost unrecognisable!
However that tiny stretched out t-shirt was like an access all areas pass! As I was part of the event team, people allowed me to take photographs of them all day long. Yes I was working all day, but I kept my camera on me all day so I could try and get loads of photographs, I took a mixture of natural and “posed” pics.
My photography is getting better (thankfully) I’m still by no means a photographer but I really enjoy taking photos, and now I’ve got a decent camera it really helps.
I’d like to give a shout out to a proper photographer Eulanda Shead, she was really lovely and let me follow her around a bit taking pics and she also gave me lots of advice about how to improve my own photography. Please check out her site her work is amazing.
Without further ado here are the photos of the event, if you are part of the “natural hair community” you will recognise a few faces, I’m not going to name check everyone, partly because I didn’t take down everyone’s names and partly because I don’t think it’s necessary. There is a bit of a hierarchy developing in the UK (natural) hair/beauty scene and I don’t like it one bit. We are all trying to achieve the same thing which is healthy hair and learning how to look after our hair (and bodies) in the best way possible, whether we are natural, relaxed, in-between, curly, coily, kinky, straight, weaved up, laced up, dyed fried or flipped to the side!
I intentionally took photos of all different hair textures and styles including ladies who didn’t have their real hair out, just enjoy the beauty and diversity of everyone and remember ultimately it is just hair, It is already dead once it’s erupted from your follicle and you would still be you if you had no hair on your head at all.
Although we worked really hard, I had a really good day. Jane Carter and her team were lovely and very hard working. As a thank you for volunteering, I was allowed to chose a selection of full-sized Jane Carter Products. I have never used the range before so look out for a product review coming soon.
The manager of Jewel threw us out dead on 5PM, but Shannon is a HUSTLER and continued selling right on the street outside (see photos above). Was it legal? probably not, but no one cared, this is just how we do it in Jamaica, not everyone who needs to sell something in Jamaica has or needs an actual shop to sell out of.
I really liked Jane as a person and I’m excited to try her range but I wish that the UK Blogger collective had launched with a UK brand first. I think that it’s really important that we in the UK, support UK businesses not just hair and beauty brands but across the board. We whine and complain about the economy but there are things we could all do to help. Plus if we buy British usually we’re not paying so much for P+P or getting our items caught by customs and paying extra taxes. Yes I know you can buy US products from UK sites and stores but if you haven’t yet tried a UK based company dealing with natural hair products at least try a couple of brands out, there are sisters here in the UK with our hair types dealing with our horrible hard water and weather who are working hard to create natural hair products that are actually good for our hair and make it look good and smell nice too, these women have tried and tested these products out on themselves and their families and are always improving their products and putting new products out there.
I haven’t tried all of the UK natural hair brands yet as there are too many and I’m personally choosing to support women/companies that are physically local to me. However I will try out other UK brands as time goes by…
My staple and favourite UK brands are Kinks by Shea Decadence, Almocado Naturals and BeUnique, these brands are literally all I need and I don’t really need to use any other brands, in fact only one of the above brands would suffice for all my hair needs but being a Gemini variety is the spice of life!
I know that the UK Blogger collective do use and review UK brands so I’m not saying that they don’t support our own. I am not one to say things about people behind their backs, so to speak and I did ask them if they would do a similar event featuring a UK brand or brands in the future, the answer was YES! So watch this space!
On the day a few people (who I will not name) had a bit of “don’t you know who I am?” Syndrome, Sorry I really don’t know who you are, I have a busy life too and do not spend all my free time on the internet, I have a day job, a business to run, a husband and family to love etc… maybe if you told me your name when I introduced myself then I would know who you are!
That’s all Folks!