February 9, 2012

EVENT: 2011 America's Beauty Show

Last March I attended America's Beauty Show. Below is the post I put together to discuss the experience but it somehow slipped through the cracks and never got posted. But, I have it for you guys now and I'm hoping to attend again this year to report back for you. Last year I was more focused on makeup but this year, since I've gone natural, I'm more focused on products geared toward styling, protecting and managing my natural hair. So, hopefully you'll see another ABS post in a few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago I attended America's Beauty Show at McCormick place in Chicago. ABS is a hair, makeup, skincare and nail trade show that takes place every March in Chicago. The show brings together professionals from the Midwest and well beyond for three days of education, competitions, presentations, shopping and networking. I attended all 3 days...and I was blown away! I never expected the show to be so incredible. For some reason I thought it was a small scale Midwest beauty show that would be unremarkable. But, I couldn't have been more wrong. LOL. Here is my experience at the show, broken down by day:

I met up with Vanessa aka Vanewpc for those of you on YouTube. We got to the show around 2:00PM, just in time for the press conference. I walked in and I saw an older gentleman standing off to the side of the room speaking to a couple of people and my immediate thought was, "oh my God. That's Vidal Sassoon." I'm not a hair stylist or even really into hair but I recognized him easily. I didn't say anything because I thought I was wrong and it couldn't possibly be him. Well...it was. The press conference started and the head of ABS introduced Mr. Sassoon. He spoke briefly, not even ten minutes, but he was charming and entertaining and once he was done he quietly walked off to the side and the press conference continued. There was an overview of the history of the show and well as some info on its financials. There were also several awards (you HAVE to see the work done by winner Chrystofer Benson) and a scholarship that were given out. The press conference was about an hour long and when it was over Vanessa and made our way down to the event floor. OMG!! It was bright, loud, crazy, and full of energy. I was sooooo overwhelmed. The majority of the exhibitors were hair companies but there were also cosmetic companies and nail care companies. I saw Paul Mitchell, Vidal Sassoon, CHI, Enzo Milano, Moroccan Oil, Orly, Essie, CND, Jane Carter, Mixed Chicks, Crown Brush, Sun Laboratories, Mehron, Kryolan, Bdellium Tools, American Crew, Hot Tools, Minx...the list goes on and on and on. There were hair cutting and styling demonstrations. There were fashion shows. There were product demonstrations. It was sooo crazy! We had about two hours before the show ended so we crammed in as much as we could but honestly we didn't even see half of the show. After we made our way out of the show we headed downtown to the Cadillac Palace Theater to see a screening of, "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie", the Vidal Sassoon life story. The movie was soooooooo good! If you have a chance to see it when it's released nationwide in June, make it a point to do so. I think I am going to see it again. Vanessa and I ended our night having dinner and that was that.

SUNDAY (Day 2)
Vanessa and I scheduled CND Shellac manicures at 11AM. I loved my manicurist. Her name is Jennifer and she turned out to be one of the educators for CND. She has a blog called Traveling Nail Tech where she shares her experiences during her travels doing education for the company. I was so busy talking to her about her life and about her career that I didn't focus as much on the manicure and asking pertinent questions about the process. #FAIL. But I did manage to snap a couple pics (one with Jennifer's help) to show you part of the process. I have a post coming up talking a little bit more about the experience and showing how the manicure wore over the course of two weeks so stay tuned for that. Vanessa and I wrapped up our manicures and headed to the main event. Today we were joined by Nes from Lyrically Ness. I love her. If it weren't for her I would have missed the show altogether. So THANK YOU, Nes! The three of us stopped by the Bdellium Tools booth. Well, actually Vanessa and I had been by yesterday so we were making a return trip. Daniel and Edward were there representing the company and they were nice and approachable and I finally got a chance to see the Bdellium line in person! We stopped by Amika where Nes had her hair styled. It turned out BEAUTIFULLY. We browsed the Crown Brush booth. I wanted to grab a couple of the things that the nail tech used from CND but naturally they were sold out. To show you how small the world is when I stopped by Medusa's Makeup I saw JoJo Baby. JoJo was my hair stylist when I was a teenager. Vidal Sassoon was also back at the show signing copies of the new book which was an accompaniment to his new film. But I have to say one of the most amazing things we saw was the Hello Gorgeous! booth. Hello Gorgeous! is a "non-profit organization that provides complimentary, professional makeovers and cosmetic education to all women battling all cancers". As it was explained to me, the organization creates an experience for the women by offering spa services via a mobile trailer. Along with the spa services they receive new clothing and are given a small "coming out" party to debut their new look. We stayed at the show until it closed at 5PM so we got in a full day of shopping, walking and talking and then headed home.

MONDAY (Day 3)
This is always the point where I am running on fumes. Three days straight of attending a trade show really runs you down. So, I was realllly dragging today. I finally pulled myself together but I made it to the show right before it ended. I think it was officially over at 5PM but when I got there at about 3PM most of the vendors were breaking down their areas. I was by myself today since both Nes and Vanessa had to work. I did run into Afrobella and Michelle from All Lacquered Upwho were heading out as I made my way in.  Once I got in, I walked around to see if I could find any last minute deals but I really didn't see anything. There were several things that I wanted to pick up the previous two days but decided to put of purchasing them thinking I could always get them "later". Well, when I walked around everything I wanted was just about gone. Oh well. I spent about an hour walking around and then headed out. Nothing eventful. No good deals. Nothing. And that was the end of my ABS experience.

I would highly recommend attending if you are a stylist, makeup artist, esthetician or a nail tech. Even if you are in school right now studying one of those fields you should make a point of going. Make the most of the show and attend the seminars and workshops to learn new techniques or brush on those you already know. There are also classes that focus on the business of beauty. Walk around and take a look at new companies or new products launched by familiar brands. And, at the very least, use the show to network with other professionals from around the midwest and from accoss the country. As I said, I really enjoyed the show. It opened my eyes a lot and I was glad that I got the chance to attend. If you'd like to see more pictures from the event you can visit my Facebook page.


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