12 September 2017

Namibia: SMEs Shine At Natural Hair and Beauty Expo

The third annual Natural Hair and Beauty Expo was an African fashion affair with visitors going all out to look their best to match the theme.

The expo, which is in its third year running, took place at the International University of Management (IUM)'s Dorado Park campus in Windhoek on Saturday.

Vendors also made sure to look their best as like the visitors, they too stood a chance to walk away with prizes for being the 'best dressed' at the expo.

One of the founders of the expo, Zodidi Gaseb expressed joy at the turnout, saying that more visitors attended and the amount of vendors also increased. "We invited all our previous vendors but unfortunately some could not make it. We still had a few more vendors than previous years and judging from the money we collected at the entrance, we definitely had more visitors this time around," she said.

The expo attracted not only local entrepreneurs but also international businesses such as The Perfect Hair, a South African company that launched their products at the expo. International men's grooming company Wahl was also present, something Gaseb said was significant given the aim of attracting more men to the event.

"We got some good feedback from those who attended, with some people saying that we've grown in terms of entertainment value and the amount of vendors. People now want to be associated with the expo because our quality went up," Gaseb added.

The expo attracted new vendors who were excited to be part of the event for the first time. Selma Shipanga from O'Nature said that the expo was a huge platform to showcase their product. "We found it to be a very great platform for business. We did quite well and we encourage other SMEs to take part next year," she said. Shipanga said that O'Nature will definitely be back at the expo next year.

She added that apart from the opportunity to market your products at the expo, vendors also get access to all the activities at the event. "The different talks on how to style and care for natural hair were very interesting. This was all very empowering for us as vendors," she said.

Musical entertainment was provided by Micheal Pulse, Blend and a group of youths from the Physically Active Youth (PAY) after school programme. A panel discussion featuring four bloggers and influencers also took place, with panelists giving their thoughts on the topic 'Beauty Within'.

For those who wanted to learn more about the maintenance of their natural locks, on site tutorials took place with various speakers offering tips about growing and styling healthy hair.

"We're very thankful to everyone who came through and to all our sponsors. At the end of the day, they have helped us continue to have a space to celebrate our rich diversity and also give a platform to encourage our entrepreneurs to help push the economy forward," Gaseb said.

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