A few hours past dawn on Sunday morning, a long flowing stream of people lined the entrance way to the Virginia Beach Convention Center for early morning registration. The soulful sounds of Eric Taylor’s gospel violin drew crowds into the ballroom to commence the festivities. People gathered by the stage to hear the names of Influance’s all-star team of educators being called out like a starting line-up at the NBA Finals. Music pumped as Al Kelly, Shameka Anderson, Fawnne Smith, Kendell Ferebee, Jennifer Smith, Imani Whiteside, April Toliver-Wilkins, Latoya Dailey, Cindy Pierce, Karen Brace and Tynisha Barnes ran up to the platform to greet the audience. After a few inspiring words from Influance’s founder and CEO Rudolph Artis, it was time for Influance Hair Care’s National Education Symposium 2018 to begin. 

Color Matters

At 9:00 am eager students and stylists made their way through the expansive halls and corridors to their classrooms. Chromatic hews filled every corner, with Influance colors stocking every shelf: red alert, tangerine, so silver, emerald, purple rain, plum, yellow passion, blue magic, magenta and white paint. Sales representatives, educators, staff and models alike repped their rainbow printed shirts reading this year’s symposium theme: color matters. 

Many people were excited about this year’s focus on color. Annie Harriston from Danville, Va elaborated on why color matters to her, “It gives a new life to people that come into the salon, and if they want to do something new then that color (Influance’s Semi and Demi-Permanent Color Line) is going to bring our clients to another level.” Cratina Webb with Girl Talk Hair Salon out of Dallas, Texas has participated in NES for ten years. At this year’s symposium, she particularly enjoyed her color placement class with Lajoya, “LaJoya is AMAZING, I just love color, she just makes me love color. When we get back to my salon, I’m going to play with color all day.”

What NES Means to Me

Until 4:00 pm people continued to weave in and out of various classes to get their fill of knowledge on the following topics: blonding, grey coverage, color placement, color gone bad, trichology, custom wigs, natural hair, business, hands-on, color melting, product knowledge, and many more. In between class time a few friends, teachers and students stopped by video and photo booths to pose together for a few pics and share what NES means to them. 

Jasmine and Gabbie with the Hair Palace Salon in Alabama said they were bringing back new skills with them to their salons. Jasmine said it was Tynisha’s cutting class that left an impact on her weekend, “I had a cutting class with a stylist out of Atlanta, and she taught the class WELL, so well that I am definitely taking everything she showed us back with me to my salon.” Gabbie learned a new skill in her natural hair class, “Fawnne taught the natural class, and she showed us this new rod setting technique I had never seen before that I will certainly be using.”

People raved about their favorite classes, teachers, and especially the products that kept them coming back to NES every year. Raquel of Chesapeake, VA shared with us her favorite products, “I love the honey almond line the multiplex conditioner is great too the colors are awesome everything is awesome the colors are vibrant, but my favorite is the honey almond line.” Kimberly Stennett of Stennett Studio said, “One thing about Influance is it’s a one-stop shop. I have various clients that are natural, or have braids, or are relaxed, and so on and so forth. I don’t have to go to another place to get different products for different clients. My clients keep coming back for that Influance treatment, and Influance is an exclusive line so it won’t be going anywhere.”

Looking Ahead

The one thing everyone kept saying through the course of the three-day extravaganza was, “I can’t wait for next year!” So don’t sleep on NES 2019, stay tuned for early bird ticket sales and stay up to date on Influance events by following us on Facebook @Influanceus and Instagram @Influancehaircare1