Now that I’m back home, and have gotten my three kids back into some semblance of a summer routine, and above all, my feet have finally stopped throbbing from five days of everything Essence Festival 2018, I can finally take some time to answer the question, "How was Essence?"
In short, it was everything and a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce! To survive Essence in the future, I have put together a few tips.
#1. Fuel your Body with Good Food
Our first objective once we landed in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) was to set up our booth and when that was done, we did what everyone else does when visiting NOLA...find some good chew (food), of course.
Eating my Beignet like Princess Tiana made it just for me!
During the trip we had seafood gumbo and jambalaya from Mother's Restaurant, the fried oysters and lobster mac and cheese from Drago's Seafood Restaurant, and beignets from Cafe Du Monde. Don't ask how, but we even managed to get in some Liberian food: fufu and soup, torbogee and rice, and dried rice.
#2. Map Out Your Key Activities
Since vending was my first priority at the Festival, I did not spend enough time initially perusing the calendar of events. It was not until I arrived in NOLA that I truly digested the complexity of the Festival and all the goodness the organizers had put into making it a fulfilling learning and networking event for attendees. In the future, I would definitely read thru and plan more strategically so that Team Afropolitan could have an even fuller experience.
#3. Basks in the Sister-Circle that is Essence
Photo with our first customer at the Festival.
Once the doors to the Festival opened at 9:30am, squads of beautiful women poured in, and our goal was to have every woman that stepped into our space leave looking like a Queen. In order for that to happen, we had to remain present as we engaged women of various ages and curves; we were generally rewarded with smiles and hugs, and that alone made the trek to NOLA worth it.
#4. Always Be [Photo] Ready
In addition to the amazing customers, the celebs in attendance were super gracious and were every where. Pictures were constantly being snapped, whether it was 5 in the morning [don't ask] or at noon.
Top photo with Recording Artist Luke James and the Ladies of Team Afropolitan (L to R: Chelsey Abrams, Pereta J. Richards, Tianna Sherman-Kesselly, Natasha Richardson Wright, Dominique Tolbert); Bottom left photo with Actress from Starz' Power, Naturi Naughton with Afropolitan Brand Ambassadors Natasha Richardson and Pereta Richards; Bottom Right photo with Recording Artist Teyana Taylor
#5. Pack Your Most Vibrant Prints and Comfy Shoes
Whether day or night, I found we were always on the go in NOLA, and traffic, at times, was bananas. I quickly learned that while it was essential to look cute and photo ready, I also needed to be ready for anything so I always had a secret pair of flats in my bag ~ don't judge me!
In all, the Festival was an incredible experience, and Team Afropolitan felt blessed to have contributed to the sister-circle of Essence. From the Afropolitan team of first friends, to the two gentlemen who nudged me into making this chapter of the Afropolitan Diary happen, to the familiar faces that stopped by and brought the comfort of home to this journey, thank you.
See more pictures and learn more about our experience at Essence by visiting: The Style & Life Lounge by Afropolitan.