I remember as a little girl hearing commercials for the Southern Woman’s Show and I always wondered what it was about. What exactly goes on there? What do you do there? Is it fun? Cut to about 20 years later and I got my chance to attend and finally get an answer to all my burning questions thanks to the wonderful folks who are in charge of the Southern Woman’s Show in Richmond; they graciously invited me to experience all three days of the event.
Things kicked off Friday morning but unfortunately because of work, I was unable to attend but I got plenty of rest that night so I could get up bright and early for Saturday. As I entered the room, I was greeted by ton’s of smiling faces and the most helpful staff that wanted to ensure right from the start I was having a great time. The two big things I wanted to catch was a Meet and Greet and a Fashion Show; I was able to get a sneak peek of the show the night before and I was excited to see it in it’s full glory! I arrived a little early for the Meet and Greet so while I killed time I took a picture on the chair from the Voice; this was set up by NBC 12 and was a cool way to start my Southern Woman’s Show experience. After about 20 minutes it was time for the Meet and Greet with Keegan Allen from the show “Pretty Little Liars”. Now I have to be honest; I had no clue who he was and I’d never seen a single episode of his show lol, but it was cool to meet him non the less.
After meeting him I was off to explore the over 200 vendors the Southern Woman’s Show had to offer. Walking into the actual room was a bit overwhelming. With vendors at every turn, I was unsure of where to begin so I kinda just stood there to focus and get my bearing. After a few minutes of aimlessly walking around I found myself back outside and in front of the Chevy Test Drive booth. I was approached by a Chevy rep and asked if I wanted to take a test drive…ummm yes; the Camero please but as I was filling out the information I realized my drivers license was in the car lol, so I told them I would come back once I got it. Upon going back inside the carefully curated jungle, I was approached by a Dillard’s Rep who asked if I wanted a makeup consultation. I’m not a makeup gal, but I said “Why not?!” and added my name to the list. It was going to be a 45 min wait so I left to find more vendors to visit. Right behind the Dillard’s booth was Richmond Magazine and after looking through this months issue, I decided to get a subscription and as a gift I got a cool picture of Scott’s Addition! Then it was off for more walking and exploring until I stumbled across a massage table; and after about 30 minutes of walking in heels I needed one! Full disclosure, I saw this same massage table at a Health Fair I was a part of and I was unable to get a massage due to time constraints; I took this as a sign and quickly added my name to the list. After about a 15 min wait, it was my turn for an assessment and then my massage; the BEST. MASSAGE. EVER. might I add!
The second my massage was done, it was time for my makeup consultation. I don’t wear make-up, so I let the rep use her professional eye and it came out beautifully! Once I got home and ready for bed, I was sad to wash it all off. Before closing out day one, I sat back and enjoyed an amazing fashion show hosted by CEO Magazine! It was AMAZING and I was blown away by the amazing fashion designers RVA has! I found myself styling each piece as it came down the runway; wanting each to be added to my personal collection. After the fashion show, I made my way to the Clothes Mentor booth and fell in love with an MCM bag and a pair of shades. I saw a few items that I felt needed a new home in my closet but I exercised restraint. And that’s a wrap! I have to say after my first day of exploring, I was beat and I still had more to vendors to go. I made a b-line for the front door but not before a few samples of crab dip and scratch made cookies then out to the parking lot with my keys in hand headed for home.
Sunday I came armed with a crew; my mother, sister, son and nephew. After Saturday I knew I would need back up to tackle the rest of the vendors! My mother and I arrived first and were greeted by Miss Virginia who insisted on taking a picture with us. My mother is not a fan of pictures and she was able to convince her to join in all the fun and I took plenty of notes!! We then made our way to our first vendor booth of the day Ichiakor Designs. She hand-makes a beautiful collection of purses, neckties and headbands made out of the most stunning African fabric. Her clutches were a mixture of fabric and soft leather and the inside was lined with contrasting prints; I literally wanted to buy everything! Next to her was Amourable Art who made a cool collection of mugs and prints using water colors. I was immediately drawn the print of R2-D2; my son is a HUGE Star Wars fan and I knew I had to get it for him. As we made our way through the booth, I saw the mother load; DARTH VADAR mugs and a STORM TROOPER!! These cups were so amazing and I knew my son would want all he had! I made plans to bring him back to pick out and cup and before we left the owner showed us a mug that had Princess Lea on the front and it said “I Love You” and Luke on the back responding “I Know”….did you just tear up???
Before we made our way to the next vendor my sister, son and nephew arrived and we went outside to greet them and what was looking at me…that blue Camero! My sister must have read my mind because she was at the booth registering for a test drive! We wanted to ride as a family and it was suggested that we test drive the new Tahoe. OMG, this truck was the best! It was so good my son offered to get a job to help me make the monthly car payments lol! After the test ride we ate a little lunch and enjoyed a great conversation with one of the Chevy reps who was on her lunch break. She was so nice and you could tell she really loved her job as a rep and as a middle school Math teacher for a local school district. The kids were left with a few life lessons and then it was off to explore again!
We first stopped at Fancy Gears. It was sort of like Lego’s but they moved and my son wanted to get them all! One quick turn we were at Origami Owl, jewelry you are able to customize with charms. This company was started by a 15 year old girl; yes you head me right, and its amazing! I was so focused on the jewelry, my family walked off and I had no clue. I found them walking and looking for the next vendor to visit. My sister found the Dillard’s booth and wanted to make a quick pit stop so she could try out some new scents. While she was checking out the new scents, I walked over to Marla Rene. I was drawn to the scents; a mixture of Mocha Madness, Oatmeal Honey and Goatmilk Vanilla Sugar. There was a wide variety of all natural products and everything was put together wonderfully. Yet another booth where I was lost in the all the products. This was the first booth where I purchased something; a small bar of soap formulated for babies. My cousin is expecting in November and this will be added to her gift basket! We made our way through the maze of vendors, sneaking a peak at the items they had for sale as we walked by until we came across Pain Free Pillow. My nephew was the first to test the product out, followed by my sister, mother and son. Everyone was quite and I could’t understand why until I tried it myself and it was like magic; the pillow vibrated!! With all the exploring we had been doing, it was hard to pull us away from this booth but we managed and walked over to Enise. I was blown away with how stunning each piece was but I kept coming back to an “evil eye” piece and I will need to add this to my collection! I had a short chat with the owner who showed me pictures of all her celebrity clients; Will I AM, Gladys Knight and Patty La Belle!
This is the point where my family left me to finish exploring solo and as I walked to find new vendors to visit, I came across a massage table! This was different one from yesterday and of course I had to indulge myself! After a quick recharge, I took what I assumed was going to be my final lap through the vendors. As I walked, I spied a lot of people walking through a door that seemed to lead somewhere. The feeling of FOMO took over and I followed the crowed and glad thing I did because it was a WHOLE OTHER ROOM of vendors!!!! How did I manage to miss this?!!? As I made my way through a new jungle of curated vendors, I wanted to see if I could find The Social Pop-Up. I’d been looking for this booth for the past two days with no luck. In a matter of moments, I found them and after a brief chat I was off to explore once more. I walked for a few seconds until I came upon the Barefoot Wine booth….need I say more lol! I took a few samples of wine and made my way to explore more vendors. As I walked I was in awe of everything I was seeing; beautiful artwork, handmade jewelry and clothing all loving crafted by each vendor. You can tell that the individuals who created these things pour there heart and souls into it and you can feel the love they have for creating vibrating from each piece.
My next stop was a visit to the Food Lion Stage where I was picked to be a contestant on their version of “Chopped!” I was chosen to pick one of the ingredients for the chefs to create a meal, I went for Grapefruit and the chefs were not happy but when they found out the mystery ingredient was Nutella they welcomed my choice! After fifteen minutes I was able to sample the dishes; dish one was a Chocolate BBQ Steak with Brown Rice sauteed with Squash with a slice of Grapefruit on top. Dish two was a Spicy Chocolate Rubbed Steak with sauteed Squash and Grapefruit Salad. Dish one was the winner with a score of 2-1 and after that I was ready to finish up my day. As I was leaving I can across a booth where a cute little couple were selling bath salts and scrubs. The woman cheerfully asked if I wanted to try a scrub mixture and after smelling the scents that were for sale I went with Peppermint. She took me over to a small sink and as she let me test the product you could hear the pride in her voice as she told me all of the great things it would do for my skin. Her husband then appeared, gave me a smile and asked “Well how do you like it??” I replied “It’s great. I love it” and he game me a wink. I remembered I had $20 SWS bucks to spend so I used it to purchase a Lavender scented scrub and left.
Before my weekend got started, Jennifer who serves as the publicist for the Southern Woman’s Show said to me that this show was made up of creatives who love what they do and want to share it with the world; I agree. There was always a personal story behind why each vendor sold their product; a woman selling cookies using a recipe she loved as a child that her grandmother passed to her, a woman who designed jewelry pieces because she wasn’t fining any that she liked in stores or the woman who made skincare products using products that she loved. I was a feeling in the air that could not be duplicated. An intense sense of pride and love for creating. After 20 years I finally got an answer to my questions and ironically another one was added to my list….when will the show be back?
HUGE thanks to the SWS Richmond staff for the hospitality over the weekend!
I was gifted a three day pass to experience the SWS. As always opinions are my own.
Thanks for supporting me and Minnie collaborations!