Why I love doing events (and why you should come to them, too!)

Wednesday, 7th October

I was mooching about in the kitchen at lunchtime looking for something to eat, opening and closing the fridge waiting for something to materialize. I heard the chime on my phone go off - it was an email. I opened it and it was an event organizer inviting me to showcase my henna at an event. Now here's an opportunity I don't want to miss! I'd already formulated a plan in my head of how I'm going to scream over other people to attract them to my booth. Maybe I'd need glittery signs - or maybe a massive feathery headdress. It didn't matter...I was eager to do this event! Some of the emails I receive make me say, "unngghhh, not today, maybe some other time..." Usually I take my own sweet time to decide whether or not I want to do this, but for this one I didn't even deliberate - I paid my booth fee that very same day.

Here are 10 reasons why I felt so confident to pay my event fees so quickly:
- The email was worded very well; no awful spelling or punctuation
- The venue's a very popular one (Victoria Country Club)
- Date and time of event was clear
- When I did my background research (oh yes I did!) there was already a buzz about the event, and it was hugely popular across social networks
- The event organiser made the effort to find out what business I was in, and what skills I had to offer, addressed me by my first name, and told me about an event that was relevant to me
- I didn't get the feeling she wanted to take something from me and leave me empty-handed
- When I got in touch with her, she was confident and answered all my questions, and listened to my requests
- She didn't demand my money or personal info
- I didn't need convincing to be a part of the event
- It didn't sound too good to be true (because if it does, it probably is).

Sweet, the deal was done - I signed up to be a proud vendor at PMB's very first OnFleek Market!

Sunday, 25 October

When I arrived, I fully expected there to be hundreds of stalls in the scorching sun, displays swinging, mosquitoes abuzz (it was overcast by the time I got there...I was already wishing I was wearing something other than a sleeveless punjabi). I took a turn into the room on my right, hoping to find someone to ask where the market was...and I saw this.

Elegance, class, reverence, A CIVILIZATION. Those were the words that jumped to mind the moment I stepped foot into the room. It was feet felt like they were glued to the floor, and I didn't even realize I looked like a deer in headlights, holding my bags and massive tray until the event organiser greeted me and introduced herself.

Event organiser 1: "Lydi! Hi, I'm Avnitha...I recognised you because you've got your mehndi with you. Come this way, your stall's right over here - ohhh guys, you can't be at this table!"
Event organiser 2: "Sorry! We won't be much longer..."

I didn't even mind. This was amazing. (Avnitha's the event organiser I contacted).

Trish, Keziah and Avnitha; the three event organisers. Trish: "See that table over there? Yeah to the left of that will be an AWESOME henna table." I'm guessing the conversation went like that ;)

I proceeded to set up my table; my hands were shaking because I was so nervous. I had a few designs on 3 sheets of black paper so people could choose on the spot instead of spending time flipping through pages of portfolio designs. Each design would take 5 minutes or less. For the first hour or so (9am - 10am) it was quiet; a few people were there already and were just browsing around. My first customer was Kristy Lee, a beautiful photographer (you can see her to the left of the pink-wrapped pillar in my first pic). She's familiar with henna and she's had it done before...she even came back for a second round!

My second customer loved this design by Blooming Lotus Henna (the glittery design on my display is a popular Gulf design; I'm not sure who the original artist is.)

By 11am, the crowd started to thicken a bit, and by 12pm my table was fully circled and there were plenty of people watching. The third event organiser, Trish, said, "Lucky, let me come quickly and get my henna done; just now you'll be so busy and I'm afraid you might run out of mehndi cones!" (Don't stress; I'll always have extra mehndi!) She expressed her concerns about the safety of her baby (and rightly so) as she was pregnant and in her 3rd trimester. It was all systems go because I made a very mild mix.

Are you pregnant and wondering if it's safe to do so? 6 important tips:

- Your pregnancy mustn't be high-risk.
- You've got to be in your 3rd trimester (last 3 months).
- You're not supposed to have henna over scar tissue, so a belly blessing's out if there are too many scars there. You can have henna anywhere else though! 
- If your henna artist can't list EVERY ingredient in their paste, tell 'em sorry, wrong number.
- If your artist even offers black henna or instant mehndi...RUN. AS FAST AS YOU CAN.
- Overall, take the normal precautions that you would for a normal appointment, but you've got to ask your doctor about it. You might have developed sensitivities during your pregnancy that you didn't have before. (Or you may be one of those people who can withstand heat, light, noise, and very large crowds. Good on you.)

I mix only the safest mehndi; it's 100% certified organic.

There was lots of fun to be had.

2pm arrived and I finished about 20 people, and I desperately needed something to eat. I was eyeing the cupcake stand right at the end of the room, and I remembered I carried sandwiches just in case. I didn't want to leave my table unattended, but this didn't look like the kind of market where someone would run off with your stuff. Tigress Jewellery was right by the door and I know nobody dared to try and take anything because even though the girls were dressed to the nines, they looked like they could pack a mean punch ;)
I finished my sandwiches in short bursts, and my table had customers from start to finish. The second event organiser, Keziah, had both her hands done...I'm glad because I had more time to finish doing mehndi for her, as well as the last few people.

At the end of the day, Avnitha said, "Did you know, you didn't even catch a break! Your table had customers non-stop." More than half my aftercare pamphlets and business cards were gone, and I carried a lot. (Yay!)

My table, and Tigress Jewellery's table were the last to pack up and leave. The event left such an amazing and lasting impression on me, and all our customers left completely satisfied...I can't wait to be a part of their team again.

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The main reason why I think checkerboards are lousy

Don't get me wrong. I love checkerboards! They're a striking part of a design, and often the element around which the entire design is built.

However, I don't prefer them on my palms. Here's why.

We've all got lined palms; line of life, heart, marriage, children, etc. On some hands, they look like delicate lines drawn by the angels themselves. On others, however, they look like jackhammered cracks in a pavement. Can you guess which category mine fall in? ;)

For example, have a look at these lines. They plough straight through the board and leave massive cracks that ruin the effect, and that's putting it lightly. I'd suggest it to be on the tops of your hands instead of your palms if your lines of life, etc. aren't so deeply engraved into your hand, mainly because the cracks themselves and the immediate skin surrounding them don't stain well, if at all.

If you're a bride to be and you love the checkerboards and you're blessed with smooth hands front and back, I'd say go for it. Otherwise (like me), opt for them on the smoother, less lined skin on the tops of your hands.

This beauty inspires me all the time. She's the owner of Henna Lounge.

I wanted to show this to you to demonstrate how much smoother the design looks here (done on the same day as the checkerboard design); the colour is uniform because it's a jackhammer-crack-free zone. I just love this design and I didn’t even want to modify the original too much; normally I’m a person who prefers their entire hand covered in henna, but this one has beauty in its simplicity.

Strangely enough, I feel for a game of checkers. How about you?

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