It didn't fill up the entire Tampa Convention Center, but a steady flow of people kept the exhibition hall of the Mane Stream Hair and Beauty Expo buzzing.
In every corner there were different stylists and product marketers demonstrating their techniques and wares aimed at improving all who would learn.
"Basically, we wanted to bring professionalism back to the industry," said Micheline Barber, owner of Tampa's award winning M Salon 1 and one of the event's organizers. "This event was about education."
The two-day expo and hair show drew more than 2,700 people into downtown Tampa on Oct. 27 and 28 to learn from celebrity stylist Kim Kimble of WE tv's L.A. Hair and master colorist Sherry Ratay, and offered dozens of other education courses from nail art to hair weaving to help advance the salon owners, stylists and students in attendance. Barber and her partner had traveled to other cities for hair expos and decided that it was time to create an expo geared toward learning the industry, rather than just showcasing the trends.
The mentorlike mission statement helped the conference bring the star stylists to town.
"We sold them our vision of what the expo was about," Barber said. "Especially Kim Kimble, she really liked our message of professionalism."
Attendees mostly learned of the expo through an Instagram, Facebook and tweets from the instructors who had signed to the event.
People came from as far as Alaska, Barber said.
A woman from Oklahoma raised her hand in the back on Kimble's master class and asked if she could take a picture with the celebrity hair stylist.
She told Kimble she'd come to Tampa specifically to see Kimble.
"I'm blessed and I know where my blessing comes from," said Kimble, stylist to stars such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Mary J. Blige. "It's such an honor to get to do what I love."
Ratay received similar love as fans of her color work came to her presentation on how to make certain shades and determine what's best for a client.
"You have to color for the level of commitment the client has," Ratay said. "A 16-year-old girl is not going to want to be colored once a month and her parents aren't going to want that expense. As a stylist, you have to know your client."
Angelique Duncan , 29, a stay-at-home mother from Tampa, got a call asking her to hair-model for Kimble's master class on Sunday.
Duncan sat patiently on the stage decked out in cape, as she waited for Kimble to finish her lecture and Q&A. When the time came, Kimble whipped out her personally branded hot razor and began trimming Duncan's extensions into a shag — a punk-rock pixie cut with long sideburns and a tail. The crowd was awed by the speed and precision and Duncan marveled at the results.
"Recently, I've seen Rihanna go back to this look, the shag, and I think it's going to be a big trend for hair in 2014," Kimble told the group.
Now Duncan gets to be on the cutting edge of a trend.
Barber hopes that the shag isn't the only lasting thing to emerge from Mane Stream.
Plans are already under way to host the event again next year in October or November.
"I love teaching in Tampa. It was an outstanding experience. I love Tampa, period," Barber said. "I feel like we have the opportunity to grow next year. The attendance was great. The classes were really packed. I've traveled all over to teach but there is nothing like being home."