In today's post I will discuss my very first IMATS experience. At the end, I'll share some of my overall thoughts on the event and list some tips for those of you who may want to attend some day.
IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show) is a huge event where tons of makeup vendors sell their products for discounts that can range anywhere from 10% to 60% or more. There are events in LA, London, Canada, and Australia (I'm really hoping one day it will come to Boston!). It's geared towards makeup artists but makeup obsessed people like myself can also attend. IMATS runs over 3 days with Friday being reserved for makeup professionals and Saturday and Sunday being "general admission". Tanya and I decided to go on both Saturday and Sunday.
The venue was Pier 94 in NYC which is a huge warehouse type building. The vendors each had a booth, some were huge and some had just a a few tables with their products. IMATS was crazy crowded but for the most part it was pretty organized. I had a bad vision that there would be so many makeup obsessed women there SHOPPING, that it would be complete mayhem (like Black Friday with pushing, swearing, cutting in lines, etc.) but it really wasn't. Everyone was friendly, nice, and not angry. Yes, we were all annoyed at the lines but everyone was respectful.
We got in line about an hour before doors opened on both days and there was already hundreds of women there with the same idea.
Once they started letting people in, the line went pretty quickly. We got in, in about 30 minutes and once inside it was pretty organized so the check-in process was only a few minutes. This was the check-in area in the afternoon.
Bdellium Tools - 40% IMATS discount
Tarte - Big discounts - blushes and mascaras were $10, most eye shadow palettes were $20
Sugar Pill - mostly sell glitter
Inglot - Not sure of the discount but the famous #77 gel eye liner which is regularly $14 was discounted to $10.
Morphe Brushes - The discount varied. Eye shadows were not discounted (they are regularly $2 anyways), while brushes were discounted though I'm not sure the extent.
Morphe's line was insane through the day. It was up against the wall of the outer perimeter of the venue. It was easily 2-3 hours by 11 or 12:00. However once you got to the booth, it was very organized.
Dose of Colors had a line that wrapped around the big booth and a line inside the booth to pay and a place off to the side to play with the products.
Violet Voss - mainly sells glitters
Sigma had a HUGE line if you didn't go there first thing in the morning. They had a separate area where you got to look at and play with the items and THEN once you knew what you wanted, you got in the long line to pay. In line they gave you a booklet where you indicate what products you want and you tell the cashier as you're paying and they grab the items for you. Sadly, I didn't know this until we got to the cashier area so I didn't get to see which eye shadow palette I wanted so I only got some brushes and the brush cleaning matt.
Every time I walked by Stila there was either no line or a tiny line.
Stila's gold packaged eye shadow palettes (sorry, I don't know what they're called) were on sale 4 for $100 or 1 for $30 which is amazing since they are regularly $49. I had every intention of getting one but when I swatched them, they didn't impress me at all. The cheaper palettes were $20 but swatches of those didn't impress me either.
Anastasia Beverly Hills had a long line throughout most of the day. I heard that only their brow products were on sale. I probably would have braved the line if their liquid lipsticks or new glosses were discounted.
City Color Cosmetics - The discounts varied but everything was super cheap.
Makeup Forever - 40% discount for makeup professionals, 20% off for us regular folk. Eye shadows were 50% off for everyone.
Throughout the venue there were areas where you could watch makeup artists creating beautiful and fun looks.
There was a section that had actual masks and props from horror movies and tv shows. Viewer discretion is advised. :)
Overall I had a blast at IMATS NY! Here are some observations and tips:
1. Tickets are $60/day and if you want to go both Saturday and Sunday, there is no discount. It's $120 which I think is absolutely rediculous.
2. I personally went not only for the makeup discounts but also for the "IMATS experience". As a blogger I hear and see so much about it so I was dying to go. If you are going to IMATS only for the discount, then I suggest that you really think on it. You are paying $60 just to go, so you better be buying enough stuff that your discounts add up to more than $60. Not to mention if you have to travel to get to the event.
3. Yes, the lines are crazy. The last time I saw lines like these was at an amusement park! I read a lot about IMATS before I went so I knew to expect the long lines. My advice is to hit the most popular booths and/or the booth you most want to go to first thing in the morning. On Saturday we ran to Sigma and only stood in line for 30 minutes. On Sunday we ran to Morphe and same deal. Later in the day, both of those booths had lines that were hours long. Also if you're there with a friend, while you're waiting in line, you should take turns walking around and take note of what other booths you want to hit up later. And if those booths don't have lines, then go ahead and make your purchases while your friend is waiting for you in the crazy line!
4. Wear the most comfortable shoes you own, but not flip flops because you may get stepped on at some of the busier booths. Seriously, go for function over fashion at IMATS, especially on your feet. I wore flat boots which I've had for 2 years which had never hurt me. After IMATS I wanted to burn them. I don't think my feet have ever been so sore! It felt like someone was punching the bottom of my foot with each step!
5. Get to the venue early. We got there an hour before the doors opened and I think that served us well.
6. Take a look at the vendor list before going. You want to have an idea of your "must visit" booths and what products you would like to buy from each.
7. Check out the lesser known brands. That is my one regret. Everything I purchased was from big brands that I already know and love.
Ok, I hope you enjoyed reading about my overall IMATS NY experience! Did you go? Have you ever gone? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Don't forget to check out my haul from IMATS here!
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