IMATS: The Disneyland of Makeup, Part 1

The International Makeup Artist Trade Show – Los Angeles (IMATS-LA) took place in Pasadena, CA over MLK weekend. IMATS is the Super Bowl for beauty bloggers and YouTube gurus. For me, it is a trip to the Disneyland of makeup!

IMATS is the world’s biggest gathering of makeup artists, cosmetics companies, and YouTube beauty gurus.  Each year professional makeup artists, vendors, and makeup enthusiasts like you and me convene in Los Angeles,  New York, London, Vancouver, Sydney, and Toronto to discuss, display, and shop for all things related to makeup. Oscar and Emmy award-winning superstar makeup artists conduct lectures and demonstrations, and companies début new products.  There are also special effects makeup demonstrations and exhibits that are a fantasy come to life.

You may have seen YouTube videos produced primarily by twenty and thirty-something beauty gurus and think that this is an event geared toward the younger demographic.  You could not be more wrong.  Yes, the attendees are definitely predominantly under 40, but this event is relevant and fun for makeup lovers of all ages.  In fact, the mature participant has a HUGE advantage.  Here’s why:

1.      Vendors take you seriously and are responsive to the makeup and skin care concerns of the 50+ woman.  

Salespeople for popular brands like MAC and Makeup Forever are trying to help as many people as they can quickly and efficiently, so they aren’t going to waste your time selling you something that you don’t want or need (e.g. blue or purple lipstick) and those with the bargain brands are trying to move into the mature demographic.  The vendor’s goal is to identify as many of their products that meet your needs (or those of your clients) and sell them to you as quickly as possible.  That being said, you should know that not once did I ever feel rushed or pressured into purchasing something that did not work for me.  This leads me to my next point…

2.     Vendors recognize that you are willing to pay for quality.

I love a $.99 lipstick as much as the next woman but, more often than not, you do get what you pay for, and the 50+ woman is willing to pay the price for beauty and convenience.  Salespeople at IMATS know that you are not the typical attendee.  The typical attendee is trying to acquire as many items as they can as cheaply as possible.  Vendors recognize that the mature customer looks for products that perform well, typically has more resources, and is willing to pay a premium for outstanding performance.  This leads me to point three….

3.     Vendors recognize that you are their BEST customer.

Every salesperson at IMATS knows that you will be a repeat customer if the product meets your needs and lives up to your expectations.  Have you ever made a department store purchase only to get home and not remember how to use the product?  Have you tried to recreate a look or effect to find that it doesn’t look like it did when the salesperson applied it?  This will not happen to you at IMATS.  The purpose of the event is for you to learn about and try products.  Although the goal of the event is to sell makeup and related products, it is really about education and establishing customer relationships. I did not meet one company representative who tried to rush me or force a sale. Most vendors believe that you will buy their products if you try them out and know how to use them properly.  They also believe that you are more likely to be a repeat customer and recommend their products when you know the techniques for obtaining consistently good results.

To be honest, when I inventoried my IMATS purchases each evening, I may not have recalled exactly how the item got into my bag (shoppers amnesia?), but I definitely knew how to use every product I purchased…even the $200 Temptu airbrush machine that I just HAD to own!  The salesperson wouldn’t conclude our transaction until I had completed my foundation, blush, and highlighter application to her satisfaction.  Her patience was rewarded with an additional $50 or so in “add-ons”.  I love my new airbrush machine, I know how to use it, and I’ll recommend it to others.  Everybody wins!

4.     Vendors treat you with respect.

You might think it odd to mention, but it is relevant.  Because you might be 30-40 years older than the typical participant, vendors and other event staff treat you with heightened deference that often results in a tip on a good sale or a discount code.

Frankly, vendors are grateful for the calm that is you in the sea of craziness.  For example, my desire for (yet another) neutral eye shadow palette or a concealer that doesn’t settle into wrinkles was a welcomed change from inquiries about neon hued eye shadow and electric blue lipstick….and often rewarded with an additional discount, extra samples, or a 2-for-1 deal on the item I just purchased.

5.      Products you love are available at discounted prices.

Famous brands are available at least 20% off Sephora, Ulta, or department store prices.  Vendors include:

MAC                                                    Inglot

Makeup Forever                               NYX Cosmetics

Anastasia Beverly Hills                      Naked Cosmetics

Eve Pearl (50% off)                              ….and more

In Part 2 of this series, I will review logistics:  Getting there, where to stay, the lines, and the deals.  If you can’t wait, check out EmilyNoel83’s “My First IMATS” vlog below.  If you have questions, please leave a comment.

Until next time!