Attending a makeup trade show is one of the ultimate experiences for a geeky makeup nerd (or a nerdy makeup geek?). The booths, the colors, the brushes! I spent a couple of hours over the weekend at IMATS NYC, soaking up the atmosphere and checking out all the pretties and shinies, and admiring the work of some of the pro makeup artists who demonstrated their techniques.
IMATS, as well as other similar shows, is geared first and foremost towards makeup artists and industry pros. However, anyone can buy tickets and be there, shop and attend the open events. Some of the exhibitors are well-known to the general public (Stila, Nyx, Inglot and others), while others are niche brands and those who focus on selling tools and products to makeup artists. For me, it's all about the latter, as I have an Inglot store at my local mall, and no amount of gorgeous colors (see below) or discount could make me brave the mob and the lines to buy. I had to fight my way just to be able to swatch, and I can tell you that I'll soon be paying the store at Garden State Plaza a visit. Just look at the taupes:
A wonderful aspect of IMATS is the direct access one gets to the brands' experts. The booths are staffed with knowledgeable reps who are able to present, explain and consult you on their products and their uses. It's especially rewarding when it comes to brands that are mostly available online. I had an excellent experience with Eve Pearl's people, not to mention that it was the first time I got to see the entire line in its full.
Most of all, I was there for the brushes. IMATS and similar shows are heaven for those of us who love makeup tools. It's fascinating to see the range of brands, examine them closely and sometimes realize who makes private label brushes for whom. I came with a shopping list and stuck to it religiously, even when facing the pretty and efficient Bdellium brushes in all their yellow and green glory. My one unplanned purchase was at the aDesign counter; Not only was I highly impressed with their brushes, but I also found a bigger sibling for a favorite Trish McEvoy brush (details, photos, and review soon).
Hakuhodo was semi-hidden in a far corner of the Pier 94 hangar. Most of the visitors to their booth didn't wander there by chance: we all knew what we were doing there. The muffled squees of pleasure and sighs of contentment were telling. For many of us, Hakuhodo is brush heaven. Seeing the precious beautifully arranged, not to mention the special brushes that are exclusive to the trade shows (J series) was the best part of the day.
IMATS shows are a yearly occurrence in major cities (New York, Los Angeles, London, Vancouver, Toronto and London). The public can buy tickets for one or two of the show's days, while professional makeup artists can also attend workshops and lectures. I was provided with a free press pass by IMATS PR.