2013 marks our first visit to the International Make-up Artists Trade Show, or as it is commonly known on the blogosphere, IMATS. We made the trip up to London, got up at the crack of dawn to experience the wonders of the famed trade show, and thought we'd give you a guided tour of our day.
As neither of us are in possession of a pro card, we weren't able to attend the Friday evening MUA only event, (although we are both students, so got a discount on the entrance price - which was £35 for one day) but were eager to snap up the bargains so decided to attend the Saturday and get there for when the event opened, which was a brisk 8:30am. We arrived at the right time as there was still a queue we had to join, but it doubled in size in a wee 5 minutes, luckily the folks of IMATS have got it down and it moved surprisingly quickly, and we were inside. A very good point to make on IMATS which we learnt very quickly, most stalls do not get any more stock, so when it's gone, it's gone, so if you're there for a few certain products, we'd recommend you getting there as early as you can. We were also surprised as to how busy it actually was, Kensington National Hall is massive and was was brimming with MUAs and beauty enthusiasts alike, the atmosphere was a nice one too, everyone was very polite, and patient, although getting yourself in front of the tester you'd like to try is a bit of a pain! Devise yourself a strategy, whether it is pick up the products you really want to try out but it's hard for you to get hold of, critically acclaimed products, or just your favourite brand. Another thing to think about is what you're going to eat and drink whilst you're there. A bottle of coke was priced at a hefty £2.50 so bring plenty of provisions with you to get you through the day.
There is a massive range of products available at the trade show, with a huge range of beauty hall vendors, brush vendors as well as prosthetics specialists selling stage make-up too, so whatever you're there for, you'll be able to pick it up, and may get it for a discount too! Discounts range from vendor to vendor, we managed to get 35% off at the MAC Pro stand, and NARS was a whopping 60% off, with deals like this and IMATS only rolling into the UK once a year, these deals are definitely something to take advantage of, but ladies (and potentially gentlemen) some restrain is needed. You will be surprised how quickly your money goes, even with a crazy amount off! We both set ourselves a £150 budget, not all stands take card and not all stands take cash, so being prepared with both will save you heartache when you finally get to the till with your arms full of products. There is a cash point within the hall, but the queue was ridiculous all day long, so draw your money out the before you get there! Each booth has a different system employed to get everyone served and seen to as quick as possible. MAC employed a sort of raffle ticket system, the brush vendors with large stands gave you baskets and you could fill them up and then give them to a staff member, but ultimately this is not for the impatient nor the claustrophobic, so be prepared to stand and wait with a lot of other people standing and waiting, this especially stands for the bigger brands, so going there knowing what you want and potentially trying it out in your nearest concession could save you a lot of time and agro! Within the IMATS hall there isn't just brands selling themselves, there are also online stores selling a range of brands, some of which aren't representing themselves at the event. With this in mind, it is a good idea to see which stand is selling the product you're after for the cheapest. We found asking around we got the famed Ben Nye's Banana Powder for £3 less than what it was being sold at at a different vendor.
Not only are there great deals to be snapped up whilst visiting IMATS, there are also brands showcasing their products on models as well as school and academies showcasing their talents too. Places like London Make-up School and West Thames College have stands, students and lecturers alike ready to give you all the information you need on their courses, this is a great way to find out what sort of courses are out there and to see what they offer and if it sounds like something you'd be interested in. Models are made up head to toe in prosthetics and stage make-up and walk around the hall, and quite enjoy creeping up on you. There is absolutely no issue with taking photos of the models during and after their transformation, so don't be shy and get snap happy as they really are a sight to be seen. Another highlight of the show is the student competition, six students are picked compete and create a look on a model and are judged mid afternoon on the Saturday. We were lucky to stumble upon the finalists' photo shoot and get a great look at the what the students had come up with. Talks are also held throughout the day from various people from the profession, so definitely have a look into those and keep an eye on the time because there aren't any general announcements (except for on the app) so you don't want to miss out! If you are lucky to have a smartphone, we'd highly recommend downloading the app, as it lets you know which brands are vending, what talks/demonstrations are going on and with who as well as letting you make lists of what products you want, how you're getting there and if you're staying somewhere over night.
Tucked upstairs was this fabulous little exhibition showcasing some moulds and prosthetics from the big screen. After a long morning of shopping, dropping was in order and we went and had a look at this and were pleasantly surprised. It was nice to get away from the mad rush downstairs and have a look at some damn impressive pieces of work. We definitely did stumble upon this and it wasn't readily advertised so do have a little explore and see what you come across!!
IMATS was a brilliant experience for the pair of us. We got to do one of our favourite past times, see some brilliant make up and had a really good day out. It is also a great way to see your favourite bloggers and youtubers (we had a lovely little chat with TalkBeckyTalk - she is so nice!!) so whether you're heading to the next event in Vancouver or simply thinking about the next event near you, we would both highly recommend attending! This is a really great day (or indeed weekend if you plan to go both days) out, even if you're not from the area, make a weekend of it and see a bit of the city it's in (the places IMATS visits are fantastic cities in their own right - do a little exploring and be a mega tourist!) we will for sure be attending next year probably a bit more prepared than this one! We bet you're wondering what we bought whilst there - you'll have to wait for our first ever video to find out!!
Did you attend or are planning to attend an IMATS event this year?
What did you think?! Do you have any strategies?
We'd love to hear from you, let us know what you think!!