My IMATS NY Experience & Tips/Advice for Newbies

by - April 17, 2015

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This year was my first time at IMATS, the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show. I know most people go to shop as many vendors debut upcoming products here first and sell many others at steep discounts. I was also intrigued by the idea of attending some of the seminars being offered.

The entry fee was $60, which to me did seem a little steep at first especially for those wanting to go just to shop. That's like paying to enter a store that you want to shop in. But I asked many past attendees and I was told to buy the ticket because I wouldn't be disappointed. My only disappointment was that I didn't attend more of the seminars. I planned to attend maybe two or three but ended up only attending one. Time sure does fly when you are shopping for makeup. I will definitely make sure I attend more next year because I did learn a few things from the one I did attend.
My haul and more after the jump...
In this post I will be sharing my IMATS experience including my haul as well as some tips/advice for those of you who plan to attend in the future. Subscribe for future posts with swatches and reviews on all the products in my haul.
Me on my way to IMATS for the first time!
My day started with the long line waiting to get inside. And when I say long, I mean long. I didn't even think it would be that long. The doors opened at 9am and I had a friend who got there at around 8:15am but crowds really beefed up after 8:40am. It was like a Six Flags two hour plus wait rollercoaster line length-wise. I had friends who didn't come early enough to meet me on line so they went to the back not wanting to risk angering the crowd by cutting ahead of others. I was inside and did some shopping before they even got in. But even with all those people inside it still didn't seem as packed as I thought it would be. I guess a lot of people showed up after the doors opened so they wouldn't have to wait in line because eventually it did get packed.
The end of the line isn't even in this picture because I couldn't see it. That's how long the line was.
I made a list and had a plan of spending $250-300, which is a lot but my birthday is coming so that was my excuse. The companies at the top of my list were Morphe Brushes, LASplash Cosmetics and Sugarpill. Other companies I planned to visit were Dose of Colors, OCC Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills and NYX Cosmetics. I stuck to my list for the most part but ended up spending a little more than intended, despite not getting some items I originally thought I wanted.
This was by far the booth with the longest line. There's Lipstick Nick with the red hair!
Now what I mean by long line is a wait time of at least over an hour long. At worse, I believe some people were on the Morphe Brushes line for nearly 2 hours. Even after 2:30pm when most people were clearing out they still had what seemed like an even longer one while other booths like Sigma and Dose of Colors, which also had long lines, were completely empty. So I highly suggest bolting to this booth as soon as you arrive if they are at the top of your list.

Aside from the various vendors, there is the occasional Instagram famous Makeup Artist or Youtube Beauty Guru sighting. I saw a couple I knew, others I didn't and few that I was actually excited about seeing.
Me with Kilprity
And now to MY HAUL...
My IMATS NY 2015 Haul!!!
Out of everything in my haul, I am most excited for are all my new lipsticks as I have never been big on eye makeup. But I do plan on getting a lot of practice in with all these new palettes as long as I'm not making my boyfriend wait too long while I get ready before we go out lol. Otherwise, I may have to practice just for fun.

After all that shopping, I did manage to catch one seminar and I actually learned something new. This made me think maybe I should've made the time to attend another one. I left with my arms strained from carrying my heavy bag and a smile on my face.
Me and a new friend I actually met via Instagram
Here's a list of some helpful tips that I'd thought I'd share for any newbies out there. IMATS is a big place and even I missed out on some things. So be prepared and try to enjoy the hectic nature of it all.

Advice/Tips for IMATS:
  1. Early bird, gets the worm. These tickets sell out every year so don't wait until the last minute if you know you want to go. 
  2. Go with friends. The more the merrier. I found a "line buddy" through Instagram since she made a post asking if anyone wanted to meet up and help hold places in lines etc. We ended up becoming fast friends. I also had two other people in attendance as well. This came in handy especially for the Morphe Cosmetics line, which was very long. We would tag each other in and out of the line so that we all didn't waste precious shopping time standing in the line. It worked out very well. I was also able to take advantage of some deals and save by splitting the cost with a friend. Plus it makes the day more fun too.
  3. Make a wishlist. The list is very important because the amount of products available can be overwhelming even shopping a brand you are very familiar with. You may see the slashed prices and get a little too happy buying stuff you may not even need. Also you don't want to forget something you really wanted and get upset you missed out on it at a lowered price. Examine the list of vendors that will be attending and be sure to check their Instagram pages as they may promote their IMATS deals beforehand so you can make your list accordingly. This will also inform your budget. You may want to hand write it or print it out, just in case your phone dies. Have some backup options too just in case an item sells out. (I don't recall seeing any outlets where you could possibly charge it.)
  4. Set a budget. I'd suggest bringing cash in an envelope so you can physically see how much you are spending. Once your envelope is empty you will know how much you have spent and can decide how much more you are willing to spend (if any).
  5. Rank your priorities. Is there a limited edition lipstick you just have to have? Is an eyeshadow palette at the top of your list? Rank and go to those booths first if you don't wanna risk it selling out. Or strategize and go to the booths that usually have longer lines first so you'll have less of a wait. Morphe Cosmetics, Sigma, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Lime Crime, Dose of Colors and later NYX Cosmetics had the longest lines. LASplash had a sizable line as well. 
  6. Learn the map. It is your friend. Having a good idea of where the booths you want to go are located will save you time. My friend told me most booths were pretty much in the same spot as previous years so if you attended before it shouldn't be too hard. If your memory isn't the best than make sure you keep the booklet the registration desk gives you handy as the map is located inside. You can also keep the online version open on your phone since thats usually something you always have quick access too. 
  7. Be fully charged. Make sure your phone, camera etc. are all fully charged and have space for the photos you will be taking. There's lots to see and many bloggers and Makeup Artists of Instagram/Youtube fame attend that you may want to take a pic with. If you have a portable battery charger or backup battery, I'd bring that too just in case.
  8. Consider a cart. If you know you are going to be making large purchases then I suggest you bring a small shopping cart or wheeled bag of some sort. I know I will definitely be bringing one of those small canvas ones meant for shopping next year. My shoulder is still hurting like seriously. Otherwise, a large bag/tote will do fine if your list isn't too long.
  9. Attend a seminar. If you have any aspirations for becoming a makeup artist or just want some tips on bettering your skills, I suggest you attend one of the seminars. There are several different ones offered throughout the day so you can choose the ones that most appeal to you. They ranged from avante garde/fantasy makeup to runway/fashion how to's or even Q&A sessions with some of the industries best. That $60 ticket isn't just an entry fee for shopping. It gives you access to some of the best minds in the industry if you are willing to take a break from shopping to listen. You may want to bring a small notebook too to take notes. Set an alarm so you don't miss the classes you want to attend.
  10. Bring a snack. There was a small selection of food available to buy there but why would you want to waste your money on that when it can go to makeup. Plus there was even a line for that too. So just bring water plus a light snack and save your time/money. You can eat a meal later when you leave either at home or nearby that will be more fulfilling than what you've would've gotten there and for the same price too. 
  11. Have fun! Life is short, just buy the lipstick. Don't stress if your budget is small, there's always next year. I know I will be carefully considering my purchases from now on and saving up to spend more here next year since the discounts were so good. 
Have you attended IMATS before? Do you now wanna attend next year? Got any tips you wanna add? Let me know below in the comments.

Happy Hunting!

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