International Makeup-Artist Show—You’ve dreamed about this moment for what feels like forever, and now it’s finally happening – IMATS.
Dozens of questions are rushing through your head about travel, tickets, who will be there and what you can do – it can all seem a little overwhelming.
As dizzying as it is, IMATS is a crazy-awesome opportunity and you’re going to want to make sure you’re in-the-know before you go so that you can get the best out of this trade show.
If you want to be prepared, have dozens of questions, or you’re an IMATS newbie, fear not!
We’ve got the greatest tips and tricks around to help you conquer IMATS, have a blast, and soak up all you can while you’re there!
Check out some of our tried-and-true IMATS tips below, as well as some good-old-fashioned information to get you on the right IMATS path:
What is IMATS?
For those of you who are seeing the IMATS acronym for the first time, we want to be the first to welcome you to the largest celebration of make-up artistry --- in other words, one of the biggest, baddest, most glamorous makeup trade shows around.
IMATS attracts thousands of make-up artists, exhibitors, and enthusiasts, as well as pros from the fashion and film industries who provide education, demonstrations, and product debus.
IMATS is more than just shopping for makeup products – there’s thousands of people to network with, professionals to meet and learn from, make-up museum, student makeup competitions, and tons of great competitions.
And of course, there’s miles and miles of makeup – easily the best part.
Every year, IMATS brings in hundreds of thousands of people and gives anyone – from amateur makeup enthusiasts to the professionals – the opportunity to try to products, buy in bulk, network, learn from the best, and make their makeup dreams come true!
Let’s Talk Tickets
For an event this size – like we said, thousands upon thousands of people -- you’re going to want to get your tickets as fast as possible. IMATS always takes place over the weekend and it’s known to sell out, so as soon as tickets go on sale, it’s important you snatch them up!
Currently, tickets are on sale for the remaining IMATS tradeshows, which are set to be September 22-23 in Toronto, October 20-21 in Vancouver, November 17-18 in Atlanta, and Jan 1103 in Los Angeles – aka, there’s plenty of time to purchase your tickets!
Tickets are $60 per day and depending on how well you organize your route around the tradeshow, you might only need one day pass.
That being said, if it’s your first visit to IMATS and you want to take your time, hit all the lessons, and meet as many people as possible, it can be a wise choice to splurge for two, full days!
Dress for Success (Okay, But Also for Comfort)
Listen, we know that this trade show is all about keeping up with the current trends, looking good, and showing off your own personal style, so we certainly recommend dressing up, having fun, and loving your look – but don’t let that keep you from getting comfortable.
We’ll be totally transparent here: This is an enormous trade show – that means long days and plenty of walking.
You might sit down to snack or take a break, but for a majority of the day, you’re going to be on the move and having fun, so you’ll want to make sure you’re feeling good, too.
This way, you’ll get the most out of your tradeshow days.
We’re not saying you need to slum it in ratty sweatpants, but we do suggest leaving the sling backs at home – trust us, your feet will thank you.
Lines Will Form, But They’ll Move Quick
Nobody likes lines, and we understand that.
Unfortunately, with any big event, there’s always the risk of lines forming.
The good news?
Typically, lines here move quick. Don’t be spooked if you show up and see a line curving around the outside of the center where they’re hosting the trade show.
We promise, it’ll move quick.
There might be lines inside at some of your favorite booths, too.
The beautiful thing? You don’t have to wait!
If you’ve got a full day pass, you can always circle back around to your favorite booth when it’s calmed down a bit – if you’ve purchased a two-day pass, you can even check it off your list the next day!
A little patience never hurt anybody, and with the exclusivity of the tradeshow, products, and expertise, we’re sure you won’t mind waiting a little.
The Floorplan is Your Friend
We know it might be nerdy to plan out your entire day, but trust us, this tradeshow is enormous!
Typically, IMATS is hosted in some sort of convention center, and while that’s great because it provides you with endless products and professionals to chat with, it’s also a dizzying, confusing mess of a mess that can easily trip you up.
Our advice? Plan your attack.
Each venue – thankfully – has its own floor plan and exhibitor list, giving you the perfect opportunity to map out where you want to go, how long you want to spend there, and the quickest way to get there.
Treat this tradeshow like an organized vacation and you’ll have the time of your life --- but leave it up to chance and you might find yourself struggling to reach all of the destinations you’d hoped to!
Bring the Necessities – Cash, Cards, Tickets, and of course, Your ID
This might seem obvious, but don’t forget the most important things in your purse, wallet, backpack, or pockets – this includes things like your IMATS ticket, your ID, your cash, and your credit cards.
It’s important to print your ticket ahead of time and have your ID ready when you enter the convention – security will match your ticket to your ID and let you in seamlessly.
Try to do this quickly and be prepared, you don’t want to be on the struggle bus that’s standing in the way of hundreds of MUAs looking to get their hands on all the new products (we don’t imagine that’s a pretty sight!)
Bringing both cash and cards to IMATS is a definite tradeshow hack, too.
While most vendors are game to offer you both payment options, you might run into one that will only take one or the other, so you’ll want to be prepared.
It’s also possible that credit machines won’t be working, and the last thing you want to do (like we said before) is be the reason a line is held up!
As long as we’re still talking necessities, you might want to bring a snack with you.
We certainly recommend eating before, as well. While there’s a food section in IMATS where you can take a break from the makeup madness and eat, we’re sure it’s going to be hard to tear yourself away from the magic that’s happening inside the convention center.
Being prepared with a full belly can be your saving grace!
Make Sure You’ve Depleted Your Makeup Stash a Few Weeks Before (You’re Going to Want to Shop, Shop, Shop)
Finally, we suggest taking this step a few weeks before you show up at IMATS --- it’s a friendly precaution, but also a helpful hint from fellow makeup maniacs – deplete your makeup stash.
Don’t buy any new makeup the few weeks before the trade show because you’re going to want to restock on everything while you’re there.
It’s going to be difficult, but trust us, it’s worth it to hold out.
Not only can you essentially guarantee you’re going to be able to buy it at IMATS, you can bet you’re going to get it for a discount, which translates to more makeup for you at a lower price!
Save your money, hold back on restocking your supply, and get ready to spend some time and cash at IMATS.