IMATS London 2010 - the highs and lows (Part 1)

So I attended the IMATS again this year, hoping to have a better experience than I did last year. After a 6:30am wake up call (don't you just hate waking up in winter when it's still dark outside - it's so unnatural), I met up with a few other bloggers and we arrived at Alexandra Palace just after 8am.

There was already a small crowd when we arrived and when the doors opened at 8:30am the queue that quickly formed for visitors to pick up their pre-ordered tickets was beyond ridiculous! Luckily I didn't have to endure that, but it would have put me in an extremely foul mood which would have ruined the start of my day if I had. I think more staff were needed to issue tickets, especially as Saturday was anticipated to be the busiest day.

My plan was to visit the exhibitors who were bound to sell out first - so OCC and MUFE were top of the list. Both Guru Makeup Emporium and P.A.M were selling MUFE, but Guru Makup were offering the bigger discount of 35% compared to P.A.M's 20% so it was a no brainer who got my money!


I wasn't impressed with the Z Palettes, they're a great idea but I think they're overpriced. I think a lot of people must have thought the same because when I glanced over at the pile of palettes they had a few hours later, not many had shifted.

Yaby was another brand I thought was overpriced (£60 for an e/s palette? No thank you), so I really didn't pay much attention to their products as nothing caught my eye. The palettes looked like Coastal Scents, but in white casing. They weren't offering a discount either. I think I'll live having not explored them further. I also discovered that certain products that were cheaper last year, had a £10 mark up this year - cheeky.

The Hakuhodo brushes were beautiful, expensive but beautiful. I loved the bright orange handles! Crown Brushes was packed all day long. I couldn't get a look in and just walked off in frustration, deciding to tackle them first thing on Sunday morning instead. Prices started at £2 and I think their priciest single brush was £18 so I'm not surprised it was a crowd pleaser.

Illamasqua was another hit with the crowd and I coudn't get near the products on show all day! They were offering 30-50% off. The powdered metal I wanted had long gone by the time I was able to have a proper look on Sunday and they didn't have any cream blushers so I couldn't buy the shades I've been lusting after for the past few months.

Adesign had some amazing bargains, but sold out of all the good stuff very early on in the day, and had barely anything left to entice people with on Sunday - madness!

I managed to attend three classes:

Eve Pearl High Definition Beauty for Women of Color (Saturday)

MAC Alexandra Byrne - Polishing Your Make-up (Sunday)
Crown Brush Eve Pearl The Flawless Bride: From Natural to Hollywood Glamour (Sunday)
 Yep, her face is half done, I think Eve finished her off after the class finished - I hope she did anyway!
My favourite class was Alexandra's, which I found informative and easy to follow. She used a number of well known ad campaigns and diagrams to illustrate her points before performing two demonstrations.

Eve Pearl raised plenty of laughs during her classes, but I wasn't really feeling the bridal class. She plugged her products an awful lot but other than the odd tip here and there, I didn't feel I learnt anything new. There was no talk of how to keep the make up fresh throughout the course of the day, which I would have thought is every brides concern and no reference to 'Hollywood Glamour' or Crown Brushes at all. Oh well. The Women of Color class didn't live up to my expectations either. I disliked the actual MU look she did and thought it looked quite "mumsy"..

I was disappointed not to be able to attend MAC Terry Barber's Beauty in Video and Music on Saturday but this is what we were faced with ....

There were approx another 300+ people behind me, not counting the people at the top of the stairs trying to get downstairs! A couple of minutes after I snapped this picture, a security guard yelled that there were only 4 seats available inside, so I gave up and went back to the show floor.

Saturday was heaving, but Sunday was considerably quieter. That was nice, but most of the stock appeared to have disappeared with the missing crowds too. I was thankful that I managed to get everything I wanted having been an early bird on Saturday. On a serious note though, assuming that this wasn't the first trade show that many exhibitors were attending, I would have thought that they would have had the adequate stock levels to last the course of the show.

OCC turned up with only 20 liptars in the shades Tarred and Grandma - C'mon! The million and one blog posts and You Tube comments that were posted about OCC after the NY Makeup Show and Tornoto IMATS, should have given them a very good indication of the interest the brand had created overseas.

Regardless of whether there was a last minute rush for tickets or not, it's an annual event spanning two days and exhibitors should be prepared for the demand.

I think the timetable for classes needs to be worked on, if possible too. Dozens of people were unable to see the speakers that they wanted due to lack of space in the rooms they were held in and I really felt for those who had travelled with a specific class in mind, especially those who had booked flights and flown over water for the IMATS!

Having learnt our lesson with the rush for Terry Barber, we started queuing for Alexandra Byrnes class on Sunday, 45 minutes before it began and got front row seats - result! I'm fully aware that had we turned up 45 mins before the class on the Saturday, we may not have had our happy ending.

I bumped into quite a few beauty bloggers throughout the day, spotted Enkore, Gossthemakupartist (he's so nice) and Nicola, one half of Pixiwoo working on the Illamasqua stand.

I'm not a make up professional, nor do I have any plans to work in the beauty industry as an artist, so what I took from the IMATS will be completely different to what a make up artist or somebody wanting to work on make up in films or theatre would have gotten from it. I've read a few rants about the venue size, but I'm doubtful that the IMATS will fill up larger venues like Earls Court. On a Sunday the floor space just wouldn't justify the numbers turning up so I don't know what to suggest. On a positive note I have nothing but praise for the security staff who did their utmost to prevent people pushing into the queues of people waiting patiently waiting for classes - to the girl with black hair, wearing a long black coat. who tried to sneak her way into Alexandra's class after coming out of the Naked Cosmetics class, but was promptly accosted by security and told to leave - everybody knew you weren't on your mobile phone, as there's no reception downstairs, you silly twit!

Overall I had a fun weekend, which left me exhausted and Miss Virtue and Lipglossiping kept me well entertained. It was much busier than last years show, and I would have liked more exhibitors present. I realise that's unlikely to happen in the current location unless another room was used to set up stalls. Sheenie made a good point about the lack of nail products available. Had a couple of nail polish brands been present, they would have cleaned up! So, Misa, Essie et all if you're reading this, I think you'd be welcomed by visitors with open arms ....

To those who were left feeling disappointed by the IMATS, you need to remember that first and foremost, it is a trade show, so if you're looking for an extension of an afternoon shimmying around Selfridges beauty hall then you'll be a bit disappointed as the likes of NARS, Chanel and YSL are not in attendance. There's nobody standing with a fixed grin, trying to entice you to try on the latest lipgloss. I knew what to expect this year, so wasn't left disappointed again. Last year came as a shock as I thought it would be quite commercial and it's not. You as the customer, are left to decide what you want and are expected, to an extent, to know what you're looking for. However, all the exhibitors are of course more than happy to assist you when approached. 


I enjoyed being exposed to brands I don't see in my usual beauty haunts and had I gone on my own, I would have been happy to leave after a couple of hours having satisfied my curiosity. If you didn't go this year and have never been before and have the opportunity to, by all means go, but do your research beforehand and familiarise yourself with the brands on the exhibitor list, as tickets don't come cheap. The IMATS is not a consumer show  like The Vitality Show, so you won't be coming home laden with more freebies than purchases.If you wish to pursue a career within the beauty industry then I think the IMATS will be a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with professional brands, network and be inspired by those at the top of their game.

Did you attend this year? What did you think? Will you return next year?

Photographer Ryan Hayes sent me a link to some fab pictures that he took. Check them out here. They show off the amazing skills of those entering the student competition.

17 beauty lovers have sumthin to say:

Lipglossiping said...

Great summary. I can't believe that queue to get in to Terry Barber's talk... that really needs some careful assessment by the IMATS crew for next year. I did *try* to save you a seat - honest!

VexintheCity said...

Cheers hon, It took me long enough to get it done tonight. Somebody (I think it was Didi) suggested a ticket system for the talks, where people book their seat for them online in advance.

LOL - yeah, yeah!

Rebecca said...

Ohh I bought a few Yaby products and I am really impressed with them. I just bought the pans, the shadows were £3 for two and the lipstick pans were £2.

Overall I was impressed with the show, I was there on Saturday (actually saw you with Charlotte from the distance, but when I'd turned you were gone, haha!) it was busy but I think a better layout would have worked. Having stalls around the edge more.

I was also annoyed there were one or two things I really wanted but had sold out and that was about 11am on the Saturday, that's just ridic.

With all that said, I would go again, particularly if there is was a talk I wanted to see as I enjoyed the Alex Box one so much :)

Lipstick Rules said...

Well said! You capture much of the same feelings I had following the Toronto event. The classes in Toronto weren't as well attended (at least on the Sunday when I went) -- as the classes were in out of the way areas within the venue. Weird. I really was disappointed at the exhibitors (hello OCC) and their lack of stock to cover a two-day show. I think I'll go back this year though.


VexintheCity said...

@Rebecca - Charlotte told me a Yaby palette cost £60 and I walked off! LOL Had I known they were selling other stuff that cheap I'd have taken a closer look (not that I need more MU though TBH).

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself! Aww it's a shame I didn't see you x

@ Lipstick Rules - Hopefully some of the exhibitors will read some our posts when googling themselves to see who's talking about them! Obviously some things are just bound to sell out, but they shouldn't be selling out within 2 hours before half the days visitors have even arrived yet!

Jellyminx said...

I went to the show on Sunday and was a little surprised about the lack of space between the stands. Maybe if they made the stands bigger and gave people a little more room to move about they would have been able to extend out into The Great Hall quite comfortably. I enjoyed myself though, especially Alexandra's class which I found enthralling. I think if I went again I'd do a little more research about products just so I could buy without swatching. I did pick up a couple of bargains from Illamasqua though :)

Kelly x

LaaLaa Phoenix Monroe said...

I wanted to go this year but I've not heard 100% positive reviews so maybe I didn't miss out on too much except the blogger interaction =(

Hopefully next year I shall attend and they improve.

liloo said...

Great post. Ashamed of the organisation really. Is it the same thing every year? How can they let this massive queue business happen? Your post confirmed my biggest regret of not having been there: the crown brushes. What a bargain!
Madness, i cant believe how quickly some 'counters' run out of stuff.
Did you have to pay extra for the classes?
This event sounds more like a day of january sale shopping.The last thing I want to do on a day like this is to arrive prime, proper with a full face of make up lol.

OCC turned up with only 20 liptars in the shades Tarred and Grandma = what???
haha for the girl in black hair rant = hilarious

liloo (@tsunimee)

FabDiva20 said...

Cool! The IMATS sounds like fun! I'm hoping to go this year in Los Angeles in June.

legseleven7 said...

Enjoyed this post hunni. Really well written and an interesting read. OCC are dumb, lol

Gemma said...

Good summary! I'm not sure I agree with you about the Yaby palettes being expensive - £60 for 40 colours in a palette isn't that expensive on a per-shadow basis. I think they were discounted too; they sell for £75 on their UK distributor's website.

I was slightly disappointed by Dermalogica - was hoping to be able to buy product from them, but they were just signing up professionals - which was a bit shortsighted as so many of the attendees were members of the public.

Melissa said...

Great post and really informative about the nature of the show, thanks. I didn't go but am thinking about it for next year. You've pointed out some great things to think about before going.


moodeve said...

You captured some great pix there. I agree with everything you said! I felt the tickets were expensive, as I'm not a MUA either, and the stock poor at some stalls. I wanted that A design kabuki pointed brush! But it sold out when I got there : (

So you will hve to do a review on it!
Great post - thanks

Emma said...

Really interesting read. I only went on the Sunday and I felt that the talks were really badly organised. Wanted to go to Nightbreed queued for 30min and was turned away because it was too full! I agree felt like Eve Pearl was pushing her products, especially when she started saying that Make-Up Artists should sell her cosmetics to their clients haha! I thought Tom Savini was brilliant, did you go to that talk?

Also was disappointed that Charles Fox wasn't giving a discount.

On a positive note I got loads of discounts and free samples at Mouldlife...looking forward to trying out my ice effect powder...

All the best

Emma xx

SilhouetteScreams said...

Brb drooling over the OCC, MUFE and Illamasqua :P

I would love to go to one of the IMATS shows some day - preferably the one in California as the Aussie one would definitely not be on the same level.

The poor exhibitor stock levels is so slack! OCC should know by now how much stock they need - the seller at the Sydney IMATS ran out quickly and had rainchecks coming out their arse. If they're not prepared for the trade show they shouldnt bother showing there at all.

I think if the uniipalettes had been on sale at IMATS they would've sold a lot - they're such good quality where the Z palette is just cardboard and bleurgh.

amber_j said...

Can't believe I missed this post! This was a great round-up of the event & made me feel less upset about not spending a fortune on Eurostar for a day trip to London. Can't say I'm not tempted to go next year though...

Amina said...

Omg! I re-read your post on the IMATS and thank you for the pointers. I can't wait to go there for 2011 in you I am not a make up artist, not going there for jobs..but a very very very savvy consummer


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