IMATS 2018 takes on NYC

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The International Makeup Trade Show (IMATS) is an annual event that takes place in major cities all around the world, including Atlanta, London, Toronto, and New York. It is the largest celebration of makeup, hair, and special effects artistry, garnering the attention of hundreds of cosmetic companies, makeup artists, and enthusiasts. It is a unique place to discuss, display, and purchase the best products the industry has to offer. The event took place on April 19 on Pier 94 in New York City where the makeup community came together for the 7th show since its NYC opening in 2011.

The magic starts the moment you walk into the show, with pictures and banners decorating the pier. Upon entering, each person is provided with a large tote bag with the tradeshows main sponsor Kat Von D clearly printed on the front.  Each brand has its own makeup booth, where they display and discuss their products, while special effects artists work to create outrageous looks for their models on a raised platform in the middle of the venue. Throughout the day, artists host seminars and talks on a variety of makeup-related topics on each of the trade show’s four stages.

IMATS lured both makeup artists and enthusiasts alike due to the presence of large makeup brands including Too Faced, Kat Von D, Morphe, Make-Up For Ever, and NYX. The lines leading to these booths were insurmountable. Persistence was key, especially with waits of over an hour and a half. There was a pot of gold waiting for you if you endured this task: The prices for all the makeup were significantly cheaper than they are in stores.

The products on display at IMATS were targeted to fit the trends popular in today’s society, one of which is glitter, which was presented in varying forms from lipstick to eyeshadows to nail polish. MBA Cosmetics contributed to this abundance, playing with glitter’s rising popularity. The brand’s representative stated, “We have a lot of the more trendy products. We have a lot of glitter; a lot of unique glitter products— not just like loose glitter. We have frosted glitter. We have liquid glitter.” One of their other goals is to sell their products at an affordable rate, lower than their competitors. The glitter is the perfect touch for all makeup looks and the cost is favorable for all students on a budget, with products ranging from  $3.00 to $15.00.

Aspiring makeup brands were also present, using the tradeshow as an opportunity to kick-start their companies by showcasing their innovative spin on classic products. Glam 22 Cosmetics launched their first makeup collection in October 2017 and was able to gain a spot at IMATS. CEO and Founder of Glam 22 Susy Shasky was working in a corporate job before she found her true calling in the makeup world. The company motto is “Be the beauty in the world;” and she upholds these standards. Free from animal testing/cruelty and child labor, the manufacturers of all products are held to a high standard. In fact, they have to show a certificate to those at Glam 22 Cosmetics indicating that all safety requisites are met.

IMATS is clustered with makeup brands that have gained world recognition, yet smaller brands shine out just the same. Glam 22 Cosmetics is on its path towards success. The company stands out, as it merges both beauty and ethical products.“We also have a ‘Glam for a Cause,’ which is a part of our company where we actually donate proceeds of our kabuki sets to women’s shelters,’ Shaksy stated. “We collaborate with a non-profit [Mission 21] and we donate a pigment and a brush set to them so they can insert it into their care packages. What they do is that they help teenagers that are sex-trafficking victims. I think that’s really amazing.” When setting their prices, Glam 22 keeps in mind the drastic increase in makeup prices; so you are not only receiving high-quality makeup for an affordable price, but also the satisfaction that you helped someone around the world.

Starting a makeup brand out of nothing can be a daunting task. Susy Shaksy had to go through a two-year long process filled with research as well as trial and error in order to release her makeup brand.  She urges young, aspiring artists to achieve their goals by saying, “If you are passionate about something and if you feel that you have an idea or a product that you think is going to be phenomenal, just go ahead and do it.” She knows that while money can be an issue, starting to practice can give you the knowledge you need to launch your own business. Resources, such as the funding or the investors, will come once you are driven about a project.“Start practicing makeup. Start where you can,” Shaksy stated. “A lot of people hold back and don’t start right away because they feel they don’t have the resources. Start right away. ”

Starting a career in makeup, especially in a field full of competitors and artists that have gained celebrity recognition, can be a challenge. Emmy award-winning makeup artist Eve Pearl started her career at IMATS and has grown her company since then by adapting her techniques to fit the changing times. Her self-titled makeup brand combines products that both older and newer generations alike can incorporate into their routine. In more recent years, social media has been the determining factor to the success, growth, and popularity of many brands. Every like or follow means that people enjoy your work and may be interested in seeing or purchasing more. During this year’s IMATS, Pearl along with a few of her makeup artist colleagues, including Cheryl Williams, Alex Lamarsh, and Clint Brock, hosted a seminar on the importance of social media in the beauty industry today. Pearl began by saying, “This morning on Good Morning America, they were featuring the influencers that are making a difference and they have under 10,000 [followers]. Some of them were just starting but you can tell the ones that are going to grow.”  Throughout the hour-long talk, each makeup artist gave tips and tricks to a sizeable audience about how to grow their following. Clint Brock, a musician-turned-makeup-artist, suggested that artists make their Instagram pages public so that brands with which they wish to collaborate have an easier time viewing and admiring their work. He added, “When you are trying to build a business and build a brand, you have to separate your personal from your business.” This may mean starting a separate page for personal photos, or simply removing them from an existing account. Brock continued, “Remain consistent. Remain constant in terms posting. Create a schedule for yourself in terms of being consistent.”  The makeup community is just that: a community; and reaching out is important towards building a network and learning new techniques. Asking your favorite makeup artists concise questions through direct messages on social media helps you build valuable relationships and learn new tricks. While reaching out to bigger brands and artists may be daunting, celebrity makeup artist Alex Lamarsh stated, “Be persistent. Don’t take no answer as a no. Sometimes no answer just means that they are going to get back to you but they forgot. Follow-up is huge.”

IMATS is an incredible experience that leaves even those unknown to the beauty world with new products and knowledge. For students, the large discounts on expensive beauty brands definitely draw immense crowds and are worth the wait. For those looking to avoid the long lines, smaller beauty brands like GLAMM 22 and MBA Cosmetics provide high-quality products at fantastic prices. Being surrounded by makeup enthusiasts, artists and creators is an immersive experience that we encourage everyone to try.