This year, I’ll be attending IMATS NYC for the first time after hearing about it via MannyMua’s video about his experience attending the event. He was kicked out of the venue with fellow YouTuber and makeup artist PatrickStarrr for professional and safety reasons: they were supposed to work at a company’s booth to sell makeup brushes, but they left their post to go around and meet fans that were in attendance.
Being well-known Internet celebrities, it wasn’t long before they started drawing huge crowds wherever they were, which led to the IMATS security throwing them out for safety reasons. Manny and Patrick went on YouTube to air their experiences and grievances at the fact that they were thrown out.
People have criticized and defended them regarding the unfortunate experience and I’m not gonna jump on that bandwagon for this week’s entry. I think enough solid points have been thrown out and there’s no sense in parroting them.
The reason why I mentioned Patrick and Manny’s experience at IMATS is because I am actually apprehensive about going: in the back of my mind, will their experience be a repeat this year?
I’ve only been to conventions twice in my life: one was during New York Comic Con and another was the Market America Northeast Regional. One thing that they both had in common? Crowds. BIG crowds. People were everywhere and it was impossible not to bump into a stranger with a common interest in both events. It was a pickpocket’s dream come true: a skilled one could have walked away with at least $1000 if he or she wanted to.
When Manny and Patrick mentioned that a crowd had gathered to see them, I immediately understood why the security team hired by IMATS had to throw them out: the moment shit hits the fan at IMATS, that crowd was going to be more trouble than the problem itself. Crowd control is no cakewalk: it’s like trying to herd sheep without a sheepdog.
It’s been suggested that IMATS ban YouTube makeup vloggers to prevent the same mishap that happened with Patrick and Manny, but many argue that it would be a bad business move by IMATS if they do, since they would be ignoring the potential customers that YouTube vloggers can bring to the event. The argument ignores the fact that makeup isn’t just confined to cosmetology – it also includes the special effects and stage makeup industry.
From what I read about IMATS, it’s supposed to be more of a teaching event than a convention – attendees would be taught how to master or improve their makeup skills by professionals who work for cosmetic, special effects, and stage makeup companies who chose to attend and set up shop in the hopes of gaining new customers. Now, imagine if that opportunity was snatched away just because a popular YouTube vlogger decided to show up.
People won’t be attending because they want to see what’s new with their favorite products – they’re showing up just because someone famous is in the flesh. And with any fandom, you can bet that the more rabid fans will show up to see their idol in person.
Companies are constantly competing against each other in the open and events like IMATS, The Makeup Show, BeautyCon, are supposed to narrow the field down to one event and location where people can shop en masse. More focus could be provided on product demonstration and educating product use for the public.
I’m not gonna lie: I’d be upset and pissed off to find out that I’m going to attend an event for a hobby, only to find out that it’s jam-packed with rabid fans, when the whole thing could have been avoided in the first place. And by that, I mean either IMATS could have a day set aside simply for YouTube beauty vloggers to attend or one could be independently arranged by the vloggers themselves (think Gen Beauty).
For all the money-making and the star power abilities that YouTube vloggers supposedly have, is it really impossible to set up an event for them, by them? Because I’m pretty sure there are enough popular beauty vloggers who can collectively pull this off the same way Michelle Phan did Gen Beauty.
On another note, I hope beauty companies will learn well from the IMATS mishap with Manny and Patrick. Viewers aren’t always guaranteed customers, especially when the products are mid-to-high end.