With this summer’s highly-anticipated annual beauty bonanza-extravaganza, Cosmoprof North America, set to take center stage at Mandalay Bay in the heart and heat of Las Vegas on July 29th-31st, you’ll want to get ready for an immersive experience with the biggest brands in beauty – and discover some new and now up-comers that’ll be sure to steal the scene.
Beauty is big business – a billion dollar-a-year one, to be exact. And, because of the industry’s ever-evolving, game-changing products, innovative ingredients, and cutting-edge services that are continually pervading social feeds, it can be overwhelming for any beauty buff or novice, alike. That’s where beauty conventions and tradeshows come into play and can mean big business for the industry on all levels. Think Disneyland for beauty enthusiasts.
What is a Beauty Convention?
Basically, a beauty convention or tradeshow is a 2-3 day convergence of like-minded mavens of make-up, skincare, esthetician/spa services, hair care, nail care, body care, etc. If it has anything to do with the beautification of the body, you’ll find it at a beauty convention. Who exactly attends these meetings of both mind and body, you ask? You’ll find dermatologists, plastic surgeons, certified and aspiring skincare estheticians, make-up artists, hairstylists, nail techs, non-invasive body contouring and aesthetic professionals, beauty bloggers, social media stars, influencers, content creators, investors, and your everyday, self-proclaimed beauty-obsessed gal or guy pay big bucks to attend these conventions that promise overflowing swag bags containing the latest and greatest goodies and so much more. Not only is the procurement of goodie bags comparable to those gifted to A-listers at the annual Oscar Awards enough to draw the cosmetics-crazed crowds, it’s the makeovers, educational and training seminars, partaking in meaningful panel discussions with the most legendary influencers and brightest brand-builders, learning about upcoming trends and techniques, networking, scoring deals on your favorite products, infinite inspo, discovering your future “can’t-live-without” product picks, and collaborating (or commiserating) with fellow beauty addicts. And, snapping a selfie with your favorite Insta-glam go-getters always makes for a memorable social media moment. To a beauty guru, it’s like home away from home. But, better and bigger.
Conventions as a whole have always been one of the most effective marketing tools for virtually any industry. Whether you’re in the electronics, financial, real estate, technological, or entertainment fields, you’re guaranteed to come across a tradeshow specifically tailored for networking with those who have similar career goals or hobbies – all under one roof. Conventions have arguably emboldened countless companies and big-name brands, lending most of today’s most celebrated household names their humble beginnings. Make no mistake, they’re a lot of work to successfully pull off. Between months of preparation and paperwork, along with long convention hours consisting of standing and talking to other industry pros, they’re not suggested for the faint of heart. But, the pay-off can be pretty rewarding. Most of the beloved beauty brands you see lining the shelves of your local Sephora, ULTA, Target, luxury department store, or 24-hour pharmacy, including the smorgasbord of trending tubes, jars, and bottles you see on your Instagram on the daily were most-likely introduced and discovered at a beauty convention. (We’re looking at you, Drunk Elephant and Pixie Beauty!) Simply put, conventions are an indispensable tool to discover breakthrough beauty brands and up-to-the-second trends, having been responsible for putting some of the biggest names on the map. They’re also a great way for emerging e-commerce –based companies to make their beauty mark on the highly-competitive and saturated market. K-beauty brand Cailyn Cosmetics, famous for their endlessly innovative and creative cosmetic wares and social stardom, has gained some serious steam on the tradeshow trail due to their near-perfect exhibitor attendance at every beauty convention in the world over the past five years. It’s a surefire way to get your name, your brand, your products, or your industry-disrupting services in front of those who are most likely going to use them, buy them, and hopefully, love them. #obsessed
What to Expect at Your First Beauty Event
Planning on becoming completely absorbed and fascinated with all things beauty for an entire weekend? Here are some tips to help you make the most of your beauty addiction adventure:
- You’ll probably pay a substantial sum for your attendance. Tickets to almost any beauty convention anywhere in the world run upwards of $150 and up. And, that’s with an industry discount! Plus, there’s parking, transportation, airfare/hotel (if you’re traveling to another city/state/country to attend a show). This can bust your beauty budget and you may have to sacrifice a few monthly Sephora splurges. So, budget accordingly.
- Long lines. And, lots of them. The bigger the brand, the longer the line. Stash your stilettos in your bag and instead opt for a pair of functional and fabulously fashionable flats.
- The eye candy is going to be super sweet. Be prepared to be pleasantly accosted by seemingly endless rows and rooms of booths adorned with perfectly, Insta-glamed promo models enthusiastically introducing products and services. Fun festival fact: These booths take months to construct and hours to assemble and de-assemble, and resemble mini store fronts. They’re grammar school dioramas re-imagined.
- Depending on the beauty convention you attend, you’ll happily find an eclectic and exciting mix of 40-plus vendors/booths repping drugstore gems, luxury, e-commerce, K-beauty, and the “new and now” beauty boomers.
- For each day of the event, you’ll feel like an instant celeb when you leave with swag bags spilling with freebies of your favorite finds – and some cool, cutting-edge, “can’t-wait-to-try” brag-worthy newbies.
- Live, interactive demonstrations on models and attendees. Here’s your chance to score a makeover with the best in the business, so don’t be shy.
- Panel discussions, tutorials, and Q&A’s from the industry’s leading YouTubers and breakout brands.
- Games like “Spin the Wheel” with guaranteed prizes and red carpet set-ups with brand logos perfect for snapping slews of shamelessly selfies with your most-followed social stars and influencers. Some of these red carpet-inspired set-ups are impressively elaborate and uber-creative. The girly-girl DoubleDare Spa booth at IPSY’s Gen Beauty show featured promo models donning fluffy, flirty, baby-pink bathrobes and the brand’s Insta-famous facial sheet masks. The models proceeded to snap pics with willing attendees, while passing out packs of free sheet masks that promised glowing, gorgeous, supermodel-status skin in exchange for honorable mentions using the brand’s #hashtags on attendees’ social platforms. It was marketing-genius and attention-grabbing, to say the least.
- Plan your visit ahead! In the essence of time and all the booths you want to visit, take into account unexpected situations that may occur, including allowing yourself a half-hour to sit and scarf down a sandwich or salad from the commissary. Between long lines, conversing, networking, getting wrapped up in a cat-eye application class, and becoming totally mesmerized by the experience, you’ll wonder how the time got away from you.
- Have a blast, beautiful!
The Best Beauty Conventions of 2018
Got the beauty show bug? Check out these top six, up-coming beauty conventions for 2018 that will sure to bring plenty of Insta-bait:
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the mall-inspired beauty superstore announced earlier this year it’s finally getting in on the beauty convention game. Fittingly named “Sephoria: House of Beauty,” the Disneyland for All Things Beauty is creating its very own version of BeautyCon on October 20th and 21st at its eponymous downtown LA location. According to the brand’s rep, it will be “a highly-immersive, 2-day beauty event fusion of high-touch, physical, and digital experiences.” Sounds fun! Ticket prices are still TBD, but be prepared for some fierce competition in scoring the coveted tix, as VIB and Insider Rouge members will be getting first dibs. Visit Sephora.com to stay in the loop.
Gen Beauty (an IPSY event)
Gen Beauty is a 2-day event that primarily focuses around social media influencers and burgeoning e-commerce beauty brands. This IPSY-sponsored event is open to the public and celebrates self-expression and unique, star-studded style. IPSY co-founder Michelle Phan, responsible for the social media movement in share-worthy beauty tutorials, hosts the yearly event that is very much geared to those seeking an outlet and exposure to the online presence – whether they’re an aspiring influencer, content creator, beauty brand-builder, or just a dedicated beauty guru. Expect all your favorite social media stars and beauty bloggers to be in attendance, along with Phan, herself.
IMATS - The International Make-Up Artists Trade Show - London, LA, Atlanta, Vancouver, Toronto and New York
IMATS is an eclectic and audacious convergence that deliciously celebrates the unexpected and unabashed. And, it never fails to disappoint. Even if you just attend for the people-watching, you’ll leave indelibly inspired and thoroughly entertained. Expect big, bold, and beguiling booths during this 3-day event, as IMATS is where the industry’s most sought-after make-up artists, trendsetters, and theatrical special effects artists share their latest looks, insider secrets, and top tips and tricks of the trade. Score gratuitous amounts of makeup, tools, and accessories to create the most celeb-coveted looks, while attending demos, classes, and panel discussions. This is a show in and of itself. The next event takes place in Toronto September 22-23rd. Visit IMATS.com for more information and tickets.
BeautyCon Festival – Los Angeles
The Los Angeles-based beauty bonanza is the City of Angel’s yearly event that attracts beauty and fashion bloggers, alike. More like a pre-Oscar party, red carpet version of the standard beauty convention, BeautyCon boasts panel discussions, make-up meet-ups, beauty brand launches, networking, and endless, creative inspiration. Expect over 500 (beautifully-attired and aesthetically- appealing) content creators and 100-plus brand experiences and giveaways from all your most beloved beauty, health, and wellness brands. Score a tote filled with over $300 worth of swank product when you sign up for the Hauler Package. Visit Beautycon.com for more information and pricing. The next show is July 14th-16th at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
IBS – International Beauty Show – Las Vegas, NV
Sin City’s annual summer soiree hosts over 350-plus exhibitors of hair, make-up, nails, and spa/salon services. Attend hands-on, educational workshops and master classes in hair-styling and make-up artistry from the leading industry purveyors. IBS focuses on the business of beauty and how to build your brand from the ground up, as well as product development.
Cosmoprof – 2018 – Las Vegas, NV
Cosmoprof, North America, is the premier business-to-business beauty show and is generally not open to the public, as you must qualify for attendance. Based on a business solutions model, Cosmoprof offers one intense, bustling venue brimming with hundreds of products, brands, and services, respectively organized into three separate sections: Cosmetic/Personal Care, Packaging/Private Label, and Professional Beauty (salons/spas/medi-spas). The Cosmetic/Personal Care section spotlights the most coveted in cosmetics, skincare innovations, tools/accessories, fragrances, toiletries, and organic/clean beauty options – all with a retail distribution goal. It is in this section you’ll also find the Discover Beauty, which highlights the best in beauty breakthroughs and budding brands, and breakout companies from all around the world. Cirem Cosmetics will be making its North American Cosmoprof debut this month as one of the featured beauty breakthrough brands sure to leave its beauty mark on the map. Cosmoprof, North America, prides itself on its continual, internationally-reputable dedication to introducing revolutionary technologies, ground-breaking products, and next-generation thinking designed to boost both brand and product awareness. Last year, over 36,000 attendees engaged with a record-setting 1,278 exhibitors from 45 countries to discover new product advancements, brand launches, and new avenues for distribution, packaging, and manufacturing. This year’s event is set to take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from July 29th-31st.