Firstly, it was smaller and less chaotic than I thought, probably also due to the fact that I was there before it opened on the first day (Saturday). Among the vendors were: NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hakuhodo, Velour Lashes, Esquido, Beauty Blender, and several others.
I brought my mom with me so we could split up and hit more booths in less time. We arrived around 8:10 and were able to walk right in at 8:30 when the doors opened. I had made a list of what vendors I wanted to go to and what I wanted to purchase from each, as well as how much each item regularly costs so I could know how much of a deal I was getting (I'm super organized like that).
I immediately made a beeline for Velour lashes and purchased what I wanted, while my mom headed to Beauty Blender. After Velour I wandered around for a bit and debated buying some very inexpensive Morphe brushes (decided against it). The MUFE booth was getting pretty busy by this point, so I quickly placed my order with them and got in line. While I was waiting my Mom went to MAC, which ended up being a bit disappointing because either they were sold out of the blot powder and prolongwear concealer or they were sold out within minutes. Afterward my Mom took my place in the MUFE line so I could continue shopping. Collectively (haha), we ended up waiting in line to pay at MUFE for probably an hour. In the meantime I hit up Hakuhodu, the one vendor I hadn't planned out my purchases for, and Esquido. We left around 9:45, but most of that time was spent waiting at MUFE!
If you're going to purchase a fair bit, the ticket price is definitely worth it. If you've never been, I highly, highly suggest making a list and going to your most important booths first to ensure you get what you want. I waited until the end to go to NARS and they were sold out of what I wanted, but they were also a bit disappointing because the only discount they were offering was $10 off a $75 purchase.
1. Eat beforehand
This may seem like common sense, but you're going to need your energy (especially if you go first thing in the morning)! We had a small breakfast and coffee (!!) an hour or two before we got there and were absolutely starving by the time we left. At the very least, pack a granola bar.
2. Make a list
This is probably the most important in my opinion. You can view which vendors will be at IMATS before you go and make a list of which vendors you want to go to and what you'd like from each. When you're there looking at thousands of products it's easy to forget what you originally had your heart set on. Had I not double-checked my list while I was there I would have forgotten some of the things I really wanted.
3. Price things out
If you don't know how much products retail for, you won't know if you're getting a deal or not.
4. Bring cash
Every booth I purchased from took credit, but some had minimum limits, so if you only wanted one thing you'd be out of luck.
Like I mentioned above, Velour Lashes was the first booth I hit. They had all their lashes out so you could see and touch them all, and everything was discounted from $35 to $20! I purchased 'You Complete Me' and 'Extra Oomph.' I kind of regret getting Extra Oomph, only because I originally thought I'd be able to wear them on their own, but now that I've looked at them I think I'll only be able to layer them over another pair of lashes.