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The Makeup Artist’s Event: An Inside Look At The Makeup Show 

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In seven years, The Makeup Show has expanded to four states in America, and has now found its place in Berlin. Acting as a vital tool for not only lovers and users of cosmetics, but for the founders, creators, and successors in the industry, TMS brings people together from all over the world to learn, grow, and play. We caught up with the Makeup Show’s vice president Shelly Taggar to get an inside scoop on what it takes to put on an event of this magnitude (hint—a lot!), as well it what it gives back to the community.

B: What was your motivation to start The Makeup Show?

I work for a company that produces over 250 events a year. We felt as though there was something missing in the area of cosmetic shows, nothing that was just makeup—especially beauty makeup. There are a ton of hair shows every year, which all include a limited amount of makeup, and for so long that’s been the only option for cosmetic lines in way of trade events. Typically at a major hair show there will be close to 6,000 booths, and only 10 of them will be makeup lines. It’s very hard in that environment for makeup artists to work and find what they need—it’s just nuts! From that we came up with the concept of doing a beauty event for artists where we show only makeup lines. We started seven years ago with one city and since then we’ve increased to five cities!

B: Taking The Makeup Show all over the world sounds like a full-time job!

Yes, we have a whole operation. We’ve got a team of producers working for us as well as a team of makeup artists including James Vincent and Orlando Santiago. Our producers are taking every idea that the makeup artists come up with and working to bring them to fruition. It’s a great partnership. We also hire some of the top artists in the industry for keynote including Sharon Dowsett and Billy B. The concept for the shows require a lot of teamwork—and that’s not including the 250 other events our company produces every year!

B: Do you anticipate that Billy B. will have as strong an impact in Berlin as he did in Chicago?

Billy B. spoke at The Makeup Show New York the first year I was producing the event. He’s one of those makeup artists that people just love to see—he’s such a giver. In this industry there are so many successful artists that refuse to share as much of their knowledge or experience as Billy B. or even Sam Fine have. People really listen to them. We tend to get a lot of crying and emotion when they speak. It’s amazing, our company produces so many shows and events but The Makeup Show is very unique in that when you enter the room you feel this adrenaline. When Billy or Sam speak they literally give everything they’ve got to the audience, they spill all their secrets and really give back to the industry. You can’t learn that stuff in school. We try to work with Billy at least once a year and this year we are lucky enough to have him in Chicago as well as Berlin. He has a following all over, and the minute we announced that he would be speaking at the Berlin show we got people flying in from all over the world just to see him.

B: Are there any other contributors for the Berlin show that you are particularly excited about?

Definitely. We have an amazing keynote lineup for Berlin with speakers from London, Germany, and of course, the U.S. Our education portion really covers every aspect of the industry from people that have started their own brands like Siân Richards to people like Billy who are so inspirational. We have 2,000 to 4,000 attendees and an additional 60 exhibitors. Last year in Berlin we received a lot of requests for more brands that are not widely available overseas, so we took it upon ourselves to add a ton of new companies to the bill this year including Illamasqua—a first for Berlin.

B: Are you excited to have Illamasqua on board for the first time?

We love them. Once an exhibitor does one show with us they tend to stick with us, so we hope that they now come with us wherever we go. I think it will be amazing for the pro community to really see what they’re about and be able to touch and play with the products. Plus, the main artists Spob and David are doing a keynote talking about the brand which should be pretty enlightening. We’ve also added local companies from Germany as well as brands from other areas in Europe including England, France, and Israel. People travel from all over to get these products from The Makeup Show because they can’t find them in their own country. We have about 25 more exhibitors than last year.

B: What made you decide to launch the makeup show in Berlin over other cities in Europe?

When we decided to launch an international Makeup Show, we did a lot of research on which city would be a good fit. It came down to Barcelona, Berlin, and London. London has a ton to offer the makeup community, but it’s much more expensive to travel to—which doesn’t work well with makeup artists during high and low seasons. If we did it there we would probably have a lot of people from England attending but not as many traveling to it. Barcelona was much harder in the long run because of the language. I’d been doing a lot of research on Germany—right now it’s one of the most successful countries in Europe. We call Berlin “The Old New York.” Traveling to it feels just like visiting New York in the ‘90s—the art, the graffiti. I believe in ten years Berlin really is going to be the new New York. It has so much energy and the way the industry is developing there is pretty amazing. Plus, the travel is so inexpensive. Last year about 65% of the attendees were people that had traveled from other countries, and you can’t beat that.

B: How does The Makeup Show differ from city to city?

Every city has its own industry which controls the draw of the show. The New York show, for instance, is very much a beauty show—we try to invest in presenting key artists working in New York. Since the city is also the capital of fashion, brands will often launch new products at that show versus others because it makes more sense for that community. Chicago is a big spa and salon city, and the artists that work there often need very different products than the people who are doing editorial work in New York. We try to hire speakers for Chicago that might not be working with big celebrities or designers, but are just as successful working within the salon industry to help educate people with similar career goals. L.A. is a special effects town but it also requires a lot of beauty education for Hollywood, so that show mixes a few different fields together. Orlando is a new show for us coming up in November, and it requires a good mix of beauty and television studio makeup. T.V. studios are pretty big there. And Berlin, like New York, is another good mix of fashion and beauty. Berlin is multifaceted because we have so many visitors flying in from all over for it.

B: Are you planning to expand to even more cities in the future? What’s next for the makeup show?

We would love to expand to another European city, but we are definitely leaning towards Canada because it has such a good market. We’re not ready to announce anything yet though.

The Makeup Show is expanding not only as an event, but as a brand. This year at New York Fashion Week, we are producing about 14 fashion shows including lines by Daisy Fuentes and Avril Lavigne, featuring our artists and products from Inglot Cosmetics. In December, we are also doing the pop up shop—It’s kind of like a big sample sale of beauty for all the brands that want to sell their products. That’s happening in New York, so get ready because it’s coming up soon!