Trade shows are designed for beauty industry professionals to energize the workforce, communicate new trends and demonstrate new products, market packaging and product lines, and organize industry interests related to consumers and government policies. Trade shows may be huge international and national conferences open only to professional trade associations, regional and local shows catering to a wide range of specialties within the industry, or company conventions specifically targeting their own workforce and product lines.
Professional and Company Shows
Among the largest of trade shows are those that cater to industry professionals only. Premiere Vision, held biannually outside of Paris, is a textile show that has tremendous influence on U.S. beauty companies seeking to determine the upcoming trends and colors. The attendance at this show helps explain the somewhat uniform and similar direction of the product lines developed by the largest beauty manufacturers; they all get their inspiration at the same place. Cosmoprof, which has been held in Italy each April for over 40 years, has an attendance of approximately 100,000 and showcases mostly European suppliers with a side emphasis on packaging. This show attracts those companies with a more international clientele or that have a significant European market share. Cosmoprof has expanded beyond its strictly European locales to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Las Vegas.
The Health and Beauty America (HBA) Global Expo, launched in 1993, is the largest industry gathering in the United States, held annually in June in New York, and concentrates on U.S.-made products and suppliers. It holds seminars on current industry lobbying efforts, has large packaging displays, and illustrates the intense organization that is a hallmark of the trade associations’ efforts to further the interests and profit of the industry. This show is not known for the glitz and glamour frequently associated with other events open to the general public, but concentrates on the no-nonsense side of the industry. The HBA also offers midyear conferences focusing on specific areas: the marketing, technical, and other aspects of the business.
Specific companies also run their own conferences and seminars in the trade show format that highlight their individual product lines, host training seminars, and usually include inspirational sessions to boost and build enthusiasm in their sales representatives. The top pyramid-structure companies such as Avon and Mary Kay Cosmetics are especially effective in their use of company gatherings. Avon has had great success through three specific small shows: Grand openings are promotional events for Avon representatives to build their individual business by publicizing new market locations and starting business demonstrations, and also act as localized focus groups for representatives to monitor their customers’ interests. Boot camps target new representatives with training sessions to help them develop their businesses and to establish sales goals. Beauty bashes focus on demonstrations of how to use Avon cosmetics. Mary Kay runs huge seminars for their annual conventions. Their sales force has become so big that the company has split the conventions into five separate gatherings, titled Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Pearl, and Diamond. These jewels in Mary Kay’s crown heavily emphasize company promotion, inculcation of company philosophy, and building the sisterhood that characterizes their sales force. Their support system for sales representatives has created a strong network of women in control of their own businesses and that illustrate strong diversity across the nation.
Specialty shows cater to salon professionals, students, and consumers in specific areas of the beauty industry, such as hair, nails, and product lines. Specialty shows often also target localized markets, such as those held in particular states. They may be combination shows such as Natural Products Expo West, which highlights both beauty and food products made from natural ingredients. The natural cosmetics market is believed to be growing by as much as 20 percent per year. The World Natural Hair Show demonstrates chemical-free hair treatments and special interest grooming for ethnic customers. The Proud Lady Beauty Show, held in Chicago, was founded by American Health and Beauty Aids Institute in 1981; it represents one of the few American industries mainly founded and fueled by African Americans. The show is the largest in the Midwest dedicated to the needs of the black beauty community of cosmetologists, barbers, and nail technicians.
Beauty industry trade shows, like other professional conferences, demonstrate a clear purpose: building the industry. They are quite effective tools for professional networking, recruitment, the spread of innovation, and marketing. They also illustrate the broad diversity of the industry’s interests, customers, and sales force, and the pervasiveness of grooming interests in all walks of life. Trade shows are big business. Because of the organizational skill necessary to run large conventions, beauty trade shows are organized and run by small and large companies that specialize in them; these companies market the shows and publicize their locations, registration, and accommodation information on the World Wide Web.