Generation Beauty Los Angeles Review: Good or Bad?

slide1I started writing my review of Generation Beauty Los Angeles in my iPhones notes before I even returned to my car. I actually sat on the patio of the L.A. Live Katsuya eating a spicy tuna roll and typing. I purchased my tickets to the event because of the statement on their site that read:

“We are bringing together the leading online beauty and fashion creators along with their passionate fans and top beauty brands for a weekend of inspiration, networking, and fun. Not to mention fab goodie bag filled with makeup, skincare, hair products (and more!) for everyone that attends.”

I’m going to start this by saying I was very excited to attend Gen-Beauty. Lately, I’ve been trying to network more and that was obviously a main attraction included in the $140 ticket price. I had beautiful new business cards printed that I paid an astronomical amount on shipping to have in time. On Saturday, my cards were in my jacket pockets ready to be distributed. Let’s just say it didn’t go down as I hoped. So, setting aside their grammatical errors allow me accurately rewrite the above online statement for you.

“We are bringing together beauty and fashion creators along with way too many fans and a handful of brands for a weekend of waiting in line, going deaf, and getting yelled at. Not to mention (a) goodie bag filled with makeup, skincare, and hair products for everyone that attends.”

See the difference?

I arrived at L.A. Live an hour prior to the event beginning and entered the parking structure where people were lining up. Between waiting for registration and going though security, I was in line for about two hours. The girl at registration didn’t say anything (no hello, goodbye) to me other than “don’t lose this” when she handed me an event map. Later I found out in the security line from another attendee that you need the pull off tags around the map to get freebie products and the gift bag. My excitement was still high.

Finally, like Cinderella I ascended the cement parking structure stairs to the holy land of makeup… to find a tent sitting on top of the parking structure. As I walk to the doors, I notice the gift bag booth outside and walk over. One of the women looked at me, scowled, and yelled between gritted teeth “WE AREN’T OPEN YET!” before I said a word to her. At this point the event had been open 2 hours (including the optional 1 hour of early access). I pivoted on my heels and walked inside.

Now mind you, the weather on Saturday was warm and sunny. So, the tent was like an oven. The music was blaring so loud I couldn’t hear the person next to me, but somehow we managed to signal to each other we wanted to go to the Luxie Beauty booth. I’ve wanted to order their brushes, so I decided to check them out first. A girl at the lines entrance said they were giving away a free bush to everyone. Then once in the line another girl told me I had to text a number to get the brush. Then at the front of the line they told me I had to sign up for their newsletter to get the freebie. So, I did.

I also decided to purchase a brush, which threw them for a loop. I was sent back and forward between two girls who couldn’t figure out whose job it was to mark down the brush I wanted. Finally the girl at the front of the line checked it off and told me they’d give me the two brushes at the register. When I got to the register and gave them the sheet you would have thought I handed them nuclear code. They started whispering among themselves then told me the girls up front were supposed to give me my brushes and I would have to get back in line. So I went back to the front girl, I kindly explained the situation, and she helped me get the brushes before sending back to the register to pay.

Next, I lined up for Ciaté. After waiting for a few minutes, the girl told me I’d have to take a photo of their booth, post it on Instagram, tag them and use their hashtag to get the promised freebie. I asked why I needed to do that and she turned around and walked away, so I did as well. I actually have been wanting to try their makeup (I’ve used their polish), and I would have made a purchase. However, I am not going to do free marketing for you and a product I don’t even know if I like.

img_5848-jpgI passed a couple smaller booths that didn’t seem to be selling products and were giving away items like miniature water bottles (which again you had to do something for) on my way to Tarte. When I entered their carpet and duct tape narrow line (which every booth had), I humorously asked the greeter “I don’t have to do anything here, right?” She laughed and said no so I continued. After receiving another sheet of what products were for sale, I decided I wanted to purchase a single metallic eyeshaddow.

When I got to the front of the line the shadow podium was directly in front of me and without a customer. I stepped up to it and the line leader lady told me to go to the other end. I explained that I wanted to buy shadows and the podium she was telling me to go to had something else on it. She told me again more forcefully to go to the other podium, so I did. When I finally made it though the crowd to the other pedestal, I explained that I wanted an eyeshadow. She said “well, I have to go and get them…” and just looked at me. I asked “could you? I don’t know what shade I want.” She huffed, but did it. She brought them back and told me which shade she liked which was beautiful but cool toned and not my style. I picked a pinkish-copper instead and she seemed annoyed I didn’t like the same color as her. She took my cash and walked back to get the product. When she returned I figured I would lighten the mood by complementing her on her pants, she smiled at me and handed me the shadow and change.

When I reached the end of the Tarte booth I passed my little tear off thing to the girl who was giving out the free products. It just so happened to be a Lip Paint shade I already own, so I just asked, “Oh hey, do you have any other colors?” She said it was all she had (which was okay and it could have ended there) then pointed to her lips and said, “It’s pretty. I’m wearing it.” I jokingly said I was too (which I was) and she just turned away without another word.

Next stop Colourpop! At this point the event had been open for at least three hours and when I spotted the duct tape line arrow I started walking forward. The girl at the front of the line asked me if I was there for the brand next-door. I said no, I was there for Colourpop. The interaction repeated, I don’t know if she wanted me to go to the other one or was having a hard time hearing me over the blaring Beyonce. Finally she yelled back over the music “Colourpops still closed!” I asked when it would be open and I don’t think she heard me because she started casually talking to another employee.

At this point, we were in line for two hours and had been inside the hot event for over an hour, needless to say we were thirsty and needed to find the ladies room. Now, nowhere on the map were restrooms, a concession stand, or even a place to sit for a moment. I heard rumblings around me of port-a-potties somewhere, but no one seemed to know where they were and the only waters anyone new of were from the H20 Beauty booth (which you had to do something for).

I waited in line for a couple more booths only to get to the front and learn I couldn’t just look at products, I either had to have someone apply them, or take a photo, or do some other silly activity. No one was interested in answering questions, they were just following basic guidelines of pushing people though. As the event started getting more crowded, it got hotter and the foot wide duct taped lines seemed to shrink around me. After making one more lap (and admiring the half naked male models at The Balm’s booth again), we stood in the calm waters at the center of the tent and decided to see if the gift bags were ready outside.

Alas, the bags were ready. We walked to the side to open them up and check what was inside. I will admit, the gift bags are fantastic and we decided they made up for the $140 ticket price and bailed. When we stepped into the elevator we met a mother and daughter who paid to go in early just to get their hands on Bellami extensions, then left because they couldn’t take it either. My day improved as soon as I left. I chose to enjoy the warm day in L.A. outside instead of in the massive white wedding tent.

I can’t speak on what happened Sunday (because I decided not to waste my time and brave the rain). I did however get an email on Monday apologizing about how the fire marshal showed up due to the high winds and everyone had to leave the tent, only return through the security line again later. If you knew what the weather was like on Sunday in L.A., you’d cringe just like I did when I read that.

Overall, I think the event was oversold. The people working the booths seemed incredibly overwhelmed. No one had an extra second to be courteous which I can somewhat understand as someone who’s worked retail. My main purpose though as I said earlier was to network. As an aspiring health and beauty editor, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me. But now, there is no way I am planning on attending Gen-Beauty again.

I think a great improvement next year would be to open it up on Friday night to only a couple hundred people. Charge more for the ticket of course, but allow us to network as bloggers and brands. I know I wouldn’t be the only one willing to pay $300+ for that opportunity. Oh, and also next year, please put any concessions or restrooms on your map to make life just a little bit easier on your attendees.

On the plus side, I did receive great products in my gift bag. There were brands like Clinique, Jouer, Derma-E, Makeup Forever, Colourpop, OFRA, and many more. There were a total of 49 products in the bag ranging from a full size Tarte mascara to a deluxe sample of the Benefit brow gel. There are a variety of sheet masks and skincare goodies as well. the 50th item is a $50 Impressions Vanity gift credit when you spend $250 or more. Basically, the event was an anxiety inducing cattle call, but the bag is bomb.