A scent can elicit powerful memories. So can a stroll through your alma mater’s campus. What would happen, thought Katie Masich – a chemical engineering graduate from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania – if you bottled those ubiquitous, nostalgic aromas, all in a scent that celebrates the campus you hold dear?
Masich launched Masik Collegiate Fragrances in 2008 and knew the success of her business depended on partnering with large universities with devoted alumni. From her first licensee – Penn State, depicted in perfume with blue cypress, juniper berries, vanilla and lilac – she and her family have worked with university licensing professionals to build the business to include 20 schools.
“We go through the same process for every single university we work with,” Masich said. “It’s time-intensive. We look at things like the school colors, the landmarks, what kind of flowers bloom on their campus, what kind of trees. And we see how those translate to aromatics.”
From there, the company mixes some scents, and the university assembles a team of sniffers – faculty, staff and students – who interrogate whether they meet the mark. “We want a mix of people in the room,” Masich said. “We like to have someone from athletics, people from the alumni association, buyers in from the area retail stores. We always have students get involved – engineering students, art majors, business majors. We want everyone to give their input.”
The products are available at campus bookstores, at www.Masik.com and through Belk, a department store chain with stores mostly in the Southeast. And though her business model still focuses on big schools – she hopes to next infiltrate more of the Big Ten market – this spring Masich worked with a chemical engineering class at her alma mater to develop a scent that emulates the orange and blue of a true Bucknellian. “It was a passion project,” Masich said of her first venture with a smaller school. “I love my Bison.”
Smell Test Sampling