Masik, a three-year old family-owned fragrance company based in Harrisburg, PA, markets scents named for colleges and universities that conjure fond memories of what many consider to be some of the best years of their lives.
“Smell is tied to emotions and memories and because of this I wanted the line to be inspired by one of life’s great memories, and for me that was college,” said Katie Masich, president of Masik Collegiate Fragrances. “Oftentimes, that college experience, whether as a student, fan, alumni, faculty is a very emotional and heartfelt life experience.”
Don’t expect beer and Ramen noodle accords; Masik works with Fragrance Resources in New York City to create sophisticated juices. For example, one of Masik’s first perfumes for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has topnotes of lychee champagne accord, fizzy mandarin, crisp green apple and middles notes of jasmine, muguet, rose bouquet and baby violet. The base is comprised of sheer vanilla, Indonesian patchouli, amber woods and musk. The cologne for Penn State—also one of the first launches from Masik back in 2008—combines armoise, Italian bergamot, fresh juniper berries and chilled gimlet accord with violet leaf, blue cypress, cracked pepper vapor, clary sage and French lavender on a base of vetiver Haiti, cool moss, black amber and Indonesian patchouli.
In 2009, Masik rolled out colognes and perfumes for Louisiana State University, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, University of Florida and Auburn University, and this year, University of Oklahoma, University of Georgia and Florida State University joined the fray.
But that doesn’t mean every school is on American soil. Also new this season is Waseda University in Tokyo.
“The campus is beautiful. I traveled there earlier this year to visit the campus and collect inspiration for the fragrance. We went with a unisex fragrance,” she said of the offering, which features notes likes fresh snow accord, warm incense and blue cypress.
Masik’s fragrances, which are $60 each, are sold online at www.masik.com and in a variety of retail locations including collegiate retailers, college bookstores, boutiques, spas, gift shops, clothing stores and regional department stores. In addition, since the fragrances are officially licensed products, a percentage of each bottle sold goes back to the school’s athletic/scholarship funds.
This fall, Masik embarked on a large sampling program at key college football games, teaming up with an unlikely partner–automotive supplier Nitto Tire. Together, the two companies gave away limited edition car air fresheners to fans. The program kicked off Oct. 9 at a Florida Gator game in Gainesville, FL, at which Nitto and Masik handed out 17,000 units.
The sampling schedule included stops at six additional universities throughout the Fall—Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Florida State—wrapping up in late November.
“The promotion with Nitto has been going quite well,” Masik told Happi. “It has certainly increased exposure of our line and we’ve had an increase in sales and new retail locations as a result. Nitto approached us with the promotional program over a year ago.At first we were a bit skeptical because our businesses were unrelated, but the air freshener promotion made a lot of sense and was a great idea and seemed to be a win-win for us both.”
Looking ahead, Masich is looking at more schools, including Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC and Ole Miss— and could branch out beyond perfumes and colognes.
“We would like to expand the line to ancillary products in the future and we are currently evaluating various opportunities,” she concluded.