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FIT Looks at the Future of Beauty

May 28, 2010

Capstone presentations consider the consumer, the manufacturer and the retail universes through 2020.

FIT Looks at the Future
of Beauty

Capstone presentations consider the consumer, the manufacturer and the retail universes through 2020.

In honor of the Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing and Management Master’s Degree program at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the annual Capstone presentation focused on Beauty 2020: The Future of Beauty. In an attempt to help the beauty industry understand the long-term effects of the new economy, the presentations addressed the consumer, manufacturer, and retail universes through the year 2020.

Alumni Association Chairs, Vivianna Barrera, L’Oreal USA, Matrix; Kate Foster, Juicy Couture, and Rebecca Heck, Firmenich, Inc., provided an overview of the Master’s program, which fosters interpersonal connection and leadership, empowerment, and innovation, to inspire change in the industry. Dr. Joyce Brown, President, FIT, welcomed attendees and highlighted the program’s Leadership in Action program, as well as the creation of the Alumni Association, whose members are already vice presidents of cosmetic companies, including Coty and others. She also acknowledged FIT’s partnership with The Wharton School, as well as the recent tribute to 10 of FIT graduates, at the FiFi Finalist breakfast.

“The FIT Master’s Program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management serves as a juncture between academia and the industry,” explained Brown.

In addition, Brown noted the upcoming industry breakfast, which will celebrate the 19th Anniversary of the program, by honoring Marc Pritchard, chief brand building officer, Procter & Gamble and Linda Wells, editor in chief, Allure, on September 22, 2010.
Recipients of Scholarship Awards: Left to right, Shiri Sarfati, Repechage, Yumiko Nishikawa, Shiseido Cosmetics America, Beatriz Loizillon, Estée Lauder Companies, Lea Koussoulis, L’Oreal USA, Nichole Kirtley, L’Oreal USA, Marta Cammarano, Intercos USA, and award presenter, Leslie Harris, FIT/L’Oreal.
Leadership, Sustainability and Innovation

Chris Hacker, chief design officer, global strategic design, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., delivered the keynote address, saying, “We are delighted to sponsor this 10th anniversary program, which helps people develop as senior leaders. My colleagues and I believe in the value of this program.” He highlighted a dominant theme emphasizing sustainability, transparent consumer experiences, and the premise of delivering and executing innovative ideas for the future.

Rochelle Bloom, president, The Fragrance Foundation, introduced the first Capstone topic, The Future of Fragrance, presenting graduates, Shiri Sarfati, Lisa Negrelli, Jessica Wolfe and Monika Ziobro, who provided insights into the vitality of the future of fragrance. Sarfati noted that there were 1,000 fragrance launches in 2009, 300 of them in the U.S., and while 2009 fragrance sales were down, there was strong support of the classics, with 7 out of 10 purchases being classic fragrances.

The students provided a series of platforms with which fragrance of the future might be approached, including Eau Share, which emphasized the importance of developing a scent vocabulary, enabling scent to help childhood development, and encouraging consumers to become the true storytellers about fragrance. Eau Network was an idea that encourages consumers to share their stories about, and experiences with, fragrance, much like The Food Network, which has contributed to creating a community approach to food creation, sourcing, experimentation, and expertise. Eau Juice, entailed the ingredient story, noting it was time to re-engage consumers with descriptive, recognizable stories.

Speakers (l-r): Chris Hacker, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies; Rochelle Bloom, The Fragrance Foundation; Michele Serro, IDEO, New York; Dr. Joyce Brown, President, FIT; Carlotta Jacobson, president, Cosmetic Executive Women; Lezlee Westine, Personal Care Products Council and Stephan Kanlian, chairperson, Master’s Program, FIT.
It’s the quality of the juice that will bring the customers back, the panel noted, saying that the time has come to connect with the next generation of “Scentennials,” by offering fragrances and experiences that they can relate to and enjoy. They also urged dropping the negative term, “synthetic,” and presenting “eau molecules,” as an alternative, within a technologically derived scent context.

Eau Space denoted the future of fragrance, which would be expressed in stores via lifestyle stories and moods, rather than brand names; and Eau Bars would be attended by Certified Fragrance Specialists that could offer direction, as well as opportunity to be immersed in “Fragrance Pods,” where customers would be transported virtually to lavender fields, hear directly from a perfumer, arrange a fragrance class or workshop, or book a flight to Grasse!

The subject of Retail came next, with a musical video admonition to the tune of Malvina Reynolds’ Little Boxes, a tuneful discourse on the drab nature of sameness. Fragrance needs to be antithetical to the concept of “little boxes on the hillside, made of ticky-tacky, and all looking the same…” Indeed, the point of the presentation, introduced by Michele Serro, practice leader, IDEO, New York, and presented by Group Leader, Yumiko Nishikawa, and Maura Cannon, Jennifer Marino, and Denee Pearson, emphasized the need to entice, engage and entertain. To evolve retail, it is important to understand that the days of excessive shopping are over, and retailers must employ better means of communication, embrace change, and provide digital services, which offer tangible results.

Among the latest practices cited were the “I-Runway,” where brands can be accessed and purchased on personal electronic devices, or the availability of experiential shopping experiences.

According to the panel, “Retailers must cater to the behavior of millennials, who say, ‘show me, don’t tell me,’ and provide the tools, as well as honesty and transparency, to help the new customers connect. Let consumers sit in the driver’s seat, utilize phone applications and connect with a broad spectrum of consumers with ‘Click and Brick’ touch points.”

They urged that every possible touch point be utilized, from traditional retail to social media, and that they must be integrated, reminding attendees, “Remember, no one wants to be a little box on the hillside.”

The Future of Leadership, introduced by Carlotta Jacobson, president, Cosmetic Executive Women, presented Marixsa Rodriguez, group leader, and Carly Guerra, Lea Koussolis, and Caroline Ornst, who emphasized community, agility, information flow, whole brain approaches, co-creation, and collaboration in the new workplace. The Future of Beauty, introduced by Lezlee Westine, president, Personal Care Products Council, featured group leader, Nichole Kirtley, and group members, Marta Cammarano, Mariangela Gisonda, Jennifer King, and Beatriz Loizillon. Interestingly, this session debunked the myth of the “superwoman,” and framed the concept of beauty in a more pragmatic way, rooting it in reality and personal identity.

“Today’s woman embraces her perfectly imperfect self,” noted Cammarano. It was foretold that the woman of the future wants to have a real conversation between brands, seeking the products that reflect her unique beauty needs.

Clearly, the future will demand new interaction and a reciprocal dialogue to keep apace with the changing consumer population. The students also emphasized the need for the new beauty to support responsibility, safety, and sustainability, urging philanthropy, intelligent consumption, and education.

In addition to this year’s Scholarship Awards, honors were awarded in the following categories. Phebe Farrow Port, Senior Vice President, Global Management Strategies, Estée Lauder Companies, presented the Faculty Leadership Award to Pamela Vaile.

Outstanding Leadership Award, presented by Shashi Batra, president, Victoria’s Secret, went to Marixsa Rodriguez; and the Department Medal Award, presented by Mark Polson, executive director, innovation/business development, Estée Lauder Companies, was awarded to Yumiko Nishikawa.

Stephan Kanlian, chairperson and associate professor, Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing and Management, concluded the presentation, noting, “It truly takes a village to put together a program like this, which travels to three continents, and enables us to share alumni and student talents with you.”

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