Online Exclusives

Beauty for All

By Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor | May 24, 2011

Fashion Institute of Technology's Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing and Management grads explain how to get the industry growing again.

The 2011 graduating class of the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree program in Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing and Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) tackled the trends, technologies and customer needs of the beauty industry. Each year, students in the Capstone presentation program, now in its eleventh year, research and forecast growth concepts within a specific area of the beauty industry. This year’s presentation, held last month at FIT’s Haft Auditorium, focused on Beauty For All: Innovations in Mass Retail.


The theme, which consisted of three presentations, addressed Prestige, Naturals and Cosmeceuticals, and Bridging Beauty and Fashion Students looked at the links between categories, crossover possibilities, and leveraging trends for consumer satisfaction. Beauty For All: Innovations in Mass Retail was sponsored by Target, which provided support for the students in their educational research and experience. Throughout the semester, executives from Target challenged the FIT graduate students to research trends and customer needs in a variety of industries and demonstrate how they could be applied to mass beauty.

Steve Mormoris, Sr. Vice President, Global Marketing-Beauty, Coty, Inc.; Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President, Fashion Institute of Technology; Stephan Kanlian, Chair, FIT Master’s Program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management.

The result was an indication of how the students utilized new merchandising and retailing concepts, including luxury market presentations, as well as the burgeoning wellness culture, to creatively capture the nature of today’s marketplace. FIT’s Master’s Degree program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management is an industry-focused graduate business degree program for midlevel working professionals, and also serves as a think tank for the cosmetics and fragrance industries. A stellar faculty of both academics and industry professionals provide pedagogic balance and industry expertise for the program.



Laurie Lam, chairperson, MPS Alumni Association, director of marketing, L’Oréal Professionel, acknowledged her pleasure in being part of an industry think tank, the inspiration for which began when she was a student in the MPS program at FIT.


Graduates with Dr. Brooke Carlson, left to right, Lindsay Novellano, Pei Wong, Anahita Mekanik, Davin Homsey, Evelyn Lu, and Dr. Brooke Carlson, Prof. Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management.

“The Think Tank at FIT is the heart of the program, with research, predictions, recommendations and ideas, central to its core,” said Lam. She discussed student initiatives including the study of luxury concepts, authenticity, and localization, citing former students’ experiences in China, as well as the importance of heritage and innovation, and a global study of the luxury consumer.

Further, she elaborated on the themes of wellness and sustainability, and the evening’s major subject, how to utilize prestige trends in mass retail. Lam discussed the importance in today’s market of Twitter and social media strategies, addressed re-branding strategies, and noted the place of inspiration in changing the face of the industry today.

“Sometimes Capstone is about trends and ideas and sometimes it’s about inspiration,” said Lam, citing the theme of the 2010 graduates, who developed a vision for the future of leadership in the year 2020, called inc@the beauty company of 2020. This concept promoted community, agility, and sustainability in the workplace, focusing on a people-centric culture. Inspired by this concept, Repêchage built an entirely new office environment with shared, flexible, mobile workspaces, with executives centrally located around the activities of each department. The company experienced a nearly 110% increase in their sales turnover compared to the prior year, attributing much of this success to the new office concept and “tribal culture

Stephanie Dishart, left, winner of the Outstanding Scholar Award, with Dr. Brooke Carlson.

Dr. Joyce Brown, president, FIT, acknowledged the accomplishments of the students, noting that the 170 program alumni, including this year’s graduates, have had and will continue to have great success in the industry. More than 30 have reached the VP level at L’Oréal, Bare Escentuals, Coty and other companies. Brown said the program helps to create and shape forward looking programs, links industry and academia, and also collaborates with professional organizations in the industry, including The Fragrance Foundation.

According to Will Setliff, VP-marketing, Target, this year’s program has contributed its thinking to remodeling the beauty shopping experience, drawing on wellness trends, fashion and beauty alignments, and the value proposition that drives the industry


Enticing the Consumer

Students offered suggestions for consumer enticement drawing on the prestige environment, the popularity of wellness and sustainability, and the link between beauty and fashion. Foremost was the importance of connectivity with students emphasizing the need to offer beauty customers curated assortments, in seasonal environments, that make shopping in store convenient and interesting. A prestige-type experience could be enhanced with personalized experiences at the counter, including access to an iPad virtual system to try different makeup looks, and to browse related offerings. In addition, beauty events, like Fashion’s Night Out, might inspire a First Friday event, offering specific makeup collections; or pop up stores, and beauty and fashion partnerships on HSN, for example.

Among the ideas suggested to enhance the consumer experience was the concept of the electronic virtual stylist to help consumers who are shopping online, as well as flash site sales. Connectivity driven commerce was at the forefront of the evening’s presentation, with electronic checklists, including bloggers, Facebook, and social commerce utilization as ways to enhance sales, as well as the nature of the shopping experience itself.

In the area of wellness, students noted the need for simple solutions, a wellness authority, and the potential for a total diagnostic experience at retail. This space could provide skin care products, diet and supplement products and suggestions, a beauty bar, with rotating services and brands each month. This could build credibility through education and product selection in a specialized, yet mass environment. Students also suggested that these wellness centers could offer products by theme, for example, energizing shampoos, moisturizers, and fragrance, to convey a specific product’s purpose and address consumer need. Wellness, maintained the students, should not be “eco-babble,” but more about the conscious consumption of products and lifestyle choices that make consumers feel good. They offered the concept of “Swellness,” a wellness solution approach that would enable mass retailers to become wellness authorities, bringing back the feel good factor for consumers.

Students noted that consumers are in control today, and that retailers must be everywhere to connect with them.

Jane Hertzmark Hurdis and Dr. Brooke Carlson

“Neuro-emotional connectivity is the key to offering prestige value in the mass environment,” said presenters, and product assortments must reflect the interests and emotions of a fast-paced consumer environment.


Jane Hertzmark Hudis, global brand President, Estée Lauder, who presented the Faculty Leadership Award, to Dr. Brooke Carlson, Assistant Professor, Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing and Management, said, “The hero product becomes the engine that energizes the brand.” Her comment reiterated the student’s emphasis on selling emotion and heritage to connect with consumers.


The students concluded that prestige and mass can co-exist in the right environment, by engaging the consumer with customized initiatives, relevant promotions, and personalized product options. Whether virtual beauty stylists, digital connectivity, or wellness centers for everyone, building bridges of connectivity remains key to the mass environment.


Stephan Kanlian, chairperson, FIT Master’s Program, presided over the Graduation Awards ceremony, following the Capstone presentation, which included the presentation of special awards to students and faculty. Dr. Brooke Carlson, assistant professor, FIT Master’s program, presented the Scholarship Awards to six students who had maintained an average of 3.9 or above. Shashi Batra, president, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, congratulated the class of 2011 and presented the Victoria’s Secret Beauty Award for Outstanding Leadership, to Kadi Thompson. Janet Hertzmark Hudis, global brand president, Estée Lauder, presented the Lauder Companies Faculty Leadership Award to Dr. Brooke Carlson, and Professor Stephan Kanlian presented the Department Medal Award to L’Oreal’s Stephanie Dishart.

Additional information about the Master’s Degree Program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management may be found at:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Burgeoning Beauty

    Burgeoning Beauty

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||January 4, 2016
    A look at trailblazers for 2016 and beyond.

  • Testing for Sustainable Preservatives

    Adam P. Byrne, William Michael Hart-Cooper, Kaj Johnson, Larry H. Stanker, Dominic W. S. Wong, William J. Orts||January 4, 2016
    A rapid, inexpensive and qualitative protocol for determining microbial growth inhibition.

  • Cleansing Conditioners

    Cleansing Conditioners

    Denise Costrini and Christophe Toumit , Croda Personal Care North America||December 2, 2015
    Relying on consumer data, Croda researchers detail the drivers behind these successful formulas.

  • Witch

    Witch's Brew: Dickinson's celebrates milestone in 2016

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 1, 2016
    Dickinson’s celebrates 150 years of witch hazel skin care with the biggest line expansion in the company’s history.

  • From Research to Retail

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||February 1, 2016
    What began as research on skin disorders led a dermatologist and his father to create their own skin care formulas.

  • 5 Things I Learned

    5 Things I Learned

    January 15, 2016
    The Avon & Women’s Dermatologic Society Mentorship Program. Dr. Sabrina Fabi (left) and Dr. Kimberly Jerdan.

  • Perfect Timing

    Perfect Timing

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 11, 2016
    New ways of collecting data can help cosmetics companies understand what women really want—and when they want it.

  • When a Cosmetic Becomes a Drug

    When a Cosmetic Becomes a Drug

    Jacqueline Sheridan, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP||January 11, 2016
    The unintentional conversion of personal care products through marketing.

  • Africa, Rising

    Africa, Rising

    December 14, 2015
    Savvy marketers should expand their operations on the continent, according to speakers at a WFFC seminar.

  • Color, Your World

    Color, Your World

    December 7, 2015
    A kaleidoscope of concepts was the conversation at a recent NYSCC symposium.

  • Play Misty for Me

    Play Misty for Me

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 30, 2015
    Body mists for men and women continue to be the hottest commodities in the mass fragrance market.

  • A Home of One’s Own

    A Home of One’s Own

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 23, 2015
    NeoStrata’s Exuviance has opened its first freestanding retail space, complete with on-site skin analysis and express treatment rooms.

  • Hitting a Wall(mart)

    Hitting a Wall(mart)

    November 9, 2015
    Walmart imposes slotting fees and that hurts a lot of Tier 2 and 3 FMCG companies.

  • That’s Quite an Achievement!

    That’s Quite an Achievement!

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||November 2, 2015
    The CEW honors seven beauty industry leaders.

  • What

    What's Not to Love?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 26, 2015
    The sun care category is rife with issues, but there’s a lot to like about it.

  • Sharp Competition

    Sharp Competition

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 26, 2015 signs a high-profile athlete to promote its growing direct-to-consumer razor and personal care business.

  • About a Boy

    About a Boy

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 19, 2015
    As a mom, Jenny Cupido wanted to solve her son’s skin issues. Now she’s raising an indie beauty brand too.

  • A Suite Deal

    A Suite Deal

    October 12, 2015
    Image Studios provides an innovative venue for beauty professionals seeking a new way to do business.

  • For Their Own Good

    For Their Own Good

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 29, 2015
    With a rich heritage and recognized formulation expertise, FC Sturtevant Company is moving into the consumer marketplace.

  • A Foothold in Foot Care

    A Foothold in Foot Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 22, 2015
    Treating feet right is the heart and soul of one Brooklyn-based company.

  • SK-II to the Rescue

    SK-II to the Rescue

    September 8, 2015
    A new formula targets microRNA, which a P&G researcher insists plays a key role in skin aging.

  • A Panoramic View

    A Panoramic View

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Assistant Editor||September 7, 2015
    ZSS takes a 360° approach to skin health.

  • It

    It's All in the Delivery

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Associate Editor||August 31, 2015
    AlureVé relies on pharmaceutical technology for its anti-aging skin care line.

  • A Brand of Its Own

    A Brand of Its Own

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 24, 2015
    Amyris creates its own skin care solution for consumers.

  • Eye on Korea

    Eye on Korea

    August 17, 2015
    At the Personal Care Conference in Shanghai there was distinct emphasis on beauty ideas from Korea.

  • No Coasting Here

    No Coasting Here

    August 12, 2015
    A Q&A with Coast Southwest CEO Joseph Cimo.

  • Game Face

    Game Face

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 3, 2015
    Meet the team behind Sweat Cosmetics, a new line of makeup built for more than a walk in the park.

  • Freedom To Formulate

    Freedom To Formulate

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 27, 2015
    What happens when you remove typical business constraints and let one of the industry’s leading chemists loose to formulate the best anti-aging product? Skyler Brand Ventures knows the answer.