A powerful scent can evoke potent memories and capture the essence of past experiences. At Masik Collegiate Fragrances, a New York City-based perfume company, the link between scent and memory serves as the formula for a collection of perfumes and colognes. The company creates custom aromatic blends to capture the distinct college experience of different universities.
Collegiate fragrances are among the latest products aimed at college students, adding to the growing market of university-branded merchandise. Students, alumni and fans are no longer limited to sweatshirts and bumper stickers to show their support — for $39.50, they can smell like the schools, too.
Katie Masik, founder and CEO of Masik Collegiate Fragrances, explained the fragrance formulation process on the company’s website. Masik works closely with each university to develop its signature scent. The cologne and perfume are inspired by various sensory stimuli on campus, such as the university’s colors, landmarks and traditions.
Since being founded in 2008, the Masik brand has established partnerships with 20 universities, including University of Georgia and University of Florida. The company targets colleges with a built-in market for their product — those with strong school spirit, a large alumni network and a fan base. The collection is mostly made up of colleges in the Southeast, where many students tend to be defined by their pride and passion for their school, sports teams and campus traditions.
Though Masik continues to expand its collection, the company is unlikely to partner with NYU to create a signature scent for the university. It is more practical and profitable to focus on schools that have a greater influence on students’ style, rather than schools like NYU, whose students see their city surroundings as a greater inspiration. Masik’s unique product marketing allows the fragrances to stand out from other university-branded gear. However, students at NYU tend to show diversity without defining themselves with Violet apparel and Bobcat merchandise.
Gallatin junior Arianne Aparicio said while the concept behind the fragrances is great because familiar scents can effectively recall memories, students and alumni may not want to smell like their schools.
“The idea would be more successful if it was like an incense, so you didn’t have to wear the smell,” Aparicio said.
Masik’s signature scents can conjure up the cherished memories of one’s own college experience, but NYU students are likely to reject the idea of infusing their personal style with the aromas of Washington Square Park.
While Masik’s contribution to college beauty and fashion trends has intrigued universities with a fervent student body and fan base, it is possible that the company will flounder if it tries to expand beyond its current niche.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 30 print edition. Cicek Erel is creative director. Email her at [email protected]