Masik Collegiate Fragrances was founded by CEO, Katie Masik, in 2008. A Chemical Engineering graduate from Bucknell University, she spent the early part of her career in the energy industry. However, an entrepreneur at heart, she grew restless after several years and was ready for a change.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved perfume. Even as a little girl, I’d spend hours smelling perfumes in our local department store. In a way, I guess that early obsession contributed to my dream of starting a fragrance line. Over the years, most fragrances I had seen celebrated fashion designers and celebrities, but wanted to take a different angle and somehow create more individualized fragrances celebrating a part of all of us. I just didn’t know exactly how…
Also, I am fascinated by the scientific link between scent, memory and emotion ~ for some, maybe freshly cut grass sparking an instant memory of little league or a stranger’s cologne reminding oneself of a high school crush. I got to thinking about my own memorable life experiences; in particular, my college experience at Bucknell University ~ my friends, professors, campus in the winter, the Bison, the Bull Run, the smell of leaves on a fall night, walking through the quad to the library, lugging my heavy engineering books in my backpack… And, most recently, that chilling feeling I get every time I return ~ cresting that hill on Route 15 in Pennsylvania and seeing that seemingly magical place from years ago.
Like myself, the college experience is a memorable and emotional one for many people. It holds a special place in our heart, an experience like no other - an unrivaled love affair that spans a lifetime…
One day, it sort of just hit me as I was brainstorming fragrance ideas that could be inspired by a special memory. COLLEGE, I thought! My fragrance idea was simple - to create different signature scent men’s and women’s fragrances for universities - a celebration of college and a unique way for alumni and fans to show school spirit. However, I didn’t want to put just any fragrance in a bottle and call it the school’s official scent. Who was I to make that call? Instead, I wanted the scents to be special and inspired by elements such as school colors, campus style, flowers and trees, traditions and location. I also thought it was important for the schools to be involved in the process – from the initial fragrance inspiration brief, to smelling the custom scents and selecting their favorite ones.
My family - my brother Andrew, my Mom and my Dad agreed and together we created Masik Collegiate Fragrances in 2008. I had no background in fragrances, the collegiate industry or licensing, for that matter, so I spent months researching and preparing my pitch. Once I was ready, I cold called fragrance houses in NYC telling them I had a unique idea but that I couldn't tell them what it was unless they took a meeting with me. Yes, I was a paranoid entrepreneur. Most of them either hung up or told me to call back when I was a little older (apparently I sounded like a “high school student” on the phone!). Finally, after a lot of pleading, one agreed to meet with me and I took the next train to NYC. I presented the concept of collegiate fragrances to a boardroom full of fragrance industry experts. No pressure. At the close of my presentation, the room was quiet and the VP finally said he loved the idea and “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Everyone agreed. What a sigh of relief!
Although my Bucknell experience was the inspiration for the line, I knew a school with a large alumni and fan base was best to test the idea. Penn State became that school per a suggestion from my Mom. We grew up in PA. From here, I somehow convinced Penn State to meet with me. Initially, I was faced with some apprehension (and sure jokes about some not so appealing college smells!) but once they saw the detailed formulation process and that the scents would be inspired by their university AND they would be involved from formulation to scent selection, they got on board. The University of North Carolina followed..
Over the past few years, we have has partnered with schools in the Southeast and Southwest to expand the collection. This year, we have expanded our team and will be launching 17 schools this fall. Many more schools across the country are in the works! We also are developing new products to add to the collection.
My hope is that these official scents will someday remind people of the past - long after days on campus come to an end, alumni and fans can smell that special scent and be reminded of that special time – the campus, the sporting events, the traditions and most of all, the memories…
Thank you for supporting us. Hope to see and smell you soon!