Despite the disdain for free market principles on many campuses, some colleges are sniffing out potential profits in custom fragrances.
When word got out in June that Texas A&M University was coming out with its own brand of fragrances this fall, students and alumni took to Twitter to suggest some scents. Among them: “Bat Feces” and “Chilifest Stink.”
But for Masik Collegiate Fragrances, the New York company that developed the school’s cologne and perfume, Texas A&M conjures something more aromatic. It describes the men’s fragrance as “refreshing top notes of Italian lemon, bergamot and iced pineapple” that open into “a body of vivid florals, raw nutmeg and cinnamon.”
The scent, Masik says, seeks to capture the “timeless honor of Aggie traditions” and the “crazed adoration of Aggie maroon,” one of the school colors.
Though some might associate college with olfactory assaults like stale beer and sweaty locker rooms, more schools smell opportunity in bottling a signature scent. Masik released fragrances for six other schools this fall, including the University of Kentucky and Clemson University, bringing its total lineup to 17 colleges, with more on the way, says chief executive Katie Masich.
The University of Notre Dame also came out with a scent this fall, produced by the Cloudbreak Group, which created a cologne and a perfume for the New York Yankees that the company says garnered nearly $10 million in retail sales in 2012.
The fragrances are only the latest in a litany of products colleges are hawking under their brands to students, alumni and die-hard sports fans. At Louisiana State University, the list includes garden gnomes, fishing lures and musical bottle openers—not to mention onesies and caskets. “We have licensed products literally from cradle to grave,” says Brian Hommel, director of trademark licensing at LSU, which began selling fragrances by Masik in 2009.