Beauty Brand Fresh Partners With Bachelor's Students in Capstone Course
In their senior capstone course taught by Ashley Vilgiate and Tina Perez, students in the Bachelor of Science in Beauty Business Management Program were paired with top New York beauty brands to work on real-world projects specific to their business needs. Over the course of two quarters, the brands (Dior, Fresh, NARS, Indie Lee, Victoria’s Secret, Givaudan, and Pink) have been meeting online once a month with the students to check on progress, provide feedback, and oversee next steps. The students will be traveling to New York, March 20-23, to present their final projects to the beauty brands. We caught up with Team Fresh (FIDM Students Mollie Mayer, Sofia Pelletiere, and Rachel Kwon) to learn more about their project.
Briefly describe the Fresh project you're working on: The project that we are working on for Fresh is to develop an influencer marketing strategy that resonates specifically with the Gen Z consumer, focusing our efforts on TikTok to deliver educational content that demonstrates Fresh’s values of efficacy and high quality skincare.
What kind of research are you doing? For the first phase of our project, which took place last quarter, we focused on gathering both primary and secondary research on the Gen Z consumer shopping habits/values to better understand how Fresh can communicate with this audience. Our group thought it was most helpful to conduct our own survey and focus group to understand the Gen Z consumer’s path to purchase. The survey we did was a lot more general in terms of shopping behaviors, while our focus group allowed us to gather really valuable and detailed insight specifically when it comes to shopping for beauty products in-store and online. Our secondary research consisted of trend reports from WGSN and Mintel (which as a FIDM student we have access to on the portal), as well as recent studies and large consumer-based surveys. Because TikTok blew up just recently, there is not a lot of analytic data that we can reference. This means that we are often scrolling on the app ourselves to gain first-hand insight, inspiration, and knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work.
What are some of the things you're learning about as you work on this project with Fresh? Since we are considered Gen Z ourselves, a lot of the information we have been putting together has been from our own experience and perspective when it comes to finding the most effective ways to market skincare products on TikTok. However, through this process we have learned that there are very specific strategies that need to be implemented in order to fit a specific brand image, like Fresh. A challenge that we have been faced with is keeping an elevated tone/visual while working on such a casual, organic, and unfiltered platform like TikTok.
What kind of feedback has Fresh provided? So far we have gotten great feedback from Fresh in response to our first research phase. Something that stood out to us was the fact that they said our presentation skills were very professional and that we gave actionable takeaways that they can start to implement when marketing to Gen Z. Based on our conversations, the Fresh team has learned a lot from us coming from Gen Z consumers ourselves.
What is it like collaborating with your teammates? Although our teams were assigned randomly, we work great together! Since we are all still remote, our collaborations have consisted through impromptu Facetime calls, group messaging, and team meetings with our instructor. We each have our own interests and backgrounds in the industry, so the combination of our creativity and ideas really work well together.
What kind of real-world industry experience are you gaining in this project? For this project specifically, we are working as if Fresh is our client. We have had the opportunity to guide communication when it comes to scheduling our meetings with Fresh, gathering feedback, and asking questions when needed. This project is a great experience for us as students as it has been preparing us for what we can expect as we enter a career in the industry.
When will you be giving your final presentation to Fresh? We will be presenting our final project to Fresh at their headquarters in New York City at the end of March. We have been looking forward to this trip since we started the program at FIDM and we are so happy it is finally happening. We can’t wait to meet the Fresh team, explore New York City, and finally reunite with our classmates after 2 years of remote classes.
Born in California and raised in Texas, Mollie Mayer attended Centennial High School in Frisco, TX, before returning to California to pursue her A.A in Beauty Marketing & Product Development from FIDM. She is now on track to graduate this year with her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Beauty Business Management. "My career goal is to work in marketing or product development in the beauty industry," said Mollie. "FIDM’s beauty program is specifically designed for the industry. I get hands-on experience and first hand knowledge of what companies are looking for. I have been passionate about makeup since I was 16 and attending FIDM has opened up different directions I would not have the opportunity to explore had I gone to a University. The classes have taught me about influencing consumer behavior, marketing, branding and merchandising that I will use in my future career. FIDM opened the door for me to be able to work directly with Fresh and prepare me for real-world projects."
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Sofia Pelletiere attended Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, MA. She earned her A.A in Beauty Marketing & Product Development and will graduate this year with her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Beauty Business Management. "My career goals for when I graduate is to work in product development in the beauty industry, specifically for a brand that values sustainability, transparency, and clean formulations," Sofia explained. "When deciding where to attend college, FIDM stood out to me because of how focused the program was in the industry. Something I value about my education is how well it translates into my career. With my current internship, I have found it so helpful that I understand terms that are industry specific, that I would not know about if it weren’t for my FIDM classes. I always feel that I have an advantage because of my FIDM journey as I have that experience of doing real-world projects with a team in almost every class - like this one with Fresh!"
Born in Saipan (CNMI), Rachel Kwon moved to San Diego, California, in high school and attended University City High School. They earned their A.A Beauty Marketing & Product Development and will graduate this year with their Bachelor's of Science Degree in Beauty Business Management. "My career goal after I graduate is to work in product marketing or product development in the beauty industry for brands that have a focus in inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability," they said. "FIDM has helped me prepare for the beauty industry by giving different opportunities to work directly with brands and with instructors that have experience in the industry. The FIDM beauty courses are also very focused on the beauty industry itself, and have been very helpful in giving me the background and understanding I need for internships and industry projects."