NARS Partners With Beauty Business Management 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 20-25, to present their final projects to the beauty brands. We caught up with student Lizi Jones on Team NARS to learn more about her project.
Born and raised in Carlsbad, California, Lizi Jones graduated from SCVI, Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School. In March 2020, she completed her Associate of Arts degree at FIDM for Beauty Marketing & Product Development.
What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you prepare for the industry? There are so many opportunities within the beauty industry and FIDM has opened a lot of doors for me. I have a great interest in marketing, particularly with copywriting and PR and would love to pursue a career within those fields. The courses FIDM offers give you a behind-the-scenes look at the beauty industry; we get to participate in a lot of hands-on projects and work directly with brands. It's a really unique experience and you gain a lot of insight into the opportunities within beauty.
Briefly describe the NARS project you're working on: For this project I am paired with three of my peers, Bella Lecrichia, Rajneet Kaur, and Kayla Clinton. Our assignments come directly from the brand, and NARS has tasked us with creating a new product line that aligns with the clean and sustainable beauty movements. We’re collaborating with NARS Global Product Development Manager Stephanie Skorka, and are working on everything from product concepts to vendor selection, marketing strategies, and retail launches.
What is it like collaborating with your teammates—Bella Lecrichia, Rajneet Kaur, and Kayla Clinton? Because the beauty program is so small, we’ve all known each other for a few years now so it’s great to already have that established relationship. We all have different perspectives and interests within beauty which has allowed us to really build a comprehensive strategy and think outside of the box.
What kind of research are you doing? We have conducted a lot of research over the course of this project that touches on a lot of different topics. One of our main focuses is market research on both the United States and Asia. We learned from Stephanie that NARS Cosmetics takes an Asia-first approach to development and marketing, as this is such a huge market for them. We’ve learned so much about how a brand is launched and all the important steps and departments that contribute to it. I think as a consumer we don’t realize just how much goes into that blush or lipstick we pick up from the Sephora shelf.
What are some of the things you're learning about as you work on this project with NARS? This assignment has given us the opportunity to put a lot of our learned skills to use and grow beyond a classroom environment. It’s a very involved project and has given us a clearer look at the industry and the many responsibilities within it. I think personally one of the main lessons I’ve learned is how important it is to understand your brand. If you don’t have a thorough understanding of the history, mission, values, etc, you could come across as insincere. For NARS, they have a really rich history and confident brand message and it was important for us to immerse ourselves in that so we could write in their voice and uphold their legacy.
What kind of feedback has NARS provided? Stephanie has been so great in providing us with guidance and feedback on our presentations. She’s really helped us zero in on our goals and have a strong grasp on the NARS brand. She loved the direction we’re going in for this proposed launch and gave us some great suggestions like hosting a launch event, bringing on brand ambassadors, and reminding us to think big and bold.
What kind of real-world industry experience are you gaining in this project? This project is essentially how new brands and products are launched in the beauty industry. We are getting experience in a lot of different roles including marketing, product development, operations, creative, and more! Having the chance to work directly with Stephanie Skorka and the NARS brand has given us a lot of industry insight and first-hand knowledge.
When will you be giving your final presentation to NARS in New York? The whole class is traveling to New York together at the end of this month, from March 20-25. Our team will be presenting on the 23rd!
Anything else you’d like to share? This project is no small task; it's more involved than we’ve ever been before! It’s a very hands-on experience that has helped me gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the beauty industry and I’m super grateful for the opportunity to work with one of the most iconic brands, NARS.