About This Video
Peg Smith Interview, 1995 March 14
Coordinator for the Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing Program at the time of this interview, Peg Smith joined FIT as a part-time professor in the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Department (FBM) in 1977. She came with a background in buying and merchandising for large companies such as Bloomingdale’s. Smith came on full-time in 1981 and, in 1988, was offered chairmanship of the burgeoning 4-year Bachelor of Science degree in Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing. She discusses the history of the program. Dean Jack Rittenberg asked Hazel Bishop to found the program and she formulated the original curriculum which was primarily science-based. Smith details close working relationships with the Industry that have helped the program thrive, especially thanks to the efforts of Annette Green, who formed the Action Council for their department. Smith talks about the benefits of their mentorship program, which was the first at the college. She discusses various funding sources such as a luncheon during Fragrance Week wherein they netted $90,000 in scholarship money for their students in 1994. She also discusses the industry support that has allowed for the Gladys Marcus Library to purchase relevant materials as well as the funding brought in by the Action Council to build the Annette Green Fragrance Foundation Studio in 1994. She talks about changes in the curriculum over time and how she remains connected to the Industry to stay current. The department had recently added a fine arts course, a social science elective, and now requires French. Smith is hoping the department will be removed from their larger marketing umbrella so that they can continue their growth. Smith states that their industry has always been globally-minded, given that essential oils are sourced from all over the world. Each year they take their students on a summer study in the United Kingdom and France. Smith details their site visits at Estee Lauder, Revlon, Givenchy, Hermes, and L'Oreal as well as visits to family-owned essential oil houses in the south of France. Thanks to further grants, most of their students are able to go on this trip. Smith then talks about the demographics of her students and alumni placement. Finally, she discusses changes in the industry and the cosmetic industry’s need to diversify their market.
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