Industry Insiders: FIDM Interviews the Founders of Custom Fragrance Brand, Pastiche

Husband and wife duo Dana and Bill Knees of the custom perfume company, Pastiche, visited FIDM as guest speakers for college students at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising studying Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing.

In André Barnwell's Fundamentals of Fragrance class, the founders spoke with students about their brand and how they market their custom fragrances. Below, get some tips from these beauty industry pros, and read the full interview on the FIDM Blog.

(FIDM) Describe the difference between top, middle, and base notes:

(Dana and Bill Knees): “We don’t really go into top, middle and base notes at Pastiche. We talk more about our fragrances as blends. We are about presenting a blend and determining if you love it. We keep things simple. I either like it or I don’t and move on. We also make it simple to put things together, in order not to overwhelm the person who is smelling. We often compare our process to tasting food. I like it or not, I like it more if I add this or that. Simple, yet fun. Not complex.”

Why are department store fragrances so expensive?

There is overhead for retail space and salaries to be paid. Like everything, prices go up every year. Large companies are concerned about the bottom line profit. It needs to be a money maker so often they take steps to reduce quality.”

Any advice for students pursuing careers in beauty?

Network, network, network. Be genuinely interested in people. Ask what they do and be curious. This will help you to figure out what interests you. Never forget to ask how you can help them. Success in life comes from people who help one another. It's not all about me. Get as much actual, pertinent job experience as you can. Relevant work experience is key.”

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For more than 45 years, FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising has been educating students with creative and leadership skills for the global industries of fashion, visual arts, interior design, and entertainment. Visit us at to learn more.

Categories: Career Advice, College Career Advice, Entrepreneurship, Job Advice