Before Perfumery moved from the H-building to their new home in the N-building, there was a brief period where our little CMS and Trenz team was on the verge of something big. Alice had given us permission to turn the marketing department’s little library room in the back into an actual studio for the designers. Nobody ever could give me a straight answer as to what the S in CMS actually stood for, but as far as I was concerned it was all Studio. With the added space, I was given the approval to bring on another designer. This would not only double my head count but, in turn, it would make Jaime a manager and enable her to become a full-fledged member of the Trenz team, as its designer in residence. It was an HR responsibility to find the right candidate, and they did all their vetting by reading resumés sent to a P.O. box in Princeton. It only took one interview for me to know this was a bad idea. Introduced to me as Richard, he sat down across from me as I immediately put the face to the name. “I had you at Kean, right?,” he asks me. “As a matter of fact you did Rich. And, now, get the fuck outta here.” He too, never even got to show his portfolio to apply for a job at Firmenich.
Jaime said she knew a guy from her alma mater, TCNJ, who would be great to bring in. When Matthew Accardo showed up, I hired him on the spot. It was getting harder and harder to find graphic designers who knew how to draw. To be actually able to draw something with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper was becoming an artisanal skill in the new era of full-on, desktop publishing and digital creation. To me this is a terrible handicap, equivalent to the loss of one of your senses. A good lookin’ skinny kid from Staten Island, he reminds me of George Harrison but with that slightly curly, jet black Italian hair and a Mediterranean face to go with his polished portfolio of both digital and original, hand-drawn cosmic art. He occasionally played the bass in a jazz-prog band, and was into Radiohead, The Beatles, and yoga, but it was his creative energy, as an artist, that I was most intrigued by. I hadn’t seen or felt the likes of that since the days of Yishai or even Zig, and now, with Jaime, we had a CMS not to be reckoned with. But being like-minded proved to be too good to be true.