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Inside Avon: Meet Ray Mauro, Fragrance Brand Manager

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Inside Avon: Meet Ray Mauro, Fragrance Brand Manager

Name: Ray Mauro

Role: Fragrance Brand Manager  

Growing up, Ray Mauro’s home was stocked with a variety of men’s and women’s fragrances. His father spent 50 years working in corporate sales for Estée Lauder and consistently brought home samples. At a young age, Ray was able to test out different scents and developed a passion and appreciation for fragrance.

“I was evaluating personal care products before I even knew what I was doing,” he says. “I said I want to be involved in making these products.”

Now, Ray has spent more than 23 years creating products for leading beauty and fragrance brands. Throughout his career, he’s worked his way up from assisting a product developer to managing his own category and team. Let’s take a look at Ray’s journey to become Avon’s Fragrance Brand Manager.

Ray studied marketing and communications in college then, with his dad’s help, landed an internship at Estée Lauder in New York City. After college, Ray got his first job as an administrative assistant to the Vice President of Product Development at skin care brand, Origins.  In this role, Ray was exposed to all beauty categories—skin care, makeup, personal care, fragrance, etc., and learned the ins and outs of product development. Ray’s next career move came naturally, when his boss accepted a new position at a major beauty company and invited him to come work with her. 

“She said to me, ’come with me and I’ll give you your own line of products to manage,’” he said.

In this new role at lingerie and beauty brand Victoria’s Secret, Ray had the opportunity to develop products for the first time and honed his expertise in women’s fragrances.  He also received weekly training in fragrance development, in which he studied raw materials and ingredient combinations and learned how to speak like a perfumer.  Not only did Ray learn important fragrance vocabulary, but he also learned how to edit a fragrance and adapt it to fit the desired brand.

“That’s what’s part of product development—taking a fragrance and making it better,” he explains.

After 11 years at Victoria’s Secret, Ray spent a little under 3 years crafting luxury fragrances for Jo Malone before landing his role at Avon. He’s now been at Avon for 3.5 years and is extremely happy in the position.

“Everything aligned the way it was supposed to for this to happen,” he says. “I’ve been in bliss floating on cloud nine ever since I came on board.” 

One of the first major fragrances Ray created at Avon was Live Out Loud Eau de Parfum, a sweet fruity blend that exudes confidence and independence.

“I really wanted to channel a more modern and younger customer,” Ray says. And Live Out Loud is the epitome of youth and vibrancy.

Since joining Avon, Ray has also developed the Studio 1886 Legendary fragrances, the LYRD Artisan collection and Avon Senses. “There is not one fragrance that I’ve developed here that I’m upset about,” he says.

Ray spends his days in meetings, conceptualizing new fragrances and communicating cross-functionally with marketing and merchandising about new launches. Communication is one of the key aspects of Ray’s position, and he uses his communication degree daily. Whether he’s telling different teams about deadlines and milestones, presenting a PowerPoint with a new product concept, or in meetings with the perfumers, Ray is always communicating.

Pre-pandemic, Ray would visit fragrance houses in person to test out scents and make changes before finalizing them, but the pandemic has changed the development process to be almost completely virtual. Not to mention, the production process also takes longer, as factories are operating at minimum capacity.

“The biggest challenge is the one-on-one fragrance testing,” Ray says, but he and his team have adapted. Rather than test out the fragrances in person, Ray receives samples in the mail nearly every day, and is on a first-name basis with his delivery guy.

Testing products on an audience is another aspect that’s changed. When working in the office, Ray would allow 100 Avon employees to test each fragrance and give their feedback. Today, Ray tests the fragrances on his wife and kids, but his wife, who has a discerning eye for scents, is the main guinea pig.

“She will only wear a fragrance if she likes how it makes her feel,” he says.

When she gives positive feedback, Ray knows that he’s onto something good.

“The part that gives you goosebumps is when someone smells that fragrance and you see it come to life,” he says. “If I can do that, I’ve made a successful fragrance.”

Ray is passionate about every aspect of his job and feels lucky that he gets to constantly create and evaluate fragrances. His favorite part about fragrances is that each one tells a unique story and evokes its own vibe.

 “Fragrance is about eliciting a mood,” he says. “It should inspire you and it should spark a piece of nostalgia.” “A fragrance is meant to take you on a journey.”

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