Want a career in beauty marketing? When I first started out in the beauty industry, I had no idea about the different career opportunities available. I had graduated with a public relations certificate and landed a special events coordinator job with a downtown department store. I was immediately thrust into meetings with dozens of beauty company representatives discussing upcoming launches and promotions. I had no clue that there were so many different jobs behind-the-scenes. I met with training & education managers, public relations directors, account representatives and marketing managers. I wish I had known this when I was in school. They aren’t jobs you typically read about or hear about.
Giorgio Armani Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear Collection
For this reason, I’m running a series of interviews with beauty professionals in different areas of the business. These are individuals I really respect and have worked with for years. The message of each interview is that no matter your age or background, there are fascinating jobs in the beauty and fragrance industry.
I’m thrilled to be speaking with Maya Azzi this week. Maya is Senior Marketing Manager for Giorgio Armani Fragrances in Canada. She has one of the most interesting and exciting careers in the industry – working directly with the Giorgio Armani global team. She oversees how Armani fragrances are marketed in Canada – from billboards to digital media to gala events. It’s a job that combines finance, strategic thinking and creativity. She has been so generous to share her wisdom and advice.
Maya Azzi, Sr Marketing Manager, Giorgio Armani Fragrances
Dave: To start, tell us a little about what your job entails as Sr. Marketing Manager, L’Oreal Luxe.
Maya Azzi: I have the privilege to work on the Giorgio Armani fragrance brand at L’Oréal Luxe in Montreal. Armani is quite famous in fragrances with franchises like Acqua Di Gio and Armani Code for men. For ladies, we have the beautiful new addition of Armani Sì with Cate Blanchett. Therefore, my main responsibility is to ensure the success of the portfolio from existing products to new launches.
This year was particularly exciting since we launched in February the new Code Profumo featuring our spokesperson Chris Pine. I have to admit that I LOVE my job.
I have learned so much through the years on this brand. Mr. Armani is extremely involved in every aspect of the business and is obsessed with perfection. He has a remarkable work ethic
The Armani brand is one whose heart and soul lies, first and foremost, in fashion. Fashion best expresses the sensitivity and an aesthetic vision of Mr. Armani. Elegance is the main value and ultimate objective: Armani enhances people’s elegance by delivering beautiful, simple and quality products and I am happy to personally contribute to this mission.
Giorgio Armani Spring 2016 Ready-to-wear
D.L.: Describe a typical day in your life.
M.A.: The beauty of working at l’Oréal is that every day is 100% different. I know it sounds cliché but it’s true J One day you are working on a presentation to show your results to the president of L’Oréal Luxury worldwide that is in Canada for a visit and the next you are approving a visual that you will print to send to stores. My favourite task is defining the strategy behind the media planning: choosing the TV channels, magazines, and sponsorships for a particular launch. This is quite special and unique to this position.
D.L.: You have such an exciting job. Tell us what has been the most exciting moment for you so far?
M.A.: New fragrance launches are definitely the most fun. I work best when I have an objective and then I build the plan to achieve those results. Working on Code Profumo this year was especially exciting. The ad with Chris Pine was incredible! Just listening to the music from the ad automatically puts you in a great mood. We did special things this year with this launch such as a Bravo sponsorship of the TV show Suits. Armani Code is all about seduction: a sophisticated and seductive fragrance for a charismatic man. Then I was thinking: “Who is the most seductive and charismatic man on TV?” Of course Harvey Specter from Suits came to mind. Let’s be honest, he is the man desired by all women – it was the perfect TV fit. Next with Armani Code, we are sponsoring what I call the most glamorous event of year – it’s the annual Montréal Grand Prix evening at the Ritz Carlton on June 10th. A luxurious environment fit for Armani Code.
On the ladies business, my favorite project was on Armani Sì when we launched the “Say Sì to your dreams” contest in collaboration with ET Canada. Reading thousands of messages from Canadian women all across the country is a moment I will never forget.
D.L.: What is your background? What did you take in school and how did you get to this point in your career?
M.A.: This will come as a surprise: I started my career at Deloitte as an auditor. Deloitte is the number one accounting firm in Canada & working there had huge impact on my career. Deloitte provided me with the most important business skill: discipline. Believe it or not, it does help in a marketing job at L’Oréal. You have to show discipline with your budget, your clients, your team, etc. Also, when I was at Deloitte, I had the chance to fly to the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 to make sure the brand was well represented. I think that is the moment I fell for marketing because the following year in 2011 I joined the L’Oréal Group. I did an 8-month integration as a marketing trainee for La Roche-Posay (a dermatological skincare brand) and then moved in the luxury division on the Armani brand in 2012. For Armani, I first started my career on the beauty side launching the incredible Maestro foundation and then Rouge Ecstasy. On fragrances, I had the opportunity to launch Acqua Di Gio Profumo and Armani Sì Eau de toilette.
D.L.: I love that you prove that you can enter the beauty industry from a completely different industry. What advice do you have for someone young just starting out in their careers?
M.A.: My best career advice is to focus on your strengths; know what you are good at and make those assets indispensable for your team. You have to master an area of expertise and be the “genius” of it. This could be finance, social media, marketing – anything that you love and have a talent for. Next, surround yourselves with mentors! I meet with my mentors every three months. One of them was just named as Canada’s TOP 100 most powerful women. It can’t hurt to have tips and advice from very successful people. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals in the industry and ask if they would mentor you. This can really help you keep on track and motivate you.
D.L.:Tell us about your wonderful fragrance launch parties you host. They are incredible!
M.A.: We do put a lot of time into organizing them – thank you! The mission for these events is about creating a luxurious experience. Luxury is in the detail so you cannot imagine how much time is spent on the selection of the venue, the menu, the décor, the flowers, the lighting, the thickness and feel of the invitation, etc. I always say that you have to plan a fragrance launch event like if it’s your own wedding!
D.L.: How is social media changing your job and how you market fragrances?
M.A.: Of course social media is a game changer. Most importantly, for marketers today, it permits a much deeper and significant connection and engagement with our consumers. When an influencer creates a post, you can immediately read the comments and better understand what people are thinking and what the fragrance represents for them.
Social media is amazing for the world of fragrance because it’s another platform for us to share the story, especially in luxury; we have beautiful and powerful stories! I do search all kind of hashtags on my brand since I am curious as to what is being said about it (#codeprofumo or #saysi) and that is something we did not have access 5 years ago.
D.L.: What is it like to work on a designer brand like Armani? Is her really involved in the business?
M.A.: Mr. Armani is extremely involved. He decides everything: the name of the product, the color, the spokesperson, all infinite details are approved by him before they enter the market.
In 2016, he is personally involved in the new Sì Women’s Circle. It’s quite inspirational!
The Sì Women’s Circle is this open dialogue between women, an opportunity for them to share their stories, their “Sì” with each other. To inaugurate the Sì Women’s Circle, an initial video with Cate Blanchett, inviting women to say “Sì” was posted the March 1st on YouTube, the brand site, and the social networks. (Celebrated Australian actress Cate Blanchett, ambassadress for Giorgio Armani’s fragrance Sì, has already won two Academy Awards © and was nominated again this year for the movie Carol, directed by Todd Haynes.)
D.L.: What does your makeup counter in your bathroom look like? It must be incredible working at L’Oreal Luxe. What are your 3 favourite beauty products?
M.A.: OMG I have to agree I am SO lucky! My new favourite product is the Crema Nera supreme recovery oil. I wasn’t sure I would like oils (it is a new trend) – and WOW is it ever amazing. The finish is smooth and I feel an instant glow. The oil is rich in active ingredients and transforms into a dry velvety veil upon contact with the skin, with no greasy feel. I can’t live without it. Second, is the Clarisonic Mia 2. I know it’s a huge amount to spend on a cleansing device given its high price point but the money saved on spa facials makes it SO worth it. Before Clarisonic, I felt my skin needed a facial at least three times a year and since buying my Clarisonic, I break out less, my skin tone is more even and no extra money needed for a spa facials 🙂 Clarisonic is your spa at home – such a great investment! Of course my 3rd favourite product is a fragrance. I use Bois D’Encens from Armani Privé. BOIS D’ENCENS showcases incense of Somalia, an olfactory reflection of the hours Giorgio Armani spent with his grandmother in Italian churches. It is a rebirth of the mystery of the oldest known perfume in the world, Kyphi, created 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians.
Armani Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear Collection
D.L.: How do you love to spend your free time?
M.A.: I have a newfound obsession with golf. I can’t believe I was introduced to it only last year! It’s an incredible sport and once you are fully involved, you understand why some can’t wait to retire and play golf full time in Florida! I am now a proud ClubLink member!
My first pic with Maya when I met her in 2012
D.L.: What final advice do you have for anyone wanting a career in beauty?
M.A.: I say why want a career in anything else but beauty? My final advice is always be yourself! You can’t excel well unless you are showcasing your true self! And don’t be afraid to go after the job you truly will love.
You can reach out to Maya on Twitter at @MayaAzzi