As style and image director of Estée Lauder, the mega cosmetics company founded by her grandparents in 1946, and two young sons at home, you’d think Aerin Lauder would consider her plate more than full. And yet, in 2011, she launched her namesake label, AERIN, and has since grown it to include not only beauty and fragrance but also shoes, home decor, furniture and more. Impressed with her business savvy, passion for product and inimitable style, we asked the beauty mogul a little bit about her growing brand and how she balances work and play with so much going on.
Women of Style: Aerin Lauder
"My childhood was surrounded by family, beauty and art. My father loved to take me with him to Serge Sabarsky’s gallery, where we would spend hours admiring the works and discussing them. I loved the way he spoke about art with such passion. Our family moved quite a bit, which gave me so many opportunities to learn and experience other cultures. I was so fortunate to live in Washington D.C., Vienna, Austria and New York City which all gave me different perspectives."
Her First Internship
"I started out with summer internships at Clinique while I was in college. I really valued that opportunity because it introduced me to the corporate beauty industry. It was an amazing learning experience, especially as I ultimately went to work for the company after graduation."
Her Role Model
"My sister, Jane. We are very different personality-wise, but we’re still extremely close. I always trust her advice–whether it’s on something as big as business or something as small as what to wear."
The Best Career Advice She's Ever Received
"Do what you love and do it well. It was scary for me to start my own brand but for the past three years I’ve never looked back and each day is more exciting than the last."
Qualities She Looks For In An Employee
"I value creativity, dedication, and passion."
The Most Challenging Part Of Her Job
"My biggest challenge is constantly creating new and fresh ideas across all of our categories while remaining true to the brand’s DNA. Luckily, I still have so many ideas that I want to tap into and we have a lot of exciting new projects in the works."
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A Milestone Moment In Her Career
"The day I put my own name on my product was a very exciting and scary time for me. I had to prove myself as a businesswoman. Exploring brand new categories, such as footwear, was an accomplishment for me as well."
How The Brand Will Grow
"It is important to me to grow the brand both domestically and internationally. I actually just returned from Australia where we launched beauty and home – international growth is definitely a priority. Domestically, we’ve been immensely successful with our store in Southampton, so we’re also looking to open additional freestanding locations."
What's On Deck For 2015
"We are focusing on the aspects of femininity and destination travel, and exploring ways to heighten the luxury experience for the modern woman."
How She Gives Back
"One of the many organizations I’m involved with is a non-profit called First Book. First Book puts new books into the hands of children in need. Reading can open so many horizons for children and creates a wonderful way to spend quality time together – I think every child deserves access to books they can learn from, fall in love with, and be inspired by."
Her Beauty Must-Have
"Our Rose Lip Conditioner. It’s become a cult favorite. It’s a pretty universal, nude shade that works alone or adds an extra polished look over any lipstick. It has a beautiful light rose scent and is super moisturizing - something our customers are drawn to."
Her #1 Beauty Rule
"To quote something my grandmother used to say, 'You only have one face, take care of it'. Skincare is so important. I always wear sunscreen and I invest in high-quality products that help protect and repair my skin. My favorite, must-have skincare product is Advanced Night Repair from Estée Lauder -- it goes with me everywhere and I use it every day."
Her Fashion Staples
"My style is classic, casual and effortless. I love to throw on a pair of jeans, a button-down or blouse and flats like our Steel slip-ons. My Frame jeans are a staple in my wardrobe and a lightweight cashmere scarf is useful year-round."
Channel Aerin's Style
What She's Coveting For Spring
"I love to shop for resort wear – I am definitely going to be buying something from Talitha which is being sold at Aerin in Southampton this summer. I’m also looking for some fun, colorful accessories this season. I like to layer my staple gold bangles with other bracelets."
Her Travel Essentials
"I have a few things that I always bring with me to make myself feel at home while I am away: my own pillow, my Rose Hand & Body Cream, and my iPad so I can be in touch with my family. I also always bring a scarf with me wherever I go–you never know when you will need the extra layer. Other essentials are a great black blazer, a pair of stiletto pumps and a crisp white button down."
What She Puts On When She Wants To Feel Glamorous
"I always feel glamorous when I’m wearing a feminine fragrance. Right now, my go-to scent is my recently launched Rose de Grasse parfume."
Her Decorating Trick
"When designing a room I always start with the lighting. Light fixtures can truly transform a space and are an easy way to update from season to season."
Update Your Decor
How She Unwinds At The End Of A Long Day
"A glass of wine at dinner is always a treat for me. And I just love relaxing with my family, whether it’s helping with homework, watching a movie, or reading a magazine before bed."
What She's Watching Right Now
"On the plane on the way home from Australia I started watching Mad Men and became hooked. I know I’m a little late to the party."
3 Things We Didn't Know About Aerin
"Swedish Fish and potato chips are my guilty pleasure. I have three dogs and secretly want a fourth. I love to walk around barefoot in the summer time."