Cover Photo: Aerin

From fragrances to furniture, Aerin Lauder's luxury lifestyle brand Aerin has it all. The Estée Lauder heiress shares how she found success by striking out on her own

How I’m Making It is a weekly series in which Tatler speaks to influential individuals about their unique journeys and what keeps them going.

As the granddaughter of the American cosmetics trail-blazer Estée Lauder, Aerin Lauder has big shoes to fill. The eldest daughter of billionaire Ronald Lauder, Lauder is one of three third-generation Lauders preserving the family’s heritage. 

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The Lauder family’s legacy began with the bold and visionary Estée, who vehemently believed that every woman could be beautiful. The matriarch founded the company in 1946 with four original beauty products and an ambition for success. Even after more than 50 years, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world’s leading brands in providing quality skincare, fragrances and cosmetic products.

Today, Estée's granddaughter Aerin Lauder is continuing her legacy. Inspired by her heritage, Lauder believes that one’s heritage is what truly defines one’s future. To her two children, she hopes to impart this strong sense of family heritage, something she believes is what gives the conglomerate an edge over its competitors. Though Lauder may have had a foot in the door, her success can only be attributed to her perseverance and hard work through the years. And at 51 years old, what Lauder has accomplished is nothing short of remarkable.

Lauder first began working at Estée Lauder in 1992, joining as a member of the the Prescriptives marketing team. Over the years, she learned the ropes and worked her way up through several executive roles before takin on the title of Creative Director, a position she still holds today. In 2012, she started her own venture and created her own lifestyle brand, Aerin. 

Aerin is a global luxury brand inspired by the lifestyle of its founder. The brand boasts a wide curation of cosmetics, perfume, fashion, and furniture collections that are rooted in Lauder’s own passion for travel, art and flowers. Conceived from the notion that living beautifully should be an effortless endeavour, the brand is a modern celebration of artisanal craftsmanship and femininity. As of today, Aerin has had three beauty collections and is available in 45 countries. 

What makes Aerin stand out from other lifestyle brands is the keen attention to details of the products. Lauder gets involved in every phase of the concoction of her fragrances, all of which serve to replicate some of her most unforgettable holiday memories. From the flowers used to the colours chosen for the brand's fabric-inspired boxes, Aerin is able to explain the inspirations and motivations behind each and every decision in her company's product development process. Her perfectionist nature makes it such that any product that carries her name is ensured to be of the highest quality. 

Just last year, Lauder joined hands with The Colony Hotel to design a hotel villa that celebrates her Palm Beach heritage. In true Aerin Lauder fashion, the villa was made with a keen eye, paying homage to the island’s old-school glamour and the elegance of its locale. The design of Aerin Villa Jasmin, as the space is called, is charming, feminine, and classically timeless. 

Lauder is also a mother to two boys, Will and Jack, who are her pride and joy. To them, she hopes to instil familial pride and discernment to tell right from wrong. Tatler spoke with Lauder to find out how she does it all while being a mother.

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What is a typical morning like for you?

Aerin Lauder (AL): I’m up early by 7 am to feed and walk the dogs. I wash my hair at night so it’s just a quick shower in the morning and simple makeup. I wear flats because I love to walk everywhere, including the office and I’ll stop by Sant Ambroeus on my way in for coffee. 

What does a standard work day look like for you?

AL: My typical day usually includes responding to emails and phone calls, meeting with my teams to discuss new product ideas, packaging design, potential collaborations and upcoming campaigns. I love that every day is slightly different, which makes work feel fun and exciting. 

How would you describe your working style? 

AL: I am definitely somewhat of a perfectionist. After all, it’s my name on the package so I believe that everything needs to be the best that it can possibly be. However, I also have a team of many talented women that are supportive and goal-oriented. I would never be able to do this without my amazing team. 

Free time: overrated or underrated? Why?

AL: Free time is definitely underrated. I feel that people often overlook the importance of self care and taking time for yourself. Whenever I have down time, I make it a priority to go for a walk or call a close friend. Though these are such simple gestures, they make me feel relaxed and really change my mood. 

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How do you achieve a work-life balance? How do you set boundaries?

AL: Staying connected is part of our reality, but I try to disconnect when I am able to. Whether it’s during a morning walk in Central Park or a Pilates class, those are my times to switch off and just think. When I am with my family, I am completely focused on my two boys and my husband. They will always be my biggest priority. And vice-versa, when I am at work, I try to stay completely focused on my job. 

What was your first job? What did you learn from it?

AL: When I was in high school, I worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as a paid intern in the archives department. Even though I was in the archives, it was still very visual—even the chair and desk where I sat were beautiful. My grandmother used to always say that you spend so much time at the office that it has to be as attractive and comfortable as it can be. That concept translates to my space today.

How do you chase your dreams?

AL: I worked at Estée Lauder for about 25 years, gaining amazing experience in many different departments. I was always doing interviews on what was in my makeup bag and the items I couldn’t live without. After being asked that question so many times, I felt that there was an opportunity in the marketplace for a lifestyle brand based on feminine, modern, and effortless products with a strong heritage. Beauty is my heritage, but home is my passion and I believe the two should live together. I really love what I do, which keeps me motivated to continue developing the brand. 

What inspired you to get into the beauty business?

AL: I am fortunate to have learned so much from a lifetime in beauty; it’s not only my heritage but also my passion. The time came for me to take those lessons and reinterpret them, pursue my own vision, from my own perspective. Aerin has been an amazing journey. It is the perfect way for me to explore different ways to expand the modern woman’s lifestyle and provide the product she needs–from beauty and fashion to lifestyle and home. 

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What is your skincare routine for the day?

AL: I cleanse my skin with Re-Nutriv Hydrating Creme Cleanser and follow with the Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Regenerating Youth Creme and Eye Creme. I also love Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair; it goes with me everywhere and I’ve used it every day for as long as I can remember. It makes me look refreshed and gives my skin the perfect glow. 

What is your skincare routine for the night?

AL: For nighttime, I love Advanced Night Repair and a great moisturiser like Crème de La Mer. I also keep the Aerin Rose Hand & Body Cream by my bedside.

What is the best beauty advice you’ve received?

AL: My grandmother always said, “You only have one face; take care of it.” No matter how tired you are, cleanse and moisturise, stay out of the sun and drink water. She also loved fragrance and told me to never leave home without it.

What is one beauty product you can’t live without?

AL: I can’t live without the two Aerin Rose Lip Conditioners; they have a beautiful light rose scent and are super moisturising. Our newest lip conditioner is a Rose Lip Balm formula, which is a solid lipstick for effortless application.

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What is your favourite facial and where do you go for it?

AL: For facials, I visit Aida Bicaj on the Upper East Side.  

Risks: should you take them? Why or why not?

AL: I believe that taking risks is an important part of growth. Some of my greatest successes have come from leaving my comfort zone. 

What is one failure that you have experienced and what did you learn from it?

AL: One season we explored incorporating black marble into our home line. Though it was beautiful, it was masculine and off-brand, and hence didn’t do well. I’ve learned how important it is to stay authentic and maintain the brand’s DNA. 

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever gotten?

AL: Estée was an incredible role model. She taught me the importance of passion, style, hard work, family and, of course, all things beautiful. In terms of work, her secrets were: “Whatever you do, do it well” and “Work hard and love what you do.”

How do you stay grounded?

AL: My friends and my family keep me grounded.

How do you stay motivated?

AL: I am lucky to find inspiration wherever I go. Whether it’s through my travels, my home, nature, my friends, family, art, hotels, exhibitions, the list goes on. Always discovering new inspiration really keeps me motivated to develop products that make life more beautiful. 

How do you prioritise tasks?

AL: I always make lists and write things down. It’s such a simple thing that keeps me on track and helps me accomplish all of my tasks for the day. 

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

AL: My two boys will always be my greatest accomplishment. 

What would you still like to accomplish?

AL: I am excited to continue growing the Aerin brand. I look forward to reaching new customers, collaborating with like-minded partners and expanding into new categories. 

What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?

AL: I can’t lie, I am always scrolling through Instagram before I go to bed.  


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