As the granddaughter of one of the world’s most influential businesswomen, it is no wonder Aerin Lauder sprinkles glamorous touches of Estée Lauder’s legacy throughout her luxurious beauty and lifestyle company.
After spending decades at the helm of Estée Lauder Companies, the eponymous empire founded by her grandmother in 1946, Aerin stepped out of her pioneering ancestor’s shadow to start a new chapter at AERIN – a luxurious beauty lifestyle brand that has since released dozens of sellout collections.
“I thought there was a void in the market place for a beauty lifestyle brand based on storytelling, feminist elements, heritage and quality,” Aerin told The CEO Magazine. “It was an interesting time to explore the concept.”
Fast forward six years and AERIN is a successful company in its own right with three new collections (AERIN Tabletop, AERIN Collection for Williams Sonoma and AERIN Spring Decorative Accessories Collection) as well as a fresh LA-based boutique.
The 49-year-old businesswoman’s style is inspired by her grandmother’s love of gold, floral, birds and feminine elements – all doubling as heartfelt nods to Estée.
“I think Estée would absolutely love what we’ve created. It’s very feminine, very luxurious, very authentic – the heritage and the storytelling are inspiring.” – Aerin Lauder
Wanting to create products that encourage effortless style without sacrificing luxury or authenticity, Aerin launched the brand’s first in-house tabletop collection to evoke a sense of ease and refinement.
The mix-and-match range features artisanal pieces collected along her travels, Estée’s heirloom pieces, mouth-blown recycled glass from Egypt, Italian ceramics from the Bassano region and woven goods from Italy’s south, adding a sophisticated, vintage touch to long-table entertaining.
“There is something about natural beauty and making a home comfortable, inviting and having an effortless feel,” Aerin says. “The idea of effortlessness is something very important to who we are, and a casual sense of luxury brings together people of all ages.
“I think Estée would absolutely love what we’ve created. It’s very feminine, very luxurious, very authentic – the heritage and the storytelling are inspiring.”
Finding inspiration from her Mediterranean travels, Aerin designed the brand’s first travel-size games range, boasting a classic domino set and card set with a luxurious Italian croc-embossed leather finish. Fresh hues of the Aegean Sea, blue skies and white-washed buildings lend themselves to the playful, yet chic, range.
“There is something about natural beauty and making a home comfortable, inviting and having an effortless feel,” – Aerin
“We’ve done our whole line of spring accessories to work within this Greek world; beautiful gold peace sandals, the collection of shell earrings and bracelets, tones of straw for the home,” Aerin says. “So really, when it comes to the lifestyle concept of wonderful flavours of the Mediterranean, you can now have them in beauty, home and accessories.”
Keeping in line with European originality, Estée Lauder’s beauty heir captures the essence of the Aeagean Sea with her new fragrance, Aegea Blossom – a citrus-infused aroma that is “sunshine in a bottle”.
Continuing to chase the sun, the mother-of-two pays homage to her favourite destinations with a special collaboration; an expansion of the AERIN Collection for Williams Sonoma.
“Inspiration can come from anywhere – a film, a book, a friend, an exhibition; a lot of our inspiration is from travel – the world is so small now,” she tells The CEO Magazine. “There is something inspiring about the Mediterranean – the ingredients, the flowers, the colour palette.”
But creating a luxurious beauty lifestyle company that survives the struggles facing traditional retail stores is no small feat.
Aerin, who spent the summers of her youth working across Estée Lauder Companies, says perfecting everything she puts her name to contributes to her own brand’s success.
“Estée had this quote when she launched her brand,” Aerin recollects. “She said it’s her name on the package, so it has to be the best it could possibly be – and I feel the same way.
“I think there is something very authentic about naming the business after myself.
“In a time when there’s so much product and there’s so much clutter, some point of difference and being authentic I think allows you to differentiate yourself.”