Aerin Lauder’s 2017 was one of the most productive ones we’ve ever heard about: She announced the expansion of her AERIN lighting collection (expect new chandeliers, sconces and table lamps coming soon); previewed her Spring 2018 accessories line, which was inspired by Palm Beach; released the 300-page book Aspen Style in collaboration with Assouline; and debuted two new concept stores, one in Palm Beach and one in New York.
In her own words, Lauder, who has both entrepreneurship and beauty in her blood, shares with EAL her takeaways from last year and her expectations for this one.
You’ve been busy, with the launch of the new collections, the shops and the book! Did you intend on 2017 being such a productive year?
Looking back on 2017, it really was a very exciting year for the AERIN brand. From our beginning in 2012, my vision for AERIN was to create a lifestyle brand for the modern woman that was inspired by my own point of view and life experiences. Although beauty is my heritage, home design has always been my true passion. Now, five years after starting the AERIN brand, that full lifestyle has really taken form.
We have collections in beauty, decorative home accessories, lighting with Visual Comfort, fabric and wallpaper with Lee Jofa, and we launched our first two collections with Williams Sonoma this year, which we will expand even more in 2018. While all of these collections are important to me and the brand, I understand that people come to the AERIN brand for my point of view across other areas as well, and that is what makes our retail stores so special.
I approach retail through the eye of an editor, curator and friend and hope to offer a new discovery on every visit. The selection is different depending on the store, so at AERIN Palm Beach, you may find a beautiful hand-painted kaftan from Emporio le Sirenuse or a children’s bathing suit from Minnow, while at AERIN New York, you might discover an incredible piece of jewelry from Demner Miletto or stationery from Isla Simpson.
Tell us more about the new Aspen book. What has your experience been with the city?
I’ve been visiting Aspen since I was a child, so it’s a special place to me. When Assouline approached me to be a part of the Aspen Style project, I immediately accepted. The town has many different dimensions and personalities, and so many that I associate with my own family traditions. I was grateful to have the opportunity to bring years of memories to life and share this special place with others.
What has been your biggest challenge of this past year? The biggest point of growth?
Growing a brand is challenging, but it is always rewarding. This past year, and every year, my biggest challenge is to ensure that I am taking the AERIN brand in the right direction. Every little detail plays a part in the bigger picture. I have the most incredible, talented team and am constantly inspired by their ideas and dedication. And, as a brand, the right partners have been so important in helping to adapt my vision across categories. Good partners are critical in developing collections, so we took a lot of time to find the right ones.
What’s on the horizon for 2018?
We’ll start 2018 with an expansion of our decorative home accessories with a new collection that was inspired by Palm Beach. I love the woven cane material that we are introducing in that collection on coasters, hurricanes and a beautiful backgammon set. The collection also has a pretty, soft, dune gray velvet for jewelry boxes and vanity trays. From beauty, we’re launching our 10th eau de parfum, Hibiscus Palm. Hibiscus Palm is inspired by a magical island escape—it is not just a fragrance but a journey to a beautiful tropical destination.
We’ll also expand AERIN lighting and debut a new collection at High Point Market with Visual Comfort. And in May, we’ll introduce an extensive expansion of our collection with Williams Sonoma, which will include a new category of outdoor furniture, in addition to wonderful tabletop and entertaining items.