Erin Fraser’s story is a lesson in being open to opportunities, whether it’s letting your passion for dance inspire a career in beauty PR, joining your husband in his hometown and leaving beauty for the world of wine, or allowing a global pandemic to inspire your decision to renovate a 150-year-old property into Blancspace Maison, Adelaide's most elegant creative co-working space. She is the first one to appreciate the glamorous side, but gets real about what goes on behind the scenes too, including the joy she has always found in makeup, alongside the difficulty of enduring acne in her late thirties and the thrills and exhaustion factor of running a startup while running after a toddler.

“Like with most challenges in life, mine had a silver lining. I was bullied throughout primary school and into high school, so threw myself into my great loves, dance and music, to distance myself from the people making my life miserable. Ballet brought me such happiness in and of itself, but also introduced me to the magical world of makeup. It helped me realise from a very young age that I wanted to work in beauty.

I read obsessively about Poppy King in the nineties and fondly remember the bottle of Chloé perfume and green Estée Lauder eyeliner on my mum’s dressing table. I now realise that it was these products and brands and the women behind them that inspired my whole career. I knew that one day I wanted to work for Estée Lauder and so it really was a dream come true when I eventually did.
Another silver lining of that time was that there were a handful of beautiful souls at school, some of whom have become life-long friends, and I will never forget their kindness in the midst of so many mean girls. I really value kindness to this day, and now as an adult try to be generous and genuine with every decision that I make.

My career took an unexpected turn when I met my now-husband, Jonathan.

After just 10 months of being together, we decided to move our lives to Adelaide when he was offered a consultant role at The Royal Adelaide, the hospital where he had done all of his study and training. So, I left Estée Lauder and found myself on the flight to Adelaide thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice to work in the wine industry?”. Six months later I found myself in the middle of a culture shock: I’d gone from the very corporate Estée Lauder head office in Sydney, to deep in the Adelaide Hills as Head of Marketing, PR, and Events for a small, family owned winery called Bird in Hand. I was quickly thrown into doing all sort of incredible things that I would never have done had I stayed in Sydney. After a year immersed in a growing local enterprise, Adelaide’s entrepreneurial spirit worked its magic and I decided to take the leap and start my own business, Blancspace, which has grown over the last five years into a boutique marketing agency that services premium fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. Then, in the middle of a global pandemic my husband and I renovated a nineteenth century heritage-listed terrace in Adelaide’s CBD, transforming it into my new office as well as a luxury co-working and collaboration space called Blancspace Maison.

Mornings in our house are busy!

My time for exercise is between 6 and 7am, when my son is still asleep. My husband and I take turns heading out of the house (I go for a walk or a run when it’s my turn), and on the alternate ‘home exercise’ days I will do a Kayla Itsines workout or some stretching in our courtyard. I love Kayla’s SWEAT app workouts because they’re done in 28 minutes. You feel like you might die during them but they’re fast and effective. Exercise is such a priority for me, as it keeps me sane.

Before my workout I just splash my face with water and spritz my skin with Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater. I also love a quick splash of Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Body Splash (which, so sadly, they don’t make anymore) which my husband jokes is my ‘exercise perfume’. I love dry body brushing in the morning and for years I’ve been obsessed with Nivea Body Firming Lotion and slather it all over every day after my shower.

My day-to-day makeup look is super simple and time-efficient.

I have discovered that cream eyeshadow and blush are the quickest to apply and my go-to duo every day are Stila Convertible Colour in Peony and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Au Naturel, the greatest neutral beige I’ve ever found. I have recently come back to Chanel Inimitable Mascara and it really is the best. I comb my eyebrows with Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Soft Brunette  and finish with a dusting of Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. When it comes to lips I am definitely a gloss girl, and my favourite everyday shade at the moment is Nars Lipgloss in Orgasm.

If I have more time to do my makeup or if I am going out at night, I like to use my favourite eyeshadow palettes by Tom Ford. The colours are unbelievably pigmented and apply effortlessly… I have so many of them! I love perfume and have many that I rotate depending on my mood, what I am wearing, and who I will be with. My favourite for a night out is Tom Ford Black Orchid: it’s the original and the best.

I think investing in a good foundation that is the right colour for your skin is my most essential makeup tip.

I always mix two shades together to get exactly the right tone depending on the season, and use a brush to apply it and a sponge to blend. My all-time favourite foundation is Estée Lauder Double Wear: you honestly cannot go past it for every benefit. I also love Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation.

My skincare routine is an ongoing adventure. My skin can be terribly temperamental and I’ve struggled with adult acne ever since coming off the pill. My breakouts can be soul destroying and take weeks to heal, which isn’t fun at 38.

I definitely feel like I have tried all the things, from new products to no products, topical prescription medications and even removing milk from my diet. There doesn’t appear to be an immediate solution, though I do believe that drinking lots of water and being kind to my skin from the inside out is helping, which at the moment is in the form of Jessica Sepel‘s JS Health Vitamins Skin + Digestion Formula.

I haven’t really had the luxury of worrying about ageing yet, funny as that may sound, as my main concern is still my breakouts. My mum is 69 and has such beautiful skin; she has fewer wrinkles than I do. I’ve always admired her natural, no-frills beauty. I just wish I’d inherited her skin!

I double cleanse in the evening with the DMK Deep Pore Cleanser and I am obsessed with Go-To Face Hero. I have found the best night cream for my unpredictable skin is Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream and I apply the Rationale’s #6 The Night Crème a couple of times a week.  In the morning I use a gentle system from La Roche-Posay: the Effaclar Foaming Gel cleanser, Effaclar Duo (+) Acne Moisturiser, and Toleriane Sensitive Prebiotic Moisturiser with a drop of Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops, which give such a gorgeous bronzed glow. I also religiously wear an SPF50 and sunglasses every day.

My hair is pretty uncomplicated. It’s long, straight, and blonde and I’ve worn it that way my whole life. I have my highlights done every six or seven weeks at Boris The Cuttery, and my big indulgence is a blow dry there each week. You wouldn’t believe how much time it saves in the morning to just brush out my hair and go.

I have started using a silk pillowcase and silk scrunchies to tie my hair back at night, and have noticed a huge difference in the strength of my hair from doing so.

When I wash my hair at home I use Kérastase products, and particularly like the Reflection Bain Chromatique Shampoo and Mask as well as the Résistance Ciment Thermique Treatment before blowdrying. I love Klorane Dry Shampoo for all the in-between days and good old L’Oréal Elnett Hairspray is a staple.

I never thought that I would own my own business. I remember thinking at school that it was much too hard, and I had already decided that I wanted to work for large cosmetics brands.

On my dad’s sage advice, I chose high school subjects that I liked and was good at, then did a Bachelor of Business with a major in Marketing at ACU National in North Sydney. After uni I interned as a Marketing Assistant at a fashion accessories retailer before moving to Avon as the Product Manager for Personal Care and Haircare. I then side-stepped to manage Avon’s little-known (though worth $38 million!) Accessories & Apparel category, and went on buying trips to China and Hong Kong two or three times a year.  Travelling – often alone – to places so different to what I knew were some of the most exciting and formative times in my career. I would design different collections and curations of fashion, handbags, shoes, and lingerie, with a new campaign released every three weeks. I found it to be the perfect combination of art and science: designing clothes, then estimating how many we would sell and reporting on performance every quarter to the marketing VP and managing director. That part was terrifying at the time, but it taught me the importance of knowing your business and being able to stand up and present it to a group of 40 people.

L’Oréal was one of the most incredible and inspiring places I’ve worked at, even though it was only for a short time.

After working on Biotherm, a niche French skincare line, for just six months, our Paris head office decided to move our division to Melbourne. So one morning, in the board room, my job, along with those of 62 other beauty marketers’, was made redundant. I quickly interviewed at Estée Lauder and was delighted to accept a role managing the national Estée Lauder Makeup portfolio, as well as a small but uber-luxury brand which not many people had heard of at the time: Tom Ford. All my beauty dreams came true as I spent almost three years working for two of the most prestigious beauty brands in the world. It was hard work while also being breathtakingly beautiful, and certainly lived up to all that I had imagined as a child.

The most challenging part of my work at the moment is trying to get everything done!

I have an almost two-year-old son who is busier than my husband and me combined, so I, like all women, am balancing all of my roles: being a mum, a wife, a sister, a friend, the usual story. I host the most spectacular photoshoots and then take out the rubbish. When it’s your business and your building, you are responsible for everything.

I am so grateful for my whole career and where it has led me to today. I have absolutely loved launching Blancspace Maison, from the renovation itself to creating a signature ‘house scent’ for our brand which incorporates a rose and fig-scented candle and custom-blended tea and chocolate. I love seeing this beautiful space filled with interesting people and working with my team to bring our marketing clients’ brands to life with fun new ideas and creativity. I love to challenge the status quo and imagine what is possible – hence the name Blancspace.

I’d describe my style as modern classic, and I wear a lot of white. I am really favouring Australian designers at the moment. Scanlan Theodore, Camilla & Marc, Zimmermann, and Binny are all favourites.

I recently bought a gorgeous pair of tobacco colour trousers from Aje after a personal styling and ‘shop your own wardrobe’ session with Lauren Dilena and they are the neutral item I never knew I needed. I also just bought a very fun pair of pony-hair leopard print Jimmy Choo points to replace some extremely well-loved ones that I bought in New York in 2012.

As I have gotten older have become far less precious than I used to be around what I eat. I generally eat good food, and I enjoy life too much now to worry about calorie counting anymore!

I think that being happy, relaxed, and present is much better for you than constantly dieting or overexercising. I love a glass of pinot noir with my husband at night and when I have time I really enjoy having a protein smoothie in the morning made with The Beauty Chef Body Inner Beauty Support with Hemp in Vanilla as well as coconut water, green apple, banana, parsley, mint, spinach, and ice. I have recently started taking the JSHealth Vitamins in the Detox + Debloat and Hormone + PMS Support formulas and I think they are excellent.

Relaxing is something I have become quite bad at! I have to be very deliberate about it and so often take a day where I just turn my phone and computer off completely.

I find I have to be quite black-and-white about work time and personal time, or otherwise the perpetual grey area of running your own business wins out every time. There is never a moment when you’re not thinking about some aspect of it, so I am learning to compartmentalise my time better to create more definitive boundaries. Doing very practical things like leaving my phone at the front door when I get home to my family each day helps. And I am also completely obsessed with my cat, Harry Winston, so patting him is a form of relaxation.

I have quite a deliberate nighttime routine that helps me wind down at the end of each day. Firstly, I turn on the lamps as I get ready for bed as softer lighting promotes better sleep. I then spray four pumps of the L’Occitane Relaxing Pillow Mist and do a deep breathing sequence and gratefulness meditation. It all sounds a bit corny but I kind of love it.

The biggest lesson I have learned about beauty – and it’s one that can be applied to almost anything else as well, whether it’s business, life, motherhood! – is that it is extremely personal.

What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next, so it’s a matter of trial and error until you find a routine or system that works just for you. For myself, I wholeheartedly believe in ageing gracefully. It’s a privilege to become older and wiser and I am incredibly lucky to have my health and the health of my loved ones. I love life and the smile lines on my face show that and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Story by Zoe Briggs. Photography by Alice Healy.

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