How This Surfer Turned Bag Designer Juggles Motherhood, Business, and Pleasure

Ana Fraser talks about creativity, life in the Caribbean, and accidental success.

What time did you wake up today?

5:30 a.m. I am a morning person.

What’s the first thing you usually do when you wake up?

I jump out of bed. I’m always excited at the start of a new day. I make breakfast for the family, put together the girls’ lunch boxes and then drive them to school.

What did you have for breakfast?

A cup of coffee and some toast.

Any diet?

I love food, but I probably shouldn’t love it this much. I’m always saying I’ll start eating healthier… after I eat this chocolate cake.

Exercise routine?

We live in Freight’s Bay, our favorite surf spot in Barbados, so I am lucky I get to surf as much as I like. And it’s something I can do with my husband and my six-year-old daughter Mila.


What do you usually wear to work?

My environment allows me to wear comfortable, casual clothes as I go about my day, be it doing my work at home or work for my business.

What’s always in your handbag?

I can forget everything including my wallet, my keys, or even my phone—but not my hand sanitizer.

Style icons?

I love the feminine, timeless, and elegant style of Grace Kelly. And I also admire the way Olivia Palermo always looks so polished yet effortlessly put together.

Tell us how you started designing bags.

I made a tassel with some leftover yarn and walked around the house looking for somewhere to hang it. I decided it looked best on my straw bag. I took the bag out with me one day, and to my surprise, other people thought it looked great too! My friends from the island started to put in their orders.


What inspired your collection?

It began with my love for creating and designing. I am an artist and I love beautiful things. You’ll often find me in my craft room for hours working on a project.

Ana with daughters Mila, 6 and Max, 3


What are you excited about for the rest of 2017?

My husband and I are expecting our third child, and we are so blessed as we will now welcome our first baby boy. Having two girls, our boy will now complete our family.

What’s your dream creative project?

I’m very happy as I have actually already started with my dream project. Six months ago, a premium boutique in Barbados called Always Summer started to carry my collection, and I have been working closely with them on my future collections. It is an exciting year for me. I am also working on getting my collection to the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.

What are you reading right now?

How Not to Die, by Michael Greger, M.D.

Favorite books?

I have a vast collection of cookbooks.

Staple magazines?

I love craft, cooking, fashion, and design magazines. T&C is a staple in our home.

Favorite gadgets?

My sewing machine, my Cricut Cuttlebug and Explore cutting machines. So hard to choose from—some days it is my laminating machine.


How do you keep connected?

Primarily I am active on Facebook and Instagram.

How much time do you spend on social media?

Too much, actually. But it depends on my day’s schedule, tending to my family, my business, and entertaining.

What songs and artists are on your playlist?

I have an eclectic taste. I am currently enjoying Soca music as it’s Carnival week in Barbados now.

Describe your clothing style.

It’s simple and classic. I gravitate towards wardrobe choices that are timeless. Feeling comfortable and confident in what I am wearing is important.


Favorite shops?

When I come home to Manila I enjoy Rustan’s, and I also try to visit my favorite local artisan brands. My favorite global brands are Henri Bendel and Parker Thatch because I love everything monogrammed.

Clothing staple?

I have a closet full of crisp white linen dresses. They are the perfect thing to wear in warm weather. Comfort and ease are just as important to me as looking stylish.

What’s your go-to outfit?

A dress with strappy leather sandals.

Favorite brand/designer of clothing?

I am currently in love with Filipino designers. I just purchased three dresses from Len Cabili of Filip+Inna and I feel proud to wear such beautifully made dresses designed in the Philippines.

What’s the newest piece of clothing you bought?

A yellow hand-embroidered Mindanao scarf from Kaayo Philippines.


On most days I wear leather sandals.


What fragrance are you wearing?

Penhaligon’s Lavandula.

Do you wear others?

Acca Kappa’s Blue Lavender. I love its fresh, clean scent.

What do you like most about your appearance?

I spend a lot of time under the sun and I love the healthy glow it gives my skin.

Ana’s collection of bags

Lunch today: Business or pleasure?


Lunch companions?

My close girlfriends.


At the beach club.

Favorite restaurant?

The Cliff Beach in Barbados for some octopus ceviche and a glass of rosé.

Favorite cuisine?


Drink of choice?

Lemon iced tea with lots of fresh lemon. At happy hour, you’ll find me with a Grey Goose vodka martini.

Who are your dream dinner guests?

I think if I had Jennifer Lawrence, Prince Harry, and James Corden over for a party we would have a lot of fun.

Were you given any great advice today?

Yes, my three-year-old just watched Lion King. She gave me the best advice: “Mama, don’t worry, be happy. Hakuna Matata!”

What was the prettiest thing you saw today?

The drive home along the coast. I’ll never get used to it.

Tell us about your family.

I am married to a really good man, Doug. He is from England and we met in Manila during one of my surf weekends. We have been married for almost 10 years and we have two beautiful, kind, funny, and lovable daughters: Mila, 6, and Max, 3. We are expecting our third child very soon. Currently, we live in Barbados, where my husband is posted. In the past 10 years, we have lived in Cambodia, Japan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and now the Caribbean. We look forward to what the future brings us.


You live on a Caribbean island. What's that’s like?

It’s a dream I wish I never have to wake up from. I am surrounded by turquoise Caribbean waters and a warm ocean breeze. Time slows down when you live on an island, and I love that. And the turtles, let me tell you about the turtles, we get to swim with them every day.


What activity do you most enjoy with your daughters?

I enjoy almost everything, but being with my girls is most precious. If I have to focus on one fun activity it would be spending time with them on the beach building sandcastles and chasing crabs.

What do you do as soon as you get home?

I take the girls out to the garden or we go for a swim.

What does your home look like?

We live by the beach, in a lovely two-story home. It’s predominantly white with high ceilings, and its doors and windows are big and wide, which welcomes the clean Caribbean breeze. We have a close-knit community and are lucky to have found such beautiful friends. Entertaining is frequent and our home is always open for people to drop by.

What’s the newest thing you’ve bought for your home?

My beautiful Art Deco chair from the Philippines.

Do you cook?

Every day, and I enjoy every minute of it.


How do you entertain?

We entertain a lot, and our friends love to cook as well. The kitchen is the center of our home and making dinner can involve three couples cooking in one kitchen together. We have people over at least twice a week.

Any guilty pleasure today?

A nice long nap.

Greatest extravagance?

Gadgets! This week it is a drone I bought myself to play with. My girls and their friends throw mangoes at it when it follows them around them around the garden.

Pet peeve?

I’m never late, so it bothers me when people are late.


Who is your dream date?

Doug. He is awesome.

Love of your life?

My dad. My first and forever love.

What do you wear on a hot date?

My favorite blue silk dress and high heels.

Qualities you like most in a man?

Caring, dependable, and understanding. A sense of humor is also very important. I love the way my husband can make me laugh.

Where are you having dinner tonight?

At home. It’s Friday night and we are having some friends over for G&T’s and a barbecue on our veranda.

What’s for dinner?

Something easy. I’m throwing some lobster, steak, and corn on the grill.

What time are you going to sleep?


What do you hope to dream about?

My next project with Always Summer.

This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Town&Country.

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