Women of The Wedding Industry Wednesday with Alora of Alora Rachelle Photography
Okay, Women of the Wedding Industry Wednesday. On time and under budget!
No but really, I got some great feedback last week that yes, these blogs are a little too long for the liking, and I also suspect most of you want to cut right to the chase and get on to reading about the dynamic, creative, bright women that are the subject of these interviews.
So here we are, Women of the Wedding Industry Wednesday. A little revamped. A little 1,000 word cut to make it palatable, and a fun part of your morning coffee/scroll/blog routine.
If I'm being honest, this interview with the Cheermeister + Truth Teller + Girl Scout Most Likely to have an Honesty Badge while sharing her Samoas with You is well timed.
February was a hard month business wise. Every month as a business owner is hard but this feels like the final stretch in what has been a marathon of a winter.
Like most first year business owners, I made a ton of mistakes when it came to my "off-season". Not having a full-time, seasonal job lined up. Taking on too many creative projects just for fun. Not budgeting well for all of the continuing business expenses that come up.
With spring teasing it's way into my northerly world, I can see the return of busyness and business, and honestly I feel a little sad that in some ways, I wasted a perfectly good and beautiful winter stressed about all of the ways I failed or felt like I was failing. I know in my head that these last precious weeks before my wedding season kicks off should be filled with rest, and guiltless naps, and guiltless time with friends, and yet I can't shake the need to hustle from my shoulders.
The thing is, if I hadn't of opened up about this vulnerability, and these feelings to at least 10 other small business owners I know and trust, I would have felt so alone, and so isolated. Instead, I discovered that this, all of this, is so so normal.
Perfection is boring. Businesses take time to grow. Business owners are human. Authenticity can't be achieved unless you are willing to admit vulnerability.
Sounds cliche right? And yet I feel like we (and especially me) search for ways to shortcut the work when we are surrounded by successful, happy, well-paid creatives who have gorgeous offices and branded products and lovely lunches and lattes every damn day of the week.
The secret? None of that reveals the work that it took to make it happen. None of it speaks to the day to day life of the creative entrepreneur. And it'a lot harder to be and stay inspired when you are laying low, and doing the work.
So for this week, I got to sit down with the responses from a woman who inspires me daily, and I don't event know her. I have never met her.
And yet, the corner that Alora occupies in this world is essential. It is the corner of a self-taught creative who is willing to admit that not only does entrepreneurship require a lot of comfort with not knowing what you're doing - but admitting you don't know what you're doing. There is a time and a space for being Captain Fake it Till You Make It, but let's be honest. That costume wears out with a few washes. And underneath is whatever you really are. A multi-passionate, restless, ever learning, ever failing, imperfect human. What if you're barely making it, and you don't want to fake it?
Alora is IT in terms of being a gal dang industry darling. Hardworking and successful yet endlessly open about what it is she does. A hella good photographer who openly shares her process and mentors others. The 'Don't Share All of Your Secrets' mentality doesn't seem to concern her. A lush and merry personality. A vivid and dynamic storyteller. A rare breed of bird who is as good in front of the camera as well as behind it.
She is the brand of photographer we have come to love. And seek out. Someone who makes everything look like a Sunday at sunset. Someone who adds a generous warmth to her images. A nouveau aesthetic who seems to direct the quality of moments and experiences so gently, so perfectly you'd think anyone could do it. But they can't. You might call it a preset. But I think it's a person that takes the imperfect, and makes it just good enough that we all want some.
I find you incredibly encouraging and inspirational. Yet you also are open about your insecurities. We’re living in an age where that balance makes for good business, but I don’t think it always did. Can you talk about why being vulnerable with people is an asset these days?
Growing up, I had no idea how people saw me. I didn’t know that people thought I was “killing it” or “had it all together”. Knowing myself, I was in a constant state of comparison and naming my countless insecurities. Then, I turned 25 and realized, hey this is who I am and these are my imperfections, and that’s ok. When I realized that I had a platform to show people, that I am REAL and want the best for them, I took advantage of it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s tempting to have people think you are much cooler than you really are, but is it the truth? Nah. I have always been an advocate of authenticity while never taking myself seriously, and I wanted to show people that whenever possible.
People want to see humanity, not perfection. Perfection is boring.
You have a podcast! I feel like such a tool for not listening to it yet but (very guilty) I am not much of a podcaster. What would we learn if we tuned in?
Haha, yes I do! It’s a little bit of everything! Sometimes I talk about real stuff business owners or women go through, share about my life, or offer some free business tips here and there. I am such an awful blogger, but, podcasting gives me the ability to spill it all as I want it to be said without worrying about proper grammar and such!
Alora's Podcast, Of Heart + Hustle is available on iTunes and Spotify.
I LOVE your personal style. The first photo I saw of you was a portrait with your family and it was like seeing a modern/historic era Interception type thing. You dress in an era of sheeeer class in your photos. Do you take joy in creating personal aesthetic as much as photography aesthetic?
Oh my goodness thank you! I am actually obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, but also West Elm, and Zara. A modern minimalist is what I call it, so I guess you can say you definitely nailed that one! I am drawn to sort of statement elegant pieces but, also everyday basics as well. I studied Fashion through extensive research in high school and college. So I am aware of what types of materials & styles work for each body type, and I sometimes use that to help people choose flattering pieces (I used to watch “What Not to Wear” religiously). I just think it’s amazing how much weight you can lose instantly by wearing the right clothes for your body!
So, yes fashion is a subtle passion of mine
What is your love story?! I so appreciate the way you weave family into your presence so much.
Our love story is SO LONG. But, to give you bullet points, we met in the third grade, played Simon says and became friends. We became close friends when we were able to text in middle school (that virgin mobile flip phone ayeee). We didn’t date in high school as I liked other people but, in college we hooked up when we realized we were like, perfect for each other. He proposed in -13 degree weather and popped out of a tree. Why he wanted to give me a heart attack was beyond me but, here we are!
He was and always will be my best friend and it’s been such a relief starting this business with him being so supportive because he was there for ALL OF IT.
I felt the need to share my family for my future clients because that’s how they really connect with me. Connecting with the person in their bio and not just “I picked up a camera at three years old” gets old after awhile.