Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Interview with Color Analyst, Lora Alexander

I get tired of buying clothes and then they don't look right (the color) and I end up giving them to someone I think they will look fabulous on (and they do.) I'm happy if someone benefits from my mistakes, but I've wasted a lot of money and I'm still not happy with my color choices. I heard about color analysts years ago and I've been told I'm a winter (don't really think so, though she draped me,) a spring (maybe? Another draping,) or an autumn (again, there are some things there.) Maybe a summer? My mother was definitely a summer. I didn't look like her.
My mother when she was about my age in her best color, pink

I ran across Lora Alexander's blog and website in a search for someone who could finally find my formula. I would like to buy a winter coat in a color that just makes me look fab. Wouldn't you? I'd like to finally look pretty. Oh, and yeah, I'd like to find a lipstick that I am happy with. How about you?

How is it that we remember all our failures? And why do I give up and just buy black? I remember buying a beautiful pale pink sweater for my junior in high school photo because there was this girl named Paulette who always looked gorgeous in that color. I'm pretty sure she was a cool summer with that ash blonde hair (and she had model looks.) I looked washed out and pale. My photo was terrible. How did she do that? How did she always know what color looked best on her?

And then there was my gorgeous friend Nazanin who always looked so sophisticated in black and stone. She was obviously a deep winter. I just looked like I had been sick with the flu for a week. I thought I'd finally found it when my friend Linda, a for sure autumn, offered to lend me some of her clothes. I tried on each one. Each one made me look worse than the last. A few of the colors worked, but most didn't.


I really believe in Lora's system. We're still working on getting my palette, (I need some better photos) but we're closer than I've ever been. I asked Lora if she'd do an interview here and she has offered to give away a prize if you come back tomorrow, too, and comment on that blog. Lora uses a 12 season system, which you can see on her site. If you are an author, or a writer, wouldn't you like to have your best colors to wear and lure people in with your healthy and harmonious looks? (Especially at those book signings!) And if you're not an author, I know you still want to look your best and not waste money on clothes which make you look drab.

Here's (almost) everything you wanted to know about Pretty Your World and Lora Alexander.Lora owns and operates her website herself. She is a licensed esthetician, makeup artist, certified Image Consultant and artist. She admits that the name "Pretty Your World" is a bit of an odd name for a beauty site. It's not her first choice but, long story short, it's the one she stuck with and it has definitely grown on her. Let's read about her and see how it all came together and how she can help you!
Lora Alexander, Color Analyst

CLM: What is your official title?
Lora: Color Analyst

CLM: Tell us a little about your growing up and how it led you to color analysis.
Lora: I was good at art from an early age. I remember hearing my first grade art teacher tell my regular teacher that my artwork was “out of this world.” I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew nothing made me happier than a pad of white paper and a brand new box of crayons. 

I was naturally drawn to drawing faces, women’s faces and could see the beauty in all women, except myself. I had very little self-esteem. I was pale, reddish blond hair, and had an older brother who did little to help my self-esteem.  Everything changed when I read the book Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson while I was in high school in the 80’s.  I became obsessed with analyzing people’s colors. I have been doing it the second I see someone’s face ever since reading that book.

CLM: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Lora:  I love hearing from women all over the world! My first client was from Italy (a place that is my dream vacation destination.) I’ve analyzed women from China, Russia, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, and nearly every country in between. I love it when women tell me the analysis changed their life. Obviously that’s good feedback.

CLM: When and what made you decide to go online with Pretty Your World?
Lora: I quit my good paying, secure job in early 2008 to start an online store with a friend. The store was going to be romantic shabby chic style one-of-a-kind home d├ęcor, furniture and thrift store finds. I secured the title “Pretty Your World” for that store. My friend bailed out on me in the last minute, my old job wasn’t hiring due to the economy and a hiring freeze and all I had was a secured domain name. 

So, I found a company called Site Build It that helps people create and build a website and I signed up with them. They emphasized the need to do something you are passionate about or you won't stick with it. Not knowing how well a color analysis site would do, if it did anything at all, I went with it, (kept the original domain name) and now I average about 20,000 visitors a month. It’s been fun and I’ve learned an enormous amount of information about ecommerce.

CLM: What’s the most difficult part of doing cyber-analysis?
Lora: Making sure I have enough good quality photos of people that are truly reflective of their actual coloring. Sometimes people want to “look good” in the pictures and may want to add a little foundation, or make sure they wear a little mascara and its important that they don’t cover up any part of their natural coloring.

CLM: My world would be perfect if only….
Lora: My income doubled this year. Then, I would be making as much as I did when I quit my old job and I can finally feel good about my decision. Financially it’s been tough, but it keeps getting better each month, each year.

CLM: The best thing to help in my evaluations is…..
Lora: Lots of clear accurate photos. I tell people they cannot send me too many. I like large hi resolution photos best. I also like to see pictures of clients when they were younger, to see what their coloring was before they started coloring their hair or they started turning gray, etc. Except for some people who cool down a lot when they age—very common—their season typically doesn’t change throughout their life.
CLM: When you do color analysis of a client, what helps the most in deciding which category your client fits? 

Lora: Their childhood or teenage pictures help often. Plus, if I get a good photo of someone that is clear and they have no makeup on, I upload it into a third party website called www.taaz.com ( I asked for permission to use this as part of my service and they said yes.) I then apply makeup and haircolor to them virtually and this really helps me see immediately if some colors work or not.

CLM: If a client is a man, how does it help him to know which colors to choose?
Lora: I think color analysis is crucial to men, even more so than women because they only have their clothes to make them look their best. Women have makeup, hair color, jewelry, etc. Men need to get their shirts and ties right in particular to have an impact on their coloring.  
CLM: I still can’t get the hang of....
Lora: ….aggressively marketing myself without feeling pushy. I know that link exchanges are important for growing my business but I don’t feel comfortable asking someone if we could exchange links, or ask them if they would review my book, or other similar self-promotional things. Ninety-eight per cent of my traffic comes from search engines and I’ve done no other advertising except for some Google pay-per-click ads. Self-promotion, and to be honest, fear of rejection, is something I need to work on.

CLM: Most of my writer friends will understand about marketing yourself. It can feel awkward. The thing I feel most comfortable in this process is….
Lora: Doing the virtual makeovers. It has re-ignited my passion to be a makeup artist again! I went to school in ’98 to become an Esthetican, hoping I’d learn about makeup artistry. Two days of training was all we got. When I worked in salons, I only did a few makeup sessions, but they were fun. I mainly did waxing, facials and more waxing. I didn’t dislike it, but I never really got the chance to hone my makeup skills like I had once dreamed of.

CLM: What’s your favorite way to celebrate reaching your goals?

Lora: Going shopping at my local Thrift Store. I love hunting for treasures at thrift stores and garage sales.

CLM: What do you know now that you wish you had known in the beginning?

Lora: Well, I am learning to be a little less effected by criticism. It’s still hard though. But I’m learning that being successful (or trying to achieve success) does not mean pleasing everyone. You can’t. You can only do what you genuinely feel is right and hope they accept that. If they don’t, I can’t let that ruin my day. I like to read inspirational stories like how Col. Sanders was rejected over a thousand times for his KFC recipe but he kept going. Most likely I would have given up at the 3rd or 4th rejection! To become successful you have to be persistent.

CLM: We writers really know about that and relate to you there. Tell us about your art and how you use it in your business? 
Lora: Thanks for asking! I always had this dream of opening a little makeup studio/facial room and decorating it with my original artwork. When I did my book Color Revival I did all of the illustrations. First, I wanted to present my artwork to world, and second, it saved me lots of money hiring an artist or buying stock photos! But that process helped re-ignite my other passion, too (and my very first one): Artwork. 

I plan on trying to market my artwork seriously for the first time this year. I plan on opening a Zazzle store, too, [www.zazzle.com] which will feature my artwork. I’m pretty excited about it. My artwork is an area in particular where I need to get over my fear of rejection. That’s why I sort of kept it hidden so long. It’s very personal. If someone is not happy with their color analysis, that’s one thing. But if they hate my artwork, they hate me! At least that’s how it feels sometimes. 
Lora's book, Color Revival, has her art work inside and it's very well done

CLM: Again, as writers, we can relate and I have sons who are artists so I know what you mean there. Can't wait for more products and your Zazzle products. Anything you’d like to add in how a color analysis will help your client (particularly if he or she is an author?) 
Lora: I honestly feel that getting to know your best colors can indeed change your life. Besides enabling you to look your best, it can save you so much time and frustration because your wardrobe will all work together perfectly. And the money saved from not making mistakes in makeup and clothing is tremendous. If you add a style analysis from http://www.prettyyourworld.com/personal-style.html , you will have the two most important beauty tools in your arsenal for looking your best. 
If you win, will you choose this? Her ColorFast Color Analysis with eSwatches.

If you would like to have a full color analysis by Lora Alexander or a style analysis, go to her website and you have several options from which to choose. Also, she has color palettes to carry in your purse to help you with shopping. 
WE have a winner! The winner of Lora Alexander's Quick Color Analysis is CARRIE WOOD. She has been notified and hopefully will share with us what she learns. If you would like your own analysis, do check out Lora's website.

If you win, will you choose her Color Revival e-book?

Go exploring at her blog and website and take her free quiz. Be sure to come back tomorrow when she shows us how she does her analysis!


Julia M. Reffner said...

Oh, what a fun book. I love the swirly look of Lora's swatches. I have only recently begun to think about color and would love to get some new ideas.


Teresa Slack said...

A super fair, blue-eyed blond with (now faded) freckles as the only source of color on my face, I've always looked for ways to give the illusion of color.

People have told me blue brings out my eyes, but it's one of my least fave colors. I always thought colors you were drawn to were usually good for you. Guess that's a big fat myth because I like reds, oranges, jewel tones. Sigh. Will definitely check out your website.

Thanks for the info and I'll be back tmrw.

Carrie said...

I love color, art, and all things girly . . . even the stuff I'm too introverted to wear!!
Can't wait for bit of time to go explore her site.

Yes, please enter me!!

Thanks for a great interview!

jude urbanski said...

One of my 2011 goals is to fill my life with more color. In fact, just an hour ago at our Prayer Shawl Ministry we were talking about using color! That includes color that I wear. I finally got it that a 'winter person' shouldn't do beiges! I groove better in Hot Pink.


Unknown said...

This is something I have been interested in for quite a while...I have Lora's book but it is hard to evaluate yourself! I know some colors make me glow and others make me look like roadkill...I am so tired of buying the wrong colors!


Crystal Laine said...

Lora's website has so much information to help out. But it is also nice to have someone who can professionally evaluate what colors make you look your best. It's amazing to me before and after photos.

I'm thrilled you all are here today and it will be fun to see who wins, too. Will the winner let Lora show her before and after? :) I'd love to feature you, if so! :)

K said...

I bought Lora's book but, although it's really detailed and explains the main characteristics of every season pretty well, I'm not quite sure about my season...sometimes I think I'm a certain season and next day I don't think it's the right one... =(


Cara Putman said...

hmmm, looks like I might be a cool winter.

Crystal Laine said...

Cara, looking through my Color Revival book, I think you are a cool winter, so I think that's a good evaluation. Lipsticks--raspberry, magenta, soft fuchsia, blue red--sound right?

Teresa, I wonder if you might be a soft summer? Rich colors, but softer than jewel tones. Hmm. It would be fun to see your analysis!

Julia, the swatch book is attached with a peg and are so nice. Just the right size to put into your purse. They are durable and have suggestions on the back.

Carrie, I would love to know what you are with your blonde good looks. What color cowboy boots should you have??

K--have you narrowed down any seasons? What do you think is your most prominent aspect? (Soft, Warm, Light, Dark, Cool?) Then you go and look at the second aspect.

K said...

@ Crystal: I'm undecided between cool summer and soft summer. Since these two seasons are both summer, they share most of the colors...I don't know whether there are some colors that can help me decide which of the two seasons is the right one...

Crystal Laine said...

K--Lora would know the answer to your question, but looking at the two, Cool Summer has no warm colors like light summer does. Light summer goes into spring some. Lt. Summer has peach, coral, pastel pink and Cool Summer is strictly cool colors with only a light lemon yellow.

I think it's kind of a close call. For Light summer your primary characteristic is LIGHT. For Cool Summer it is COOL.

Crystal Laine said...

K, I think I need another cuppa coffee! I went through all that to note after posting that you said SOFT and COOL summers, not Light and Cool. Doh.

Soft summers are hard to pick out. But I think it might be the eye where you could make a decision. The Cool Summer's eye is more like a soft ice (in my opinion) and the soft summer's is more blended. Christie Brinkley is a cool summer and Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Anniston are soft summers. Maybe compare your photo to the examples on the site? You need Lora! :)