You Should Get to Know… Lora Kelley!
You know those SuperWomen gals, who manage to dominate multiple projects, run successful businesses, raise happy families, and look fashionable on top of it all? Lora Kelley– stylist, magazine maven, behind-the-scenes businesswoman, wife and mother– is exactly one of those girls.
Besides her hair and makeup styling work, Lora Kelley is probably one of the more well-known wedding industry women in Charlottesville because she has her hands in everything: her husband Eric’s photography business, the Wedding Planner Magazine, photoshoot styling with Lynn Easton, ownership of the uber popular Para Coffee (all this besides being being friends and collaborators with every big name in the Cville’s wedding and creative industries. Not only does she have the “girl about town” thing down pat, but she’s also a genuinely fabulous person: strong, open, unreserved, always striving to push her career, her husband’s career, and the entire Cville wedding industry to a bigger and better potential.
You probably already know Lora in your Charlottesville comings and goings– but read on for a few special peeks behind the scenes of this local wonder woman…
You are involved in the wedding industry in so many ways– what was your first real foray into the world of weddings?
Lora: I would say the first real wedding I did was my cousin’s wedding in Philadelphia in 2006. Before that, I worked as a freelance artist for Laura Mercier and did primarily event make-up and taught people how to apply their make-up and what colors, etc looked good on them.
Will makeup styling be your permanent go-to, or will you eventually move away from that aspect of the industry?
Lora: I will always, always be a make-up artist. It’s been in my veins since I was born.
On site for a Wedding Planner shoot.
You are truly superwoman– between your wildly successful makeup business, your work with Eric, being a mommy, being the managing editor of The Wedding Planner Magazine, and working on styled shoots, what don’t you do? How do you manage it all without going insane? Can women have it all?
Lora: Ha! No one has it all! I do what I do because I love my family, and I want to make sure they’re provided and cared for. I love my husband, and I celebrate the work he does… and I love being able to support him with the gifts God has given me as an artist, a wife and a mom.
I try to live a trifold life; that is– wife, mother, vocation. But… at the end of the day, my priority lies with Eric, Henry and the newest little bebe on the way.
For our family, we really function as a team. I could not do my work without Eric’s help. I also have a nanny for a few hours a day a few days a week. She is incredibly instrumental to our lives, and she’s really a part of our family. And I belong to an amazing community of people who support us and help us… life is not lived in a vacuum. Everyone needs help and more help and more help!
Styling by Lora, photo by Eric Kelley
What wedding trend are you loving? What trend are you ready to see fade out?
Lora: I am loving sleeves on dresses! How romantic! I’m not a huge fan of vintage washed photos. I’m kind of ready for that to fade out.
Styling by Lora, photo by Eric Kelley
Over the past few years, you’ve jumped into photoshoot and event styling– how did you get involved in that? What would be your dream shoot to style?
Lora: I had the incredible fortune to work with the amazing Lynn Andrews from Easton Events and almost all of the photo-styling I do is with them. They are such a talented group of creators and designers. Mostly, I love photo-styling because I love for photographers to be able to have everything at their finger-tips to make their work look the best it can and because event designers put so much effort into making beautiful events… I want their work be reflected that way in images.
I have to say… I feel like my dream shoot was the one I did with Eric and Easton Events and Beehive for Weddings Unveiled and Grey Likes Weddings. I’ll be hard-pressed to replace that with something better. It was the most fun I’ve had on the shoot… and I got to work with some of my favorite people. I feel really blessed to have had that opportunity.
Eric and Lora, by Sarah Rhoads
You are part of a powerhouse duo– the Kelleys are a force to be reckoned with! What’s the secret to a successful partnership– in love and in business? How do you keep your wedding work, Para Coffee ownership, and relationship separate?
Lora: Secret to a successful partnership… self-sacrifice. Both people have to be willing to lay themselves down for the other.. and it always starts with you. Almost every problem we’ve had, at the root is self-centeredness and an inability to defer to the other person.
And, after that… a good therapist and lots of communication. We see, with some regularity, Chris Martin of transformation counseling. He has been one of the largest blessings to us over the last year. Before that, we did pre-marriage counseling and spent a lot of time in Greg Thompson’s office talking through all the issue of business and married life! Putting two random people together and having them do work together is not easy!
I tell people that there is no separation between work and life! It’s all a mush! But you do need good boundaries to protect your family time from the incessant emailing and phone calls. We try to structure time specifically for family where the phone goes on silent and the computer is closed, and we’re just with each other. It’s so important.
You and Eric are raising the sweetest little boy and– tada!— have another bebe on the way! What’s the most important thing you want to teach your children?
Lora: I want to teach them to love God, to serve others, to be gracious and kind, to be faithful and honest, to work hard and seek justice for those in need. To care for those less fortunate than themselves and to constantly seek wisdom… to read, to love music, to dance and laugh often in joy over beautiful things and to grieve the tragic things in life. To live spherically, holistically and three dimensionally.
Styling by Lora, photo by Elisa B Photography
My ultimate day ____.
Lora: … is a day with my family ending in a date night with Eric.
What’s next for you? What’s next for Lora Elaine and The Wedding Planner Magazine and Eric Kelley Photography?
Lora: Life, life and more life!
I’m happy to be collaborating a lot with Eric this year and next for some really awesome shoots. We’re doing a lot of commercial and editorial work with various fashion and commercial companies, so that’s pretty exciting. The Wedding Planner Magazine is doing some fab things and I’m really excited to show everyone the next issue! Over all, we’re excited for our next little bebe to come to stay with us… and we’re excited for all the growth to come over the next few years. It’s going to be a good time!