Don’t follow trends, create them.
Be your own critic. Don’t be scared to acknowledge your own weaknesses and grow from them.
Look for your own mistakes in others.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zara Alexandrova an eastern European native is a fashion forecaster and entrepreneur, she firmly believes that fashion & beauty can transform a person into a personality and with that in mind she is dressing her clients around the globe, giving them not only a new wardrobe but confidence, determination and inspires them to lead a better and fuller life.
Her uncompromising style has made her one of the most vivid personalities in Los Angeles, she knows how to make an entrance and leave an impression.
Zara’s ability to embody any style and design she wears and make it her own is where the idea of “I am every woman” comes from. Her “chameleon-like” style, and her impeccable visuality is what makes her stand out in the crowd and inspire those around her.
Zara grew up with four sisters and fashion was always a big part of her life. Zara is “Every Woman” she is whoever she decides to be in the morning, she has no restraints when it comes to fashion and her impeccable taste and a sharp eye for beauty and detail landed her in several “best-dressed lists”.
With her exquisite taste and approachable and warm personality, Zara inspires not only her clients, her two children, family, and friends but anyone who crosses her path (in real life or online).
Zara sees her home town of LA as an important contributor to the global fashion industry, with her European sophistication she aims to break every rule in Hollywood and take the local scene to a new “fashion-forward” level whilst also playing on the international level with her forthcoming projects.
Later this year Zara will launch her first beauty collection Cameleon by Alexandrova and also a capsule fashion collection. The budding beauty and fashion mogul is bringing her over a decade of passion and practice to the world in the style she has fast become known for.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I was born in Armenia, moved to Russia at the age of 7, and grew up in a family of 5 girls with a nurturing mother and a very traditional father.
My family supported my creative side from a young age and pushed me to explore my curiosity when it came to fashion & beauty setting me on a path for what would ultimately become a lifelong passion and career down the line.
One of my first memories towards fashion and beauty was scouring the pages of a ‘JC Penny’ catalog (now remember I was only 4 and still in Armenia — so how this got here I’ll never know but it was a sign of big things to come and a memory I will hold dear to me for life).
When it came to schooling I excelled in the day today. Instead of playing with others, I was always furthering my knowledge of the world through reading not only about fashion and beauty but culture, cities, and places near and far that one day I would end up visiting. Because I was always so daring- I wasn’t scared to choose a profession in a field like law or medicine and make my mark on the world.
I attended the University of Civil Aviation in St Petersburg studying law. One standout memory I have in choosing law was the overall aesthetic and power a female lawyer holds both in her look, presence, and ability to communicate and change the world. It appealed to me on so many levels but was a defining moment in me realizing that I wanted to use my own voice, message, sexuality and that ultimately led me to the United States in 2000.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah-ha” moment with us?
Having worked in sales in my earlier years in the US with luxury brands like; Agent Provocateur, Herve Leger, Avakin Jewelry in Beverly Hills i was exposed to a high-end luxury clientele and learned how important customer service is in building long term relationships. The many relationships, both business and personal made me want to explore working on a closer more personal one on one level. Many would comment on my own aesthetic and look when i was working and this was probably one of the first memories of thinking i could do this myself on a larger scale helping people.
Quintessentially Lifestyle; a concierge service (based in the UK) approached me for a meeting around this time and within 24 hours of my first meeting with them, I became the contracted US Stylist.
The visions I had about the ‘Perfect Man’ including my father made it a natural progression to focus my business on the male clientele helping them not only gain the exterior aesthetic but the internal confidence also. Being able to share my knowledge of designers, teaching them the difference between the trend and styles … down to the smell of a perfume allowed me to create the total package for each client inside and out.
My Ah-Ha moment came from walking into my excellence, realizing why people had been talking about me and owning it in a way I have never done before. Living in my truth!
There is no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
My biggest advice here is to take your time and immerse yourself into the fashion world (or whatever world you are in), listen and learn from high-end peers, and pick yourself up even if you fall.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
When your hobby is something you live and breathe and it is virtually inescapable that’s when you know it is your destiny and you just need to take a leap of faith and dive right in.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
Like an artist can never get enough of painting and creating for me fashion & beauty is my art, and the air I breathe. Remember to not take yourself too seriously as it will kill the fun.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I truly believe that in business one must surround themselves with a like-minded team so when you hit a drawback you as creatives can break down the wall or object together to make it to the finish line.
MY favorite saying is; “If you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far do it with a team”.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
Being a perfectionist I have always planned ahead but looked at the hardest route to make sure I had a backup and the answers to the questions before they are even asked.
I know how critics like to put things down so I always do the back work to ensure that I have the answers ready and waiting.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?
Honestly no — I believe in what I am doing so much and the demand for real quality will never go out of style.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
On my first Fashion Week for Haute Couture in Paris, I tried too hard on how I looked when it came to the styling and aesthetic. In retrospect, I now know that simplicity is the best luxury. We need to live by Coco Chanel’s famous quote — ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
My family, children, and myself. Ultimately I do what I do to encourage them to be whoever and whatever they want to be to show them it’s all possible.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I am using my platform and success to create a skincare line that will help everyone feel and more importantly look their best inside and out. In our world feeling good and looking good is everything and the motto I live by.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Always take a 20-minute break during the workday — (it) doesn’t matter if you’re having challenges or not — it will allow you to reframe your mind, mental state and come back fresh
- Never be scared of making a mistake. You will learn nothing and experience, growth and excellence come from trial and error.
- Don’t follow trends, create them.
- Be your own critic. Don’t be scared to acknowledge your own weaknesses and grow from them.
- Look for your own mistakes in others.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would start the ‘Say Less, Do More’ movement. Whatever you’re doing right now do it better tomorrow.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Live one day at a time. My journey has taken many shapes and forms to bring me to what is now the entrepreneurial side with my own brand of beauty and fashion lines. When the creative juices flow that’s when you shine — let the universe guide and your gut
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Brad Pitt .. final answer Lock it in xoxo
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.