Amber Fillerup Clark has been sharing her life on-line for over a decade, dubbing her an “OG influencer,” a job which regularly overshadows her different function as a magnificence entrepreneur. After launching a line of hair extensions referred to as bfb hair in 2016, she expanded her haircare empire when she debuted dae hair with Sephora in May 2020. Just final month, dae raised a $2.6M seed spherical led by Willow Growth.
I spoke to Fillerup Clark concerning the evolution of the influencer trade and the challenges she’s needed to overcome, whilst extra girls on this house are lastly getting recognition for constructing profitable companies that basically assist their households and communities.
Amber Fillerup Clark
David Kent Clark
Amy Shoenthal: You’re one of many authentic Instagram influencers who began on this world at a time when your self-discipline wasn’t taken all that critically. What was that like, and the way has “influencing” modified since you bought your begin?
Amber Fillerup Clark: It’s wild to see how a lot it’s modified. People have been so snarky again within the day, nevertheless it got here from a lack of awareness. The idea of a selfie was so new to folks, it appeared so floor degree. People have been like, why is Amber is taking photos of herself? For me it was a lot greater than that, I used to be being artistic in my own residence, and there was nobody else dwelling to take an image so I simply took it myself. Then I wished to share it with folks, encourage them to strive new hairstyles or new outfits that basically spoke to their private type.
Now, it’s much less off placing for folks to get on the market and say, ‘I acquired prepared, I look good, I need to take a selfie.’ Even again then there have been nonetheless lots of people who related with what I used to be attempting to do. The connection half made it straightforward to miss the negativity.
I believed it was so cool that as a mother I acquired to be in my dwelling, with my youngsters, earning profits. I didn’t go to enterprise faculty and I used to be working a profitable enterprise from dwelling and attending to spend a lot time with my youngsters as an alternative of doing the normal 9-5.
Back then, nobody had influencer departments. Now each firm has an influencer advertising and marketing division. Now what we do is a lot extra revered.
Shoenthal: Should the time period ‘influencer’ be retired?
Fillerup Clark: Depending on who we’re speaking to, I all the time say my husband is a photographer, or we’re artistic administrators for manufacturers and we do artistic campaigns. The time period ‘influencer’ feels icky generally. You don’t need to imagine your value is tied to influencing folks.
You’re influencing as a byproduct of what you’re really doing, which is creating. I feel it will be nice if that time period went away.
Shoenthal: Tell me about dae. This isn’t your first foray into magnificence, you had hair extensions as a part of Barefoot Blonde, so what’s new about what you’re doing now?
Fillerup Clark: We began our hair extension firm six years in the past. I discovered a lot from that. My husband and I all the time talked about launching a haircare model nevertheless it felt like a really distant aim. Then we began our extension line and the extra I discovered about learn how to construct an organization, learn how to take care of the problems that come up, all of the sudden that distant aim began to really feel nearer and nearer. I’ve been speaking to my followers a lot through the years, recommending merchandise and listening to what they beloved or hated about what was in the marketplace so I had quite a lot of concepts.
The phrase neighborhood is so overused, however I felt like no neighborhood actually existed behind a product, not to mention a haircare model. I wished to create one thing that stood for extra. People are prepared to spend extra on merchandise or manufacturers that signify a way of life customers need to be part of and corporations who stand for a similar issues they do.
Shoenthal: So how does dae clear up that? What hole does it fill?
Fillerup Clark: There nonetheless aren’t quite a lot of clear manufacturers that swimsuit all hair sorts. Every magnificence product needs to be “clear” now however we’re attempting to be an expensive on a regular basis important for folks the place your bathe is not only this mundane chore, it’s a sensorial expertise. We put a lot thought into our scents and our textures. For lots of people, the bathe is your solely alone time all day.
I all the time inform my youngsters, your duties may be mundane or you may make this enjoyable. You get to decide on. It’s the identical factor with hopping within the bathe. This is usually a particular a part of your day. We need to remind folks to decelerate, really feel the suds, odor your shampoo and simply get pleasure from it even when it’s solely two minutes.
Shoenthal: How did you discover the folks to create the components? How did the product growth course of work?
Fillerup Clark: That was probably the most daunting half. I don’t even keep in mind how I discovered our lab, however I used to be researching and asking anybody I knew not solely from the wonder trade however anybody who ran companies on the whole. I slowly began to search out connections, flew to a number of totally different locations, toured their labs, and finally discovered one which was the right match as a result of they targeted on clear merchandise. We began working with them and it was an ideal expertise.
Shoenthal: Is it exhausting to be taken critically going from influencer to entrepreneur, regardless that very often they’re one in the identical? How have been you obtained while you entered the wonder house?
Fillerup Clark: One of our followers was speaking to my husband at an occasion not too long ago, after which she got here as much as me and mentioned, I believed David was working the whole lot and also you have been simply leaping in for the image. I used to be identical to, no, it’s the other. While he’s probably the most superb, supportive tremendous dad at dwelling, I’m doing all of this from a enterprise perspective. People nonetheless suppose another person have to be doing it and I’m simply the face of it. They don’t perceive that it’s my enterprise, I constructed my group, I discovered the folks, I created the product. I wasn’t simply approving, I used to be concerned in each a part of the method.
Shoenthal: Talk to me about authenticity, physique positivity, self-acceptance and extra. I’m curious, the place do you and your organization match into that motion?
Fillerup Clark: We attempt to be as inclusive as potential. It’s necessary to point out all of the totally different hair sorts that exist. Some of those merchandise swimsuit coily hair, some hair is skinny, some brief. I personal a hair extension firm so I’ve seen the totally different wants for various hair sorts. We’ve put quite a lot of thought into what hair sorts we’re displaying.
I’ve seen how a lot physique positivity has influenced me, from having my first little one, and feeling self acutely aware and sucking in for pictures, to now simply being okay with the truth that that is what I appear like. Two youngsters later I’m a lot extra snug after giving start, it’s like a breath of contemporary air. We can all simply launch, let go, not suck in, simply do you.
For our model, I need folks to see a photograph of one in all our fashions with wrinkles. I need them to understand their wrinkles may be stunning or that they don’t all the time need to cowl up their zits. Little issues like that make such a big effect. We don’t retouch something, we regularly don’t put a lot make-up on our fashions. We need the whole lot to really feel pure. This is a consolation model.
Shoenthal: Do folks criticize you while you make statements like that because you’re blonde, white and skinny so theoretically you match extra simply into society’s magnificence requirements?
Fillerup Clark: I’ve talked about that so much. Even the opposite day somebody requested me, how will you say one thing like wrinkles are stunning, however then go get botox? I don’t suppose these statements are in battle with one another. They don’t cancel one another out. You can suppose wrinkles are stunning and likewise get botox in order for you it. I say all hair sorts are stunning after which get criticized for having a hair extension firm. But that does not imply you possibly can’t placed on hair extensions for an occasion and really feel actually stunning after which additionally take them out and really feel actually stunning after they’re out.
Shoenthal: Have you shifted the way you current your self on social media now that your viewers is so large?
Fillerup Clark: I don’t put my youngsters’ faces on-line anymore. If I may return I in all probability would do issues a lot in another way. It’s totally different to have a child on-line versus a child. My son is nearly eight and my daughter is seven, then I’ve a 3 12 months outdated and a new child. The older ones are going to high school now and if their academics have been to comply with me I wouldn’t need them to essentially see this curated on-line persona which could give them preconceived notions about my youngsters. Then, if they’ve a nasty day, they is likely to be held to the next normal. I need them simply to be accepted for who they’re. They’re simply youngsters who’ve dangerous days and good days and I did not need to put that on the market for the world to see.
Shoenthal: Anything else you need readers to know?
Fillerup Clark: My neighborhood actually does really feel like a gaggle of pals as a result of they have been with me via my ups and downs, via the births of all my youngsters. I actually do really feel like I’ve a pal base, not a fan base. I’ve interacted with them for over a decade. And when your pal launches a model, you need to assist them. It simply offers me chills to really feel all that assist.