The best advice Amber Fillerup Clark ever received was to, “create a life where you never have to ‘work’ because you enjoy what you do so much.” In many ways Amber has followed this advice perfectly from starting her own blog to eventually creating Barefoot Blonde Hair with her husband David Clark. It is amazing how time flies, what was once a little dream that Amber and David envisioned is now a business celebrating its one year anniversary.
In 2013, while Amber was pregnant with her son Atticus, Amber and David made a huge decision, “David and I both knew we wanted to do hair extensions one day, we knew this because it was something I was so passionate about,” she added, “One day we were eating on the pier in Laguna Beach, I think, and we said, ‘why don't we just do it? We can start our own line’.”
Amber's love for hair and hair styling started at a young age. When Amber was little she was very shy, “In elementary school they would ask my best friend, Jessalyn, ‘does she know how to talk?’ I only talked to my really close friends because I was too scared to talk to anyone else,” she said.
Although Amber didn’t say much, she showed off her personality and creativity through her hairstyles. She said, “I always loved make up and fun hairstyles. I was always getting compliments on my hair since I was in the first grade. My mom would do really cool styles in my hair and then when I got a bit older I started doing my own.”
Her love for fun hair styles transitioned into a love for hair extensions. “Since I was fifteen, I have worn hair extensions and I felt like they really changed my life, as cheesy as that sounds. I had such a love for styling my hair, but have always had thin hair so I was never really able to actually style it the way I wanted. So, when I finally got hair extensions, I felt like I could use my creativity and try new things with my hair,” she said. Fast forward a few years and that love for creative hairstyles and extensions would develop into something new and exciting for Amber.
What began as an idea on a Laguna Beach pier in 2013 wouldn’t come to fruition for another three years. The path to creating Barefoot Blonde Hair took lots of time and planning. From learning the ins and outs of running a business, raising two children and testing products, Amber and David had their hands full.
“We tested so much hair. And we still do! We are constantly getting in new samples from manufacturers all over the world to make sure ours is the best. But testing hair takes a lot of time. We would swim with them, curl them, wash them, brush them, everything," she said. If Amber didn’t like the way certain hair was taking to heat or styling then they would go back to square one.
It took a long time to find the perfect hair, there were moments where Amber doubted the process and felt like giving up, “It took a while but I am so happy we kept going. There were a lot of times when I was so discouraged, but we kept at it and I couldn't be happier with how it all turned out.”
“With confidence you try new things, you take risks, you stick up for people or yourself, you say hi to strangers and so many other things. So, I hope we help girls feel like their best self.”
After finding the perfect hair to create their products, Amber was then able to pursue her next goal, which she calls the number one goal for her business, education. Amber said,“I want girls to know how to use their extensions, how to care for them, how to style them, everything.”
Amber not only wants Barefoot Blonde Hair customers to be educated but also to gain confidence. When a girl wears her extensions, she hopes they feel confident, “I have always believed that with confidence you are invincible, and I know that, as cheesy as it sounds, with good hair I feel good. Which helps me feel confident and with confidence you try new things, you take risks, you stick up for people or yourself, you say hi to strangers and so many other things. So, I hope we help girls feel like their best self.”
Laura Denhalter, director of content at Barefoot Blonde Hair loves getting to work alongside Amber on this goal, to educate girls and to help improve their self-image. “I appreciate that Amber has so much focus on educating our customers, she truly wants them to love their hair and to be confident in themselves. Which is what makes it so amazing to work with her, I think that shows in the way she treats those she comes in contact with. She is always quick to offer a kind word and a little confidence boost. She truly wants others to feel important and beautiful in their own skin," Laura said.
Though business is important, Amber never wants to lose sight of what really matters, her family. Amber said, “I recently read Present Over Perfect and love when Shauna Niequist said, ‘it’s about the heart, not the hustle.’ I never want to get so caught up in working that I lose myself or what is important to me.”
Balancing different responsibilities can be overwhelming, “It is really hard to find a perfect balance. I am hopefully slowly getting there. I just always want my kids to know they come first," she said. One aspect that helps Amber keep balance is that she gets to work alongside her husband David.
On getting to work with her husband, Amber said, “One thing about David is that he has cheered me on 100% since the beginning. When I first started blogging all of his friends thought it was super lame, blogs were not what they are now, there were hardly any bloggers at this time, and David just doesn't listen to negativity and won't even give it the time of day. He always told me what I was doing was awesome. If I ever have a new idea he is the first to say, ‘that is amazing, let’s do it,’ and he offers me every bit of support along the way."
David along with Amber’s brother-in-law Landon Petersen handle the logistical side of the business, which allows Amber time to invest in the more creative aspects of Barefoot Blonde Hair and plan for the future.
For the future of Barefoot Blonde Hair, Amber wants to pursue her goal of educating customers even more, while also stepping out of the box and trying new things, which is one of her favorite aspects about her job. “There are no rules, we can do this however we want. If we have a new idea, we get to make that happen and it's really exciting. I basically get to take all of the things I have wished other businesses did and do them on my own," she said.
There is plenty of time to focus on the future, but today it is time to celebrate what they have accomplished in a year. Amber feels a lot of emotions when reflecting on the past year and how far the business has come since last October, “It literally makes me cry, like actual tears. When we launched it was this crazy emotional day seeing all the support from readers. It was the most exciting day. David and I seriously sat there crying very happy tears. I just feel so grateful for all of our amazing customers and I am excited for what’s to come.”
It has been a very exciting year for the team at Barefoot Blonde Hair, for now Amber plans to celebrate with a delicious piece of cake. What kind? “Funfetti by Sweet Tooth Fairy, it’s so good," she said.