I’m really into naturally and locally made products, so when Amber Buckley of Ambiguous You joined the ranks of vendors at Falling for Local I was thrilled. I had seen her at several shows and never tried her make up or body care line but had never tried anything till the 2014 Falling for Local. She made a strategic business move by placing her sugar scrub in the restrooms at the conservatory for potential customers (me included!) to try. That was it! I was hooked and have since also bought a number of her eye shadows. I started thinking, “hey this is art too!” so was equally thrilled when Amber agreed to an interview!
Amber has owned her business, Ambiguous You for over 4 years now. What started as a few sales here and there and the occasional festival has turned into a full time business. The name Ambiguous You is a play off of her name (duh…Amber!) but, more importantly, refers to each of us having our own unique interpretations of ourselves. Makeup can give each of us our own unique look.
Creating her own makeup line came naturally (no pun intended!) for her because she has a BFA in Fine Art from CCAD with a focus in two dimensional work. What’s the connection, you ask? ‘For me mixing oxides and micas for mineral makeup is very similar to mixing paint. CCAD taught me so much about color and how to have fun with it.’ Along with all the technical skills acquired from her professors,she says she learned how to handle a heavy workload, which aids in stressful times running a small business because she knows that she can process what needs to get done and make it happen.
Since childhood, she has loved making different herbal concoctions and, as a teen, fell in love with all of the DIY spa creations. After graduation from CCAD, she found herself in some tough spots and bath time was such a rejuvenating time for her. Adulthood brought on the passion to make skin and beauty products for not just herself but for others…
I found myself unsatisfied with the quality of goods that was available so I began to create my own recipes using high quality ingredients. Friends and family members began requesting items from me, and I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. With my extensive color knowledge from CCAD, years of practice since I was a kid and lots of research I began to create my base product line. Ever since then the brand has evolved into what it is today. I love being able to help someone relax from their chaotic lives and make them remember how they are each beautiful beings.
With Ambiguous You, she aims to bring each customer an entire line of high quality, all natural, bath and beauty care products that make you look forward to pampering yourself. Amber only use vegan, all natural, and gluten free and cruelty free ingredients. Which translates into ‘you can finally pronounce everything that you put on your skin!’
Happily, she finds it unnecessary to use animal derived ingredients in her products because such nice plant based ingredients are readily available. The products are also gluten free for a better quality product and peace of mind for customers with gluten sensitivities. Most products are almost completely organic but all ingredients are completely natural. The bath and beauty products are high quality and affordable and everything is made by hand and in small batches to ensure the utmost quality.
When asked what inspired her to start this business, she stated that she thought people should be able to access high quality and cruelty free bath and body products that are not only local but also affordable. Since our skin is the largest organ in the human body, she felt it was important to know and can pronounce everything that touches it. Nature is also a huge inspiration for her products and mineral colors. Some of her best inspirations come during her walks with family.
Most of Amber’s techniques are rather traditional. As she says, ‘Products similar to ours have been made since Cleopatra’s time. Though we try to put a modern twist on them, which is what helps to make our products original.’
Now that you are sold on her products, I’m sure you’d like to know where you can find them! She will be at a few shows before the holidays:
Crafts Gone Wild! (an interactive crafting event being held at Wild Goose Creative) on Saturday, December 12th 12 pm to 5 pm at 2491 Summit Street ( parking lot in the back alley)
Bexley Festival Of The Arts (hosted by the Montrose PTO and held at Montrose Elementary School) 2555 East Main Street in Bexley on Saturday, December 5th, from 10AM-4PM.
Ambiguous You is also available at several different locations. Online, she has her Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/ambiguousyou) and website (www.AmbiguoousYou.com). In addition, the products are available at several local businesses:
Boline Apothecary (full line of products); Firefly Play Café (lip balm only); Urban Emporium (mineral makeup and full line minus tea bag bath and lotion bars); It’s All Natural (full line available); Rendezvous Hair Salon (full line available) and DeMar’s (full line available)
She is thrilled that to have added the full line of products to two new stores, Rendezvous Hair Salon and DeMar’s of Grandview. Evolved, owners of Rendezvous, sponsors some pretty amazing events in this city such as Drauma fashion show, Zombie Walk, and Trauma so Amber is pumped to being teaming up with them. Their stylists are amazing with alternative and classic looks plus they can make hair every shade of the rainbow and DeMar’s is an antique and handmade store that feels as if you have just stepped into a home décor magazine (very unique items that are either antique or handmade locally).
Recognition and inspiration also come from customers:
The recognition that excites me the most is when I get feedback from customers about how our products have helped them and how much they love them. Without our customers we wouldn’t be anything so to hear positive feedback just warms my heart and reminds me I’m doing what I should be doing.
Karin Ely a Columbus local wrote me this after repurchasing some foundation; “I bought this (foundation) at the craft show downtown around the beginning of December. Absolutely love it!! Have never had so many compliments on my skin!” Or this sweet review from Stephanie Weeks in North Carolina, “I love shopping from Ambiguous You! I love this rose water and I use it every morning to refresh my skin and every evening after cleansing. Doesn’t feel like other rose waters which are nothing more than rose oil and water- this one is the real deal! And at a reasonable price! I bought this in bulk because I never want to be without and need to have some ready even when I travel! Love this vendor!”
Ultimately, her love of being able to empower people to feel more radiant than they did the day before and to know that her products actually help heal her customers’ skin, keeps her at it with the hope that the impact is life long.
Recently Ambiguous You was also featured in The New Worker Magazine, writer Rebecca Curl featured my business and how co-working has assisted Amber in her business. This article can be read using this link: http://newworker.co/mag/made-by-coworking-ambiguous-you/
Finally, Amber indicated that creating new products to meet customer needs is essential to her success:
We are always interested in expanding our products and creating items that our customers need in their lives and are happy to try to accommodate as much as possible whether it me an allergy, special scent or just working on a new product that hasn’t been made available yet. We encourage our customers to get in touch with us.
Future goals? To launch a regional and national campaign to have her product line available wherever there are discerning customers! And I believe that this ambitiously ambiguous lady will make it happen!
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