Amber Van Luven wants to help women feel more comfortable and confident.
That's the driving force behind Ambellished, the clothing business the 21-year-old Auburnian launched on Aug. 28. Online only for now, the business sells casual and business women's clothing in sizes ranging from small to 2 or 3XL.
"I wanted the website and store to be place where any woman can walk in feel comfortable and leave with something that makes them feel confident," Van Luven told The Citizen Wednesday.
Van Luven said that she's been interested in fashion for a while. A native of Weedsport, she regularly watched the 2006 film "The Devil Wears Prada" and, like its main character, wanted to break into fashion journalism. Later, her interest turned to retailing clothes, so she obtained her wholesaler's license and got to work opening Ambellished.
Van Luven began learning about the retail clothing business and setting up her own in February. She planned to open an online shop at first, with a brick-and-mortar one to follow, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the latter part of the business back indefinitely, she said.
The clothing of Ambellished is ideal for women in their 20s to their 40s, Van Luven said. They could be worn to the office, or on the weekend with friends. She doesn't design or manufacture the clothes, she noted, but as a licensed esthetician, she'd eventually like to add a stylist element to the business. She could help women find items they like or piece different ones together to achieve the look they want.
"I really want any woman, no matter their size or background, to feel comfortable and confident in their clothes," Van Luven said. "Those are the most important things to me — making people feel good about themselves. It's not as much about the clothes as it is about helping women."