Naperville sisters Jenny and Cindy Tank wanted to create clothing that empowered their own daughters to wear something with meaning.
“Giving girls something to see what they can become and we’ve always said ‘you have to see it to be it’ and that was really the start of it, because we hadn’t seen a lot of positive role models on girls clothing,” said Cindy Tank-Murphy who’s in marketing and business development for the business.
That idea turned into Clever Belle – a clothing line the sisters launched in August 2015 with the help of their other siblings.
“Cindy has a marketing background, I was a former attorney, we have a sister who is an educator and our brother is a graphic designer, so all of our things just meshed really well,” explained Jenny, the operations and legal role for Clever Belle.
Ada Lovelace surrounded by computer code, an inspiring Malala Yousafzai quote, and motivational words making up a Misty Copeland image are some of clever belle’s most popular shirt designs.
“So we started out designing these women and putting their biographies on the back of the shirts as an educational tool for girls,” said Cindy. “And then we realized that we can actually partner and send proceeds to those women’s charitable organizations which is really what we wanted to do.”
The online-only business, has partnered with several nonprofits and charitable organizations, making an impact on young girls around the world.
“It makes adults realize, ‘oh that girl -maybe she likes computers, I can talk to her about that.’ As apposed to initially going up to a girl and saying ‘oh you look so pretty today,’ which we’re conditioned to do,” said Jenny. “Instead it draws you to ask them about their interests, their hobbies, ‘oh do you like Jane Goodall, I love Jane Goodall,’ and talking about that and focusing on their heart and their mind which is what we’re all about. Clever Belles are brilliantly beautiful and that’s kind of where that tagline came from. It’s all about your heart and mind.”
Clever Belle shirts are printed by Colorburst Screen Printing, a nonprofit that teaches adults with autism about printmaking, and the business uses recyclable shipping materials.
Clever Belle’s newest partnership is with Eden Projects, a deforestation group, and for every tree tee that is sold Clever Belle will be planting a tree.
Making a local and global impact, one t-shirt at a time.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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