Marybeth Otte, Finding her TRUE self.

...At the age of 35, when I decided to finally start listening to my inner voice rather than the chorus of voices outside of myself, my life path started veering off in a more authentic direction, toward my creative side. Two years ago I sold about 90% of my material items. Clearing the clutter from my life, cleared the clutter from my mind, which in turn fueled my creativity.   My life path has been a bit more meandering than most due to the fact that it took so long for me to be true to myself and listen to my inner voice,  But with each job that has passed, and each life experience I've encountered over the years, I've moved one step closer to the real “ME”...

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Meet Lucia, of Owl Avenue Soaps

"I admire my mom because she has lots of good ideas too and she helps me a lot on my soap adventures. I really can’t do it all on my own. I mean I can’t stay up that late making and packaging soap!"


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On October 1st, 2016 from 10:00am until 1:30pm The Alive Center of Naperville and Clever Belle educated mothers and daughters in a variety of talks, activities and mini workshops including topics covering: Giving Back and Community Service, Bullying & Friendships for all ages, Self Advocacy- finding your voice, Self Love and Confidence, Dynamic Women Careers, Finding what makes you come alive, Social Media for Parents & Kids, Brilliantly Beautiful Project by Clever Belle, Health and Beauty, & Healthy light lunch and snacks

At the end of the day participants gathered for a NEVER seen before Girl & Women empowerment fashion show. What we wear speaks volumes about us! This fashion show featured girls and women age 8 and up. They wore Clever Belle inspiring tees, but the focus was not only about the fashion. More importantly the girls and women were revered for their unique interests, hobbies, careers, and aspirations --Girls and women who "dare to be rare" including a teen professional dancer and Instagram star, women firefighters, a police officer, a doctor an engineer, scientist, construction worker and a CEO under 30 just to name a few.

"You can be anything you want to be when you grow up!" At least that's what we tell our girls and boys from a very young age, right?  But what does our culture tell them?  

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Printing With A Purpose

When we started printing Clever Belle t-shirts last year, we made the decision to use a screen printer unlike any other screen printer in the area.  We are proud to partner with ColorBurst Screen Printing, a division of Little Friends, Inc. ColorBurst is a non-profit, offering job skills training and employment opportunities for adults with autism and developmental challenges; empowering them with a sense of purpose and accomplishment and providing integration into the community.

Our decision to use ColorBurst is reaffirmed every time we are greeted by people like Mike, when we deliver or pick up shirts at the Downers Grove facility. Mike has worked at ColorBurst for several years, starting when he was a student at Bridge High School, which offers a transitional work program. Mike is learning to print and operate the presses and has mastered the tag-press. His pleasant smile and great customer service are just a couple reasons we are very happy with our choice in screen printer.

April is National Autism Awareness Month. In honor, we are donating $1 to Little Friends, Inc. for every shirt sold during the month of April. According to a CDC study last year, 1 in 68 children in the U.S. are identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To learn more about autism and what you can do to help, visit


CASA Clever Belle

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Clever Belle, in an effort to build educational awareness to issues, wants to help the cause, in some small way this month.

By Jenny Tank

Family law was always an interest of mine in law school, but I never had the opportunity to work in that area until I decided to volunteer as a CASA. While I was never the victim of abuse as a child, I did live with relatives for a period of weeks while my parents sought treatment for health issues, and I've always been grateful that my parents had family willing to step in and take care of us while they were receiving care. Not every child is so lucky. I know what it's like to have to leave a home because your parents aren't able to care for you. I also felt the strain of being away from my parents whom I loved very much, and I have felt that pain. My childhood experience led me to begin researching ways I could help children who are in situations where their parents aren't able to care for them, whether that is due to mental health issues, alcohol and drug addiction or abuse occurring in the home. This led me to discover CASA.

CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is an organization which promotes volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the U.S. can be safe and have the opportunity to thrive in a permanent home. Last year over 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. These volunteers are everyday citizens who undergo screening and training in their local communities.

While I was a former lawyer, you do not need to be a lawyer or social worker to become a CASA volunteer. You just need to care about children and have common sense. CASA provides training and support by professional staff through each case. To help support this worthy cause, Clever Belle will donate $1 to CASA of DuPage for every shirt sold during the month of April.

CASA of DuPage County recruits, trains and supports volunteer citizen Advocates to effectively speak to the best interests of children, who through no fault of their own, are a part of DuPage County's juvenile court system. These children have been subjected to abuse, neglect or have no one to care for them. CASA believes every child has the right to a safe, permanent and nurturing home, and they work to provide powerful friends for powerless children in our area.  

To learn more about becoming an advocate:

To learn more about child abuse prevention:


pop-up shop at crush

What:  Experience confidence-building interactive Art & Apparel by local Chicago companies

Who:  Crush, Clever Belle & The Wishcraft Workshops

Where:  Crush on Roscoe | 2138 West Roscoe, Chicago IL | 773-661-9481

When:  Sunday, March 13th  12 – 3 pm

Two Chicago based companies are partnering on March 13th in Roscoe Village to offer girls between the ages of  6 – 14 clothing that depicts who they are; BRILLIANTLY BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.

Clever Belle and Crush on Roscoe partner up to offer a line of apparel that doesn’t shout “I’m 12 going on 20,” but instead defines beauty as the passions women and girls hold dear to them. Clever Belle’s positive images on shirts help girls define who they are and who they want to become. The designs are also images parents can appreciate.

If you’ve ever shopped for a 12 year old, you know it can be difficult to find a happy medium. You are either shopping in the girl’s department with stereotypical “glittery kittens, rainbows & unicorns” or you’re in a sensory overloaded store causing your head to thump and your daughter to look like she’s dressing for a night out “clubbing.” What is wrong with this picture? There is definitely a lack of tween apparel that can make girls feel empowered and beautiful for who they are on the inside.

Clever Belle is the brain child of four siblings originally from Iowa. After having personal experience seeing the stereotypes in children’s clothing and raising daughters who weren’t into pink and frilly styles, this family decided to take it upon themselves to set a higher standard for girls. “Be who you want to be and not what typical clothing companies think you should be, stated co-founder Jenny Tank.

Clever Belle launched its online store in August 2015, after a successful crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter. “We are excited to share our designs in Roscoe Village. My husband and two children lived here for five years before moving to Naperville. I’ve shopped in Crush for my two nieces, who are part of our reason and inspiration for starting a company that empowers girls through apparel and art,” explained Tank. Clever Belle has been growing organically ever since August and is now ready to unveil their products to one of the most popular tween shops in Chicago.  

Crush on Roscoe began in August 2011 to a welcoming reception from the Roscoe Village neighborhood. With three young girls to dress and a passion for fashion, Jodi Hughes realized that there was a demand for tween apparel. “Crush is a store filled with both basic and up-to-trend apparel and accessories. We are thrilled to offer a local company, like Clever Belle, the opportunity to share their product in our store,” shared Hughes. With new styles arriving weekly, there’s always something new at Crush.

The day wouldn’t be complete without an art workshop led by The Wishcraft Workshop. Wishcraft Workshop's focus on self-awareness, builds confidence and respect and grows artists and thinkers of character and curiosity. Wishcraft Workshop will be leading tweens in a confidence-building creative activity in the shop on March 13th. "CRUSH on Roscoe has been a go-to for tween clothing that respects the nuances of this age. For this reason we're proud to bring our summer campers to the shop for onsite learning each year and are very excited about the integrity the Clever Belle products add to that mix," expressed Candice Blansett-Cummins, owner of The Wishcraft Workshop located at 3907 N. Damen Ave.

Together these companies hope to inspire girls and women (Yes, the shirts come in women’s sizes too!) to express their passions and style outwardly in the apparel they choose to wear and the art they create. Come check out Crush on Roscoe on Sunday, March 13th between from 12 – 3 pm and see for yourself! The Wishcraft Workshop will be in the store leading a confidence-building activity and Clever Belle will have shirts exclusively priced for this event. Find out more about their mission to change the world; one girl at a time.

For more information, contact Cindy Tank-Murphy at

Crush On Roscoe

The Wishcraft Workshop

Save and Give

Did you know that out of the money American kids get in allowance—a hefty $780 per year, on average—almost none is saved? We at Clever Belle would like to help those children learn the importance of budgeting and saving their money while also thinking about the importance of finding a good cause to donate some of their savings to as well. This will not only help them build responsibility skills but hold them accountable for their own future of savings even up to adult life making it easier to understand the importance of the value of a dollar.  

In this free educational activity we focus on making resolutions with action plans for children to find ways to help them reach short term goals this year.  Let’s help our children learn the importance of goal setting, budgeting, and giving all together. May this year be one of the best for you and your family!



Clever Belle ClothesWithoutLimits

Every parent knows the best way to set their child up for success is to give them the tools they need to make good choices and develop a strong sense of self. Why not encourage their personal growth through a fun and creative shirt they can wear every day?

Have you ever struggled to find clothing for your imaginative, tree climbing, bug collector who prefers to wear things that aren’t pink and glittery? It’s hard to believe there aren’t more options for girls who like to wear clothing beyond princesses, rainbows and unicorns. Girls are much more multi-faceted than the apparel industry gives them credit. While more companies are trying to address gender bias, there are still too few clothing companies that design imaginative and creative clothing options for girls who want to succeed in a real career instead of marrying into royalty.

Clever Belle has joined a unique organization changing the rules in apparel for girls. #ClothesWithoutLimits proudly recognizes like-minded companies who embrace the spirit of comradery and whose mission is to break down the gender stereotypes in the clothing industry today.

#ClothesWithoutLimits is a campaign founded by ten small businesses who care about the messages kids see when they shop for clothes. There is a definite divide in apparel themes when it comes to boys and girls clothing.  This group believes that the stark differences send a wrong message to children about what it means to be a boy or girl. The group’s campaign is to support children for who they are, who they want to become and not limit them based on the images, themes and styles many big brands routinely support.

To join the #ClothesWithoutLimits campaign and learn more about these progressive small apparel companies, visit online at

Another great opportunity Clever Belle brings to young girls is our Educational Material Blog with monthly editions focused around one of our 5 themes: Sports, Nature and Environment, Art and Music, Volunteerism, and Education/STEM.  Activities may include: printable games, arts and crafts, science experiments, girl empowerment articles, surveys and interest inventories, crosswords and puzzles, scavenger hunts, and so much more!!  Each educational themed based activity can be done independently or with a family member(s) too!  We hope these educational blogs will help Clever Belles search for new interests and maybe even a newfound passion in Sports, Nature, the Arts, Volunteerism, or the Sciences.  So stay tuned and make sure to check our website out frequently at for the latest news, updates, educational materials, and shirts for sale!

Our first educational material is the Matching Card Game: Sports Edition

This fun and interactive game allows girls to explore the endless sports that female athletes pursue.  It gives girls the idea that there is no sport that girls can’t do and if they believe it, they can achieve it!  They will discover birthdates, hometowns, education, accomplishments, personal life, and a fun fact of each female athlete from past and present.  So grab a partner and have some fun!