We’re Clever Belle and we are so happy to meet you! You found us, which means you must be looking for an alternative to girl’s clothing. We’re a company that wants girls to wear clothing that outwardly displays their interests and dreams. Our original designs are images girls want to wear and parents can appreciate.
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? If you’re like us, 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 create imaginative and creative clothing options for girls who want to succeed in a real career instead of marrying into royalty. So we decided to take it upon ourselves to represent a wider audience of girls.
When we began this journey, we were surprised at just how skewed the apparel industry is toward stereotyping girl’s clothing. After researching all sides of the issue, it wasn’t too surprising that we weren’t the only ones who started to question, “Is this healthy for our girls?” We are all too aware of the images that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, depicting women as objects of beauty. We’ve grown accustomed to these images and barely think twice about them until we started to see our own daughters react differently, perhaps because of them.
"98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way."
-"Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem Commissioned: June 2008" Dove State of Self-Esteem Report
Our goal is to give girls choices in apparel that depict who they are and who they want to become. We want them to embrace their inner beauty rather than defining themselves by their outer beauty. We want girls to express the things that create passion in their lives and drive them to learn, explore, build and create. Girls and boys have similar dreams and aspirations when they are young. In fact, studies show girls have the exact same aspirations as boys at the age of six or seven, but then something happens soon after. Around the ages of 8 – 12, girls actually start to lose self-esteem and withdraw from those activities that once gave them enjoyment.
We believe this time is critical to the emotional well-being of girls. By keeping girls engaged in their favorite activities and focusing on their passions, we can help empower them and keep their self-esteem intact through the transition from child to adolescent.
We design our artwork around five themes and one continually rotating design. As we evolve our line of shirts, we’ll continue to ask our customers what themes they’d like to wear!
Cindy is the mother of two daughters in Jr. High. Having first-hand experience of watching the transformation from child to adolescent, she found it difficult to see her ambitious, competitive and eager daughters, retreat from normal activities they loved. Discouraged also by the mixed messages being sent to tween & teen girls about body image, coupled with immense social pressures, she felt a strong desire to change the downward trajectory girls experience during puberty and help empower girls of all ages. Cindy is married to her high school sweetheart and resides in Naperville, IL. Cindy has worked as a sales and marketing professional for the past 20 years. Writing is a creative release for Cindy and she loves a good story to put that journalism degree to use. She enjoys traveling with her family and watching women/girls sports, especially when one of her daughters is on the field or court. “I’m extremely impressed by the speed, strength and physical & mental toughness of women athletes today. Watching the US Women’s National Team play the semi-final World Cup game in Montreal this summer was a thrill of a lifetime for me and my family.”
Operations & Legal
Jenny has two children, pre-k to elementary age. Her daughter is a vibrant, fearless singer and cartwheeler who loves to dress up. One day while looking at the packaging of her daughter’s rock star costume, she realized that companies routinely promote gender bias without giving any thought to the impact it has on children. The boys pictured on the packaging were wearing all the professional career costumes like doctor, veterinarian, chef, pilot and police officer, while the costumes featuring girls were ballerina, mermaid, waitress and bride. Jenny knew at that moment she could make a difference. Jenny met her husband while attending law school in Chicago and they now live in Naperville, IL. She enjoys yoga, traveling, reading a good book, and an occasional “pajama day” with the family. What inspires her most is hearing people’s stories. “I’m constantly inspired by people who have turned their challenges into something good, like Malala Yousafzai. She was shot by the Taliban for speaking out about the importance of educating girls, yet she refused to be fearful or silenced and has continued to encourage girls to pursue their education. Learning of her courage makes me want to do what I can to make the world a better place.”
Krisy resides in Tucson, AZ with her husband and son. As an educator and counselor, Krisy has witnessed many young girls struggle with social pressures. She is a significant influence in her niece’s lives and continues to help provide the guidance that only an aunt from a distance can do so lovingly. Krisy’s favorite motto is “To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Krisy has studied the effects of bullying, grief, divorce, stress and time management. She understands those issues are compounded by children’s exposure to media and technology. Her goal is to provide a positive outlet on social media to offset the negative images and messages being filtered across the internet. She also creates our educational materials and uses her educator background to ensure the materials are age appropriate and effective teaching techniques. In her spare time, she loves to spend quality time with her family and two dogs, cooking, enjoying the outdoors, going to movies, and photographing the beautiful landscapes and sunsets of the Sonoran Desert. Krisy is an animal lover and has volunteered at her local animal league shelter. She admires the work of Jane Goodall, primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace. Krisy’s favorite quote is “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” ~Jane Goodall
Jason is the youngest of four and the only son in his family. Having grown up with three older sisters has given Jason a unique perspective and understanding of the pressures of women today. He lives in Chicago, IL with his dog, Charlie. Jason has always been creative since he was a child. He studied graphic & web design at the University of Iowa and graduated with honors. Jason works as a user interface designer and is the creative inspiration behind all of the designs at Clever Belle. He hand draws the designs and then digitally enhances them. This technique is labor intensive, but it’s what distinguishes our shirts from others and gives each shirt a unique handmade quality. In his spare time he plays guitar, reads and enjoys a good film. Jason draws inspiration from everyday things, whether it’s while riding the train to work or passing by a store front while walking his dog. Jason’s favorite quote in life is “Get rid of the things that burden your life, and do the things you have a passion for.” ~ LeRoy Tank (aka Dad)
If you haven’t guessed it, Cindy, Jenny, Krisy & Jason are siblings! We grew up in Iowa and all attended college at one of the three state institutes; Iowa State University, University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. Together we hold degrees in Journalism, Fashion Merchandising, Psychology, Political Science, Law, Education, and Fine Arts & Graphic Design. Our combined educational and practical career experience makes this business a perfect fit for us! Along with our technical experience, we believe our passion to help change the world, one girl at a time, is what inspires us to succeed.
Clever Belle would still be a dream without the support of our family, friends and first customers who supported our Kickstarter goal. To all the friends who gave us emotional and financial support we say THANK YOU! Your kind words and generous donations gave us faith that we could make our dream a reality.
This site is dedicated to LeRoy & Sandy Tank who raised four children and taught them the incredible value of hard work and determination.