Entrepreneur Designs Clothing To Inspire Young Girls

By Julie Ferrell
Ames Tribune, Iowa.

When Jaya Iyer’s 3-year-old daughter first announced she wanted to become an astronaut when she grows up, her mother wanted nothing more than to encourage her. She took her daughter, Svaha, to the National Air and Space Museum and read her stories about astronauts Sally Ride and Kalpana Chawla.

But when the time came for Iyer to find an astronaut T-shirt for her child, she came home empty-handed. Iyer found several astronaut shirts, but all of them were found in the boys section of clothing stores.

The 2006 ISU alumna with a Ph.D. in fashion merchandising joined forces with two more mothers, Eva Everett and ISU alumna Mansi Batra, and together the team created a clothing line meant to empower young girls to enter into any field or career they want.

“In these days, all the mothers who have studied so hard and achieved so much in life feel their daughters need to have more than princesses,” Iyer said. “It was just accepted that princess was the way to go but I feel like now, with so much exposure to education among women, they’ve begun to feel that it’s not OK to just have that or kitchen sets for girls.”

The three created their line, Svaha, which gives girls the choice to wear vibrant STEM-themed shirts and designs featuring female athletes, firefighters, scientists and astronauts.

The group has started a Kickstarter campaign, where those interested can make a donation to support their startup and also receive shirt orders in the process. To receive funding from the campaign, the team must raise its goal of $30,000 by Saturday, June 20. As of Thursday afternoon, the campaign had earned $12,652.

Iyer said her main inspiration was to create “designs that are fun,” which children would want to wear to represent their interests. She added that co-creator Everett, who holds a degree in molecular biology, has struggled for years to find clothing that expresses her interests in STEM fields.

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