Bay Area teen creates fashion business to help foster elephants in need

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- When 15-year-old Angelina Lue was much younger, she set goals of making a positive impact on the world and starting her own fashion business.

She told ABC7 News she found a way to combine the two when she was in 8th grade.

While watching a documentary on the world's elephant crisis, Lue learned about the severity of the problem. She then created an online clothing company called "Ivory Tees."

Initially, Lue says she looked into the issue further and found she could foster a baby elephant in need, online through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).

Lue said she was surprised to learn she could make an impact on the African elephant population from such a great distance.

Because the internet is so far reaching, Lue says she quickly realized Ivory Tees could reach a bigger audience to help in her effort to save the elephants.

"What most impacted me was the fact that they experience the same emotions just like we do," Lue told ABC7 News about the animals.

Elephants are part of Africa's wildlife being pushed to the brink of extinction. Researchers estimate roughly 100 African elephants are being killed each day by poachers, for their ivory.

During a March 2018 TEDx talk, Lue put that number into perspective.

"That's one elephant every 15-minutes," the then-Freshman high school student explained to a crowd.

Lue told ABC7 News 20-percent of funds from Ivory Tees go toward fostering an elephant in Kenya through DSWT.

She acknowledged technology is leading her effort to save elephants.

"Angelina is kind of representing the new generation," her mother, Jane Lue told ABC7 News. "They want to give, they want to make an impact to society- to the world."

Parents Jane and Brian Lue were there when the documentary on the elephant crisis first sparked their young daughter's interest.

"To see her actually transform that concern into, 'I got to do something,' and not just thinking about it," Brian explained. "That just happens naturally with her."

On the Ivory Tee's website, Lue shared this message from DSWT"

Dear Ivory Tees,

Thank you very much for fostering our orphan elephant ENKESHA, and for your valuable support of our Orphan's Project.

To read the latest entries in the Keeper's Diary regarding your orphan click here and by visiting our website regularly you will be able to keep in touch with your orphan's life. You will receive monthly updates which will summarize the year along with photographs from time to time creating a valuable record for you to keep.

Most Sincerely,

Daphne Sheldrick

ABC7 News has also reached out to DSWT for comment.

Combining her motivation to do good with her love for fashion, Angelina drew the Ivory Tees logo, designed the merchandise and took on the mission to save the world's elephants.

"It's about how you use what you've learned to actually make a difference in the world," she told ABC7 News.
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