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Alumni

Bellarmine Alum Arielle Clark will open a tea shop for LGBTQ+ community

Inclusivity

In celebration of Pride Month, Bellarmine University is catching up with a few of its many LGBTQ+ alumni who are community leaders, like Arielle Clark, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in Actuarial Science and a minor in Economics.    

Ask Arielle Clark how she got the idea for her tea business, Sis Got Tea, and she fondly recalls chatting with friends in BUKnighted, Bellarmine’s LGBTQ+ student group, when she spun a “dad-joke pun.” 

What if they opened a tea shop called LGBTea?  

“For some reason that never left my brain,” Clark said.  

Since then, she’s been finetuning that initial idea. She’s launched an online store that sells blended teas, but her end game is a tea café for everyone to comfortably gather, especially LGBTQ+ and Black people. It won’t serve alcohol.   

“People were like, you should totally do this because Louisville needs a sober space for LGBTQ people because LGBTQ social life is very alcohol centric here and there’s no good tea spot,” she said. “So, I decided to roll with it and it’s been really popular.” 

Resent research has shown that people who identify as LGBTQ+ often have higher rates of substance abuse than people who identify as heterosexual. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates youth are as much as 90 percent more likely to have an abuse problem.  

Clark said that alcohol is used in the LGBTQ+ community sometimes to self-soothe from traumatic experiences growing up and coming out.   

She launched a Kickstarter campaign for Sis Got Tea, garnering thousands of dollars and substantial local media coverage.  

She recently submitted a letter of intent on a space in Old Louisville and hopes to open by fall.   

Clark said her time at Bellarmine was influential and prepared her well for professional life.   

Angela Mason, 1980 Bellarmine graduate and co-founder and former CEO of a Washington, D.C. area IT company, provided a scholarship for Clark to attend Bellarmine. Mason also became a lifelong mentor for Clark, who also works in IT. Mason was named a Knight of Knights in 2014 for her many contributions to Bellarmine. 

“She changed my life,” Clark said. 

Clark also appreciates the connections she made with BUKnighted and pays it forward by donating annually to Bellarmine’s Day of Giving.   

“BUknighted became my family, and I still talk to fellow members to this day,” she said. “Some of my most fond memories involve BUknighted.” 

Sis Got Tea Headshot

Tags: Alumni , Diversity , Economics , LGBTQ+ , Outcomes

About Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.