Your first bra-shopping experience is a rite-of-passage, but it can sure be uncomfortable. This is especially the case when all you’re confronted with in the lingerie section are ill-fitting sports bras, frilly ones with flowers and butterflies, or even padded push-up bras that are completely inappropriate.
That’s why 18-year-old Megan Grassell is setting out to change the bra industry with her start-up, Yellowberry. The lingerie company makes bras for girls between 11-15 that are comfortable, age-appropriate — and, yes, even cute.
The Jackson, Wyoming high schooler decided to start her company after a disappointing shopping trip with her younger sister, Mary, to buy her first bra. “I couldn’t believe the bras that she was supposed to buy,” the young entrepreneur says. “The choices for her, and for all girls her age (the 11-15 age group) were simply appalling to me. They were all padded, push-up, and sexual. Not only that, they did not fit her body properly, which automatically made me wonder ‘Where were the young, cute, and realistic bras for girls?!'”
That’s when she decided she could take on this mission herself. As Megan says, “I realized that I could do it; I could make those bras for girls.”
To build her company, she told Fortune that she used up her own money from summers working at a gas station and waitressing. She also completed a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $42,000 — almost double her initial goal of $25,000. According to Fast Company, after launching her Yellowberry site, she sold out of her first stock of product in just days. The bras are currently available for pre-order.
Despite her success, she told Fast Company that starting her own business has its difficulties, especially due to her young age and a steep learning curve: “[At first] I didn’t know anything, and I still have so much to learn, but it was hard to get people to take me seriously.”
However, Megan (who is deferring her acceptance to Middlebury College for a year to focus on Yellowberry) remains motivated. The company is currently in phase two of its fundraising campaign so they can put out more bra styles, colors, and even underwear.
But beyond the bra, the young CEO’s story is also inspiring younger girls, including Madison Kimrey, 12-year-old girl from North Carolina who called Megan a role model for their generation in an open letter.
Megan told Fast Company that she found it humbling for another young girl to see her that way, saying, “I guess in a way I’m trying to change the world a little bit.”