18-year-old Megan Grassell was shocked when she went shopping with her younger sister, Mary Margaret, to buy her first bra. All of the images looked like the one above or racier. “The choices for her, and for all girls her age (the 11-15 age group)… were all padded, push-up, and sexual. Not only that, they did not fit her body properly.” So the Wyoming high school senior decided to design a bra made with the needs of girls her sister’s age in mind. She started her own bra company, Yellowberry and is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter to “build, manufacture, produce, market, and distribute Yellowberry bras to girls in the US and around the world.”
Megan vividly remembers watching her sister trying on bras clearly intended for an older age group: ‘Mary Margaret, you can’t wear that!’ I whispered to my 13 year old sister in the dressing room as she tried on a leopard push-up bra. ‘Yeah, um… I don’t… I don’t look like this…’ she giggled and looked at me with sheepish eyes.” Wherever they went shopping, “[w]e came across the same thing at every store: push-up features, underwires, and padding that were all part of the standard to make a girl ‘grow’ two cup sizes. I remember thinking to myself in anger, ‘What is the hurry to grow-up so fast?’”
She thought, “Where were the young, cute, and realistic bras for girls?!” — but when she got home, she realized, “I could do it; I could make those bras for girls… a bra that is unique, colorful, and young made for all girls who love and enjoy their youthful, yellow stages in life.” Megan recalled, “In early April, my mom and I had no idea what we were doing. We ordered sample materials, hardware, and elastic from Seattle.” Over time, she developed many more prototypes and gradually perfected her bras which she designed to be simple, cute, and age-appropriate.
Megan knows she is facing challenges in making Yellowberry succeed: after all, she is still a full-time student and planning to leave home for college in the fall to study business marketing and Mandarin. But she believes that Yellowberry can “continue under my leadership to grow and develop” and Megan is motivated to reach more girls like her sister: “as a protective big sister, I felt passionate about making these.”