By Megan Grassell, ColumnistMay 9, 2016
My name is Megan Grassell, and I am the founder and CEO of Yellowberry. This is the first installment of my monthly column for IATG, and I could not be more excited! Let me start by telling you a bit about myself and, more specifically, my story with Yellowberry.
When I was 17, I took my younger sister shopping to buy her first bras. We went to all of these different stores, and I remember being so appalled that everything available and marketed to her was very overly sexualized. Padding, push-ups, lace, and leopard prints…I felt like she, and girls her age, needed to have another, better option. Simply put, I thought they just needed comfortable and age-appropriate bras! That was my epiphany moment.
I remember thinking to myself, “If no one else is going to make bras specifically for girls, then I’ll find a way to do it myself.”
That was my simple idea, as a junior in high school, and I moved forward with it. I also need to explain that I never thought that I would go into fashion, retail, or apparel. I was not interested in it as a profession, my parents are not from that industry, and I had zero experience - I don’t even know how to sew! But that didn’t stop me, because I knew that I had a really good idea.
I believed in it so deeply and with so much passion that I couldn’t not go after it. I was obsessed with the concept of building a brand that would make the entire experience of buying bras (especially for the first time) positive.
After a year of hard work, I launched my company online and was SO excited, but I quickly realized how difficult retail and e-commerce can be! I launched a Kickstarter later that year because I knew I needed money to market the product and reach more potential customers. In fact, they would be my first real customers because I had yet to share Yellowberry with anyone other than my family and friends. That campaign went viral. I reached my goal of 25k in less than 24 hours, but more than that, it was the story of Yellowberry that intrigued and excited so many people.
After a ton of PR, press, and media exposure surrounding the brand and idea of bras for girls, started by a teen entrepreneur, I knew I had something real. Yellowberry is now just about 2 years old, and we have grown immensely. I have an entire team that I work with, the line has expanded beyond just bras, and we are growing each and every day.
I am now 20 and running Yellowberry full-time. I am in the process of moving to New York City in the beginning of May, and I LOVE what I do. I followed a passion, and I could not be more excited to work every day with my scrappy, start-up team and work as hard as we all can to make Yellowberry a huge success.
That’s where I will leave off for now… I have been so fortunate to learn so, so, SO much. I want to be able to share much of that with you! Talk to you next month!
Ever been passionate about a new idea? Now’s the time to go after it! Start your plan today and make a list of small steps to achieve your goal!
In 2014, Megan was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Teens and included on Huffington Post’s list of 14 Most Fearless Teens. In 2015, Megan was named one of the 24 Millennials to Watch by Yahoo. She has been featured in countless media outlets including The TODAY Show, The New York Times, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue among others. In addition to serving as an active company founder, Megan serves as a member of the first-ever Barbie Global Advisory Board and has deferred her freshman year at Middlebury College to continue as CEO of Yellowberry.