Megan Grassell is an 18-year-old in her last week of high school student from Wyoming, in the United States. She also happens to be creator and CEO of Yellowberry, a company that makes training bras for young girls.
Grassell started the company when she was just 17, after a more than awkward bra shopping trip with her little sister Mary Margaret, who was 13 at the time.
"We went to a bunch of different stores looking for a good first bra for Mary Margaret, but there was nothing,” the young entrepreneur told CNN.
“There were jogging bras or these very sexual padded, push-up bras. I kept wondering, where is the cute little bra in fun colors? I realized that it just didn't exist. About a week later it hit me: If no one else is going to do it, I'm going to do it. I'm going to make bras for girls."
She used all of her savings to create a prototype, and then started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of her bras, aimed for girls between the ages of 11 and 15.
The response was so great that her original goal of raising US $25,000 was almost doubled to nearly 42,000.
Despite the obvious support for her product, Grassell says it’s been hard to get people to take her seriously, but it has only made her more determined to succeed.
“I was talking to someone the other day who's been a great mentor to me, and he said "Megan, when you first came to me with that bra, and you thought you were ready to go, I thought, 'Who is this high school girl?'", Grassell told Fast Company.
“So I think I've been able to prove my place and make it clear that this is something I want to make happen.”
It’s already happening: the high school student is selling bras in four different styles from her website.
It’s clear from the marketing and website design – she uses friends and family to model, rather than professionals - that Grassell knows exactly where she wants her bras to fit in the market.
“Yellowberry will be different because at the core of the company what we want to do is sell a bra in a non-sexy way,” the teenager told Lingerie Talk. “In lingerie, that’s a new idea.”
“For those girls aged 11 to 15 the options they have to buy are for the most part overly sexual. They need a different bra that doesn’t scream ‘sex’,” says Grassell, who also struggled when she was younger to find bras she was comfortable wearing.
“You shouldn’t have to buy a sequined push-up bra when you’re 13. You shouldn’t have to feel pressured to look a certain way.”
Grassell told Lingerie Talk the most important thing to her was offering young girls a different option, and give them the idea “that they don’t have to grow up so quickly.”
As well as (hopefully) changing the lives of some younger teens not interested in push-ups and diamentes, Grassell says starting this company has been a hugely rewarding experience for her own growth, too.
"I have gained a ton of self-confidence through Yellowberry -- something I’ve never had a lot of,” Grassell told the Huffington Post.
“I can tell you now with ease that I’m not a size 4, I was never very ‘popular,' I didn’t get into my top choice for colleges and I’m kind of a nerd. That is OK! This time has been a great way for me to weed out what’s unimportant to me and find out what I love to do."
As her friends head off for summer jobs and then University, Grassell will potentially defer starting Universtity (where she will most likely study business) to work on Yellowberry full time with help from her mother.
"The biggest challenge is that I'm still a full-time student, so the timing aspect has been really hard," Grassell told CNN.
"I'm excited to be finished with my senior year in a few weeks so that I can truly work full time."