Girl Creates Teen Bra Line Yellowberry To Promote Body Positivity In Young Women

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Do you remember shopping for a bra as a teen girl and feeling so out of place and awkward with what you saw in the store? It’s a common feeling and can be very daunting at a time in a girl’s life that is already fraught with many growing pains, complexities and sensitivities.

One teen girl was so put off by her experience bra-shopping with her mom, as well as seeing her younger sister go through the same awkward ordeal that she decided to disrupt the market in a bid to empower her generation. Megan Grassell, 19, created a range of age-appropriate bras called Yellowberry that didn’t scream “sex”.

“I remember being in a department store and feeling so awkward when a woman measured me and then just sent me into a dressing room with a box of bras,” she recalls. “I was so uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I watched the same thing happen to my sister that [I knew] I wasn’t the only girl who experienced that.”

Aside from the uncomfortable experience, the bras themselves were really catered to teen girls whose bodies are still developing, so Megan, not knowing how to sew or even start a business, created a company that would offer a more realistic experience for teen girls.

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She settled on a design for a bra that suited younger bodies, obtained the right materials, found a seamstress that would help her for the right price and began selling two options on a website she created in January 2014. The brand is named after the phase in the life of a berry that indicates it is still developing. Kinda genius!

After launching her business she ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund the ongoing line, and instead of raising the $25,000 goal she was asking for, over 1000 backers helped her raise $41,795 indicating that there was a huge need for what she was creating.

“When that really took off and went viral, overnight Yellowberry went from an idea that only I believed in to something that suddenly many people believed in,” she says.

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The other awesome aspect of this line is that it empowers girls not just with how the product makes them feel physically, but also with the positive messages that are written on each tag.

“When my sister Caroline died [at age five], her godparents wrote a list of ten phrases that were the epitome of her. When I was in the beginning stages of building the Yellowberry brand, I looked at those phrases and realized that, yes, they explained Caroline perfectly, but many of them also reached a larger audience of young girls in general,” explained Megan.

The positive messages have a specific youthful vibe to them, such as “Go barefoot,” “Seek and find a hug when you need one,” and “Campfires are rare, so eat as many marshmallows as you can.”

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Megan says the idea was to show girls that they deserve to enjoy life during their teen years, not stress and worry about body image which unfortunately is all too common of a trait at that age.

Dosomething.org states that 75% of teen girls with low self-esteem are more likely to engage in negative behavior such as bullying, smoking and disordered eating. 7 out of 10 high school girls believe they don’t measure up in some way, including how the look, and a girl’s self esteem is more linked with how she views her body, rather than what her actual weight is.

If more companies and brands that cater to teens understood the psychology of what teen girls go through, perhaps we’d see more empowering products, or at least brands that have an empowering aspect to it, being offered. Forcing young developing girls to understand the world of adult women when they walk into a lingerie store can no doubt add to the already sensitive and negative view they may have of their bodies.

With the overwhelming reaction received by Yellowberry, it is clear Megan may have found a crucial gap in the market that is crying out for a product like hers.

“I think that is what makes Yellowberry a special brand. I created the company to fix an issue that I identified in the market. That issue is something that every girl can relate to.”

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She did face some opposition in the early days, people not taking her seriously because of her age, but she was determined to press on because she knew how important her business was. It’s a good thing she didn’t listen to those naysayers because Yellowberry has gotten the attention of a major body positive brand.

Aerie lingerie, the American Eagle-owned label which launched a major campaign in 2014 stating the ban of photoshop in their campaigns and the inclusion of body diversity in order to target a wide range of women, will be selling a Yellowberry line on their website. It’s interesting to note that over the past year, it was reported that American Eagle’s overall sales were down by 7%, but Aerie’s second quarter sales actually rose by 9% indicating the amount of attraction to an empowering body positive product.

This partnership was a huge boost for Megan who has big plans for the future of Yellowberry.

“My vision for Yellowberry is to be the place where any girl goes to buy not only her first bras, but remains with the company until she is ready to move on. I honestly think that 15 years from now Yellowberry could be something so much bigger than I ever imagined. I’m going to see where that takes me.”


 

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