One of the first things a visitor to Yellowberry’s website may notice is that the models’ faces aren’t shown. Instead of the usual hand-on-hip, chest-out-pout poses peddled by most bra sellers, this line’s lifestyle photography is shot from behind. Because, as 20-year-old founder and CEO Megan Grassell put it, the product isn’t about the way it appears to an observer.
Grassell got the idea for Yellowberry three years ago, when she took her younger sister shopping for her first bra and was slightly horrified to see that padded push-up styles were the only options available to her tween-aged sibling. So she decided to do something about it. “After seeing all these super-sexy bras, I wanted to make age-appropriate bras for girls and capture the ‘first bra’ experience,” she explained.
High school student by day, entrepreneur by night, Grassell got to work sourcing fabrics and a manufacturer, self-funding Yellowberry with the money she’d made pumping gas and bussing tables. The line launched on Kickstarter in 2014 with two cute, comfy (and non-sexy) styles, surpassing its goal and raising more than $40,000 in four weeks. Later that year the brand completed a $500,000 seed round.
Yellowberry has since expanded its range to include more styles (with adorable names like Tweetheart, Chickadee and Budding Berry), as well as sports bras, underwear, loungewear and leggings. Select styles are also made using SeaCell, a cellulose-based smart fiber combined with seaweed that’s naturally breathable and infused with Vitamin E. The collection retails from $26 to $44, with bra sizes ranging from XS to XL and a pop-up sizing chart instructs shoppers how to use a tape measure.
“Initially the demographic was super-young girls aged 11 to 15 but as we’ve expanded the line, we’re keeping them a little bit longer, so from first bra to first strapless bra,” she shared.
Last year, the brand partnered with American Eagle’s Aerie line to launch a limited-edition collaboration, the proceeds of which went back to Yellowberry, to see that its message of positive body image would continue to spread.
Now Grassell is hoping the brand’s appearance at the recent CurveNY in New York—its first wholesale show—will help extend that reach, too. “We definitely stuck out because our demographic is so different. Bras don’t have to be sexy, which was quite the opposite of everything else there,” she said. “Yellowberry is about celebrating the girl who’s wearing the bra, rather than the product itself.”