Fab Female Friday: Q&A with Megan Grassell, Founder and CEO of Yellowberry

Fab Female Friday

yellowberry_picOur Fab Female this week is 19-year-old Megan Grassell, who started her own company when she was 17. Megan has been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, and as one of Time’s Most Influential Teens for the impact that her company, Yellowberry, is having on adolescent girls. Check out our Q&A with Megan and find out what inspired her to start Yellowberry, the challenges she’s faced along the way, and what she envisions for the company in the future!

1. What inspired you to start Yellowberry?

I had the idea to start Yellowberry after I took my younger sister, Mary Margaret, shopping to buy her very first bra. We spent an entire day looking in many different stores, and I was appalled at all of the options that were marketed to her and to girls her age.  When we came home I remember thinking, what is wrong with this picture? She just needs something cute, colorful, and comfortable that she can wear and will fit her body. I said to myself, “If no one else is going to make these, then I’m going to do it. I’m going to make bras for girls.” And so I started!

2. What challenges have you encountered as a young female entrepreneur and how did you overcome these challenges?

I think the biggest challenge when I started was that I was so young that no one took me or my idea seriously. A lot of that has gone away because I’ve proven that I can follow through with what I want to do.  I think it’s also difficult to create something from nothing. I had little to no funding, and no one saw what I saw with this idea. It was challenging to move forward with an idea without a support system. However, I remained focused on what I wanted to do, and I made it happen.

3. What is the biggest piece of advice you have for young girls who want to be entrepreneurs?

I think that you have to believe in yourself, and remember that if the worst answer someone can give you is “no,” then you should not be afraid to ask for what you want or need. As a young person starting a business, being able to reach out for help because you don’t know what you’re doing (which you won’t) is ok!  In fact, it’s really important. I am the first one to admit that I had no idea what to do in the beginning stages of creating Yellowberry. However, I know what my vision for Yellowberry is, and I have a very clear picture of that in my head. So, I may not always know exactly the right steps to take to get from point A to point B, but I have the confidence in myself and in my team that we will figure out a way to do it.

4. How do you balance being an entrepreneur with being a 19-year-old soon-to-be college student?

It’s really difficult in a lot of ways.  I often find that the things that I’m interested in are not always similar to what people my age are interested in.  I have a lot of responsibility, most of which goes far beyond what I’m worried about when it comes to school! I know that when I begin Middlebury in the fall, I will still be working and Yellowberry will remain my first priority. However, I do think that there is something to be said for experiencing what it’s like to be a 19-year-old student, not a 19-year-old CEO. That being said, I know that I will not have a typical college experience, because I am in a very different position than many of my peers. I am very much looking forward to meeting incredible students and establishing meaningful relationships with my future midd kid classmates!

5. What is your vision for the future of Yellowberry?

My vision for Yellowberry in five years is for it to be the place where every girl goes to buy her first bra and remains with the company until she is ready to move on. In ten years, I would like the brand to be a large player in the world of ‘tween’ girls and ‘tween’ apparel.  In fifteen years- who knows!  I’ve never had a problem having big goals for myself, so I honestly think that fifteen years from now, Yellowberry could be something so much bigger than I ever imagined. I’m excited to see where it takes me!