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Build Relationships Early In Your Business with Megan Grassell - Honest Ecommerce Ep. 180

Megan Grassel is the Founder/CEO of Yellowberry. 

Armed with her own hand-drawn sketch and the savings from her summer jobs, Megan Grassell set out to make her younger sister, along with tween girls everywhere, an age-appropriate bra. 

In 2013, at age 17, she founded Yellowberry. With funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, Megan created colorful, comfortable and supportive bras for young girls along with a promise to help them feel more confident about wearing bras for the first time. 

Today, Yellowberry offers a full collection of bras, underwear, lounge and activewear exclusively for girls with an extra boost of encouragement to dream big and feel supported to do anything in the world. 

In 2014 she was on 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. 

In 2016, Megan was selected as one of Forbes 30 Under 30. 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 served as a member of the first-ever Barbie Global Advisory Board for Mattel. 

She is an active member of the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club as well as of Pulse, the newly created St. John’s Youth Hospital Board. 

In This Conversation We Discuss: 

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [01:39] Being an influential teen entrepreneur
  • [03:10] Where the idea of Yellowberry came from
  • [06:30] From a good idea to a good business idea
  • [07:40] The challenge in transitioning from crowdfunding 
  • [11:02] Yellowberry’s previous and current software
  • [12:43] Inventory forecasting and cash flow tips
  • [14:20] Sponsor: Electric Eye electriceye.io
  • [14:40] Sponsor: Mesa apps.shopify.com/mesa
  • [16:51] Sponsor: Rewind rewind.com/honestecommerce
  • [17:21] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com/honest
  • [17:14] Build relationships across your supply chain
  • [18:41] Yellowberry’s marketing stack
  • [20:04] What helped Megan as a young founder
  • [21:13] The previous guests’ experience about COVID
  • [22:32] Yellowberry’s COVID experience
  • [25:40] Launching Yellowberry’s Basics Collection
  • [27:16] The struggles as a young female entrepreneur
  • [30:27] Yellowberry had to work for Megan
  • [32:27] Did pitching multiple times make Megan better?
  • [33:13] Where to find Yellowberry

Resources:

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  Transcript:

Chase Clymer  

Before we get started, if you're enjoying this content, you can do us a favor by subscribing to our YouTube channel and ringing the bell.

That will let the algorithm know that you like this content and it will help us produce more.

Megan Grassell  

I think it's an interesting story to say you know you go full force policy oh my god, this is amazing. But if you feel like whatever it is, and for me I was like, I felt like I'm home was

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, a podcast dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And I believe running a direct-to-consumer brand does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

On this podcast, we interview founders and experts who are putting in the work and creating real results. 

I also share my own insights from running our top Shopify consultancy, Electric Eye. We cut the fluff in favor of facts to help you grow your Ecommerce business.

Let's get on with the show.

All righty, welcome back to honest Ecommerce, everybody. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And today I'm welcoming a very special guest. We've got the founder and CEO of Yellowberry. Megan, welcome to the show.

Megan Grassell  

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited.

Chase Clymer  

I'm excited, too. So I think that before we really dive into it, there's a thing that we have to put out there, which is... While age is just the number, what you accomplished at such a young age was pretty cool. 

You were featured on Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential Teens, you were included in the Huffington Post’s List of 14 Most Fearless Teens... How is being a "teen entrepreneur" --almost in like the zeitgeist of the world-- how did that affect you?

Megan Grassell  

It was very surreal. I think that the Time list in particular, I remember because... Oh my gosh, I haven't thought about this a long time. 

But I was actually in New York, the week before the article came out. And I was with my mom who is my partner. And I got this email from the reporter who was putting everything together. 

And they were like, "Hey, can you send a headshot? You're going to be featured on this list." And I thought it was a spam email. And I was like, "Whatever. You can choose one on our website." 

I was getting in a cab or something. And then this article came out on Monday. And I like I was really crying because I just... 

I was like, "It was people like Malala. And the Jenners were on and just what I deemed, as these incredibly famous, influential people." 

And I was like, "Who am I? This 18 year-old girl from Wyoming with a bra company." But I think to take a step back, it was very surreal. Super unexpected. 

But also, I think, it was really cool to kind of be even in that league, if you will and sort of like... I think it helps amplify Yellowberry quite a bit and gives a lot of validation to the company and the mission and the brand. 

And I don't know. I think sometimes when you're in a startup, in the trenches, you think that you're crazy. And it gave a little bit of validation that we're maybe not. 

Chase Clymer  

Oh, absolutely. And  just wanted to start there to set the tone for this conversation, which is going to be "This is a wild ride." 

And so everyone, stick around for the rest of it. But let's go back to the beginning. Let's go back to where this idea came from. 

And I already know the story because I read a lot on the website. But share it for the audience that might not be as informed as I am

Megan Grassell  

No. For sure. So I have a younger sister, Mary Margaret, and we went shopping to buy her first bra. And she was 12 years old at the time, I was like 17. 

And all of the options for her were just really overly sexualized, like a ton of padding, push up... And she was... The whole experience was kind of… There's a lot of embarrassment, which I was like... I don't really... I would just remember that in hindsight. 

But really, what stuck out to me was when she tried on this bra that the saleswoman had suggested as like a very popular first bra option, there was this weird leopard print, push up thing, and she just didn't even really have fit. It just didn't fit her. 

And so there was that end of the spectrum or there was just sort of these really poor quality things that we ended up buying. But [when] you wash them once, they fall apart. [It's] just crappy. And she wasn't…

The whole experience was just really poor. And I remember like, I was obsessive about this idea of like, "Why can't she just have a bra that's cute and fun and gonna fit her body in this thing that all girls go through, this first bra experience?" 

And really, I couldn't stop thinking about it. And then very serendipitously, a week or two later, my dad won this bra in a raffle that was just like... It was like a gag gift at this, like the adult ski racing league in Jackson. 

And he gave it to me because he didn't need it. And it was the first time... This is what, nine or 10 years ago now. 

And it was the first time I'd ever seen a bra that didn't have any padding but wasn't a sports bra. This is like very pre the bralette era. 

And I remember holding it and being like, "Oh my god, this is exactly what Mary Margaret needs." [It's] just cute, fun colors but just made for her body. And so I just took that idea and I went with it. And I was like "Okay, lots of color, lots of fun patterns, et cetera, et cetera." 

I found a seamstress and I built a website and I figured out that you could... If you're just ordering sample yardage, companies will just send as many samples as you would like. And I was in high school. I didn't really have any money. But the idea for me was like, "Yes, I wanted to build this product. 

But really, I feel like girls are so over-sexualized, so young. And this felt like a really valuable product that I could create to really help sort of girls grow up at their own pace."

I think we've always said as a brand, it's not our job to say what is and what's not appropriate. But to give girls and others what I think is a better option than often was already there. It was super exciting. 

So I worked on it for... I think it was about a year before it launched. And it launched my senior year in high school. 

And the first couple months, I sold 3 bras to my dad, and mom, and grandma. (laughs) Because I don't even think you could really buy things on the website. I didn't know what it was doing.

But I launched a Kickstarter campaign with this guy who helped me make the video that went totally viral. And it's what you dream about, but I never expected that to happen. 

And it really was my mom looking back because I was like we could have been selling straw because people resonate so deeply with my story. 

As we've learned over the years, nine out of 10 women remember their first bra experience, and it's awful because it's really negative. 

And so they want better for their daughter, and then supporting this "for girls, by girls" brand was just this great story, particularly in hindsight. 

But it was just very honest and what happened. So I'll pause there, because I could just keep going. (laughs) but that was the first year or so of the idea to fruition.

Chase Clymer  

Alright. So this experience happened back in 2013. And then the Kickstarter happened in 2014 - 2015. 

Megan Grassell  

Yeah, it was like that spring.

Chase Clymer  

Alright. And then the Kickstarter went viral. 

Megan Grassell  

Mm-hmm.

Chase Clymer  

And that's where I've had a lot of previous entrepreneurs on and they're like, "Yeah, once the Kickstarter did way better than we anticipated, there was a there's a mind shift, mindset shift almost like, 'This is a good idea' to 'This is like a business.'"

Megan Grassell  

Yeah. Oh, for sure. And I think that we all have a lot of ideas every day. And I think the challenge is obviously making that real and bringing it to fruition. 

But I think even one step further is like not really to  build the product or make the app or whatever you're doing. But then to have real customers giving you... I had never... 

Because we're an Ecommerce business, I don't meet a lot of customers. I [haven't met] most of them. And it was a really surreal experience, which sounds so silly, but just to have these people just sending money and buying this product. 

At that point, [people] would even have photos of it. Everyone was buying this idea. But I think that was for sure, a huge turning point and a big start, I think, for us.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So now, launching the Kickstarter and getting that fulfilled... That [scenario] we spoke about on the podcast a bunch of times. But what... Once the pot... 

Once the initial Kickstarter was complete, how did you shift from a  crowdfunding business to like a more, for lack of a better term, traditional ecommerce business? What were some of those challenges?

Megan Grassell  

Well it's funny you ask. And I kind of... I should have done a lot more research about Kickstarter before I was like, "I'm gonna do this." I essentially just made the products for sale on Kickstarter, but I already made them. So I used my life savings at this point, which was like... 

I basically had $4,000. I could make 400, bras [for] $10 or whatever. And I sold them through Kickstarter. And so what happened was we sold so many that I was not expecting to... 

I think the goal was $25,000 and we did about double that. But then the following sales were just... We couldn't keep up. 

It went from having 3 orders total to hundreds of orders a day and so really, it was the capacity from a manufacturing standpoint. Because the very first factory I was... 

I love this as a part of our story. When I was initially calling people to make this first line of 400 bras, it's such a small order for factories, they will just hang up the phone. I'm like some teen girl from Wyoming. [They will be] like "Who is she?" 

And so this one guy happened to be going on the business, and he was very kind, and he was like, "I'll just... On the way out, I'll do your first order or whatever." 

And not expecting to ever hear from us or for us to hear from him again. And then we ended up working with him for the following years. And even today, we'll still do some things here and there. 

But that was a really big ramp up in just understanding the supply chain of getting our fabrics, and the threads, and all of the embroidered berry we're doing at the time. 

And then I think, all the heat transfers and all the pieces of the product. And our products are not super technical. But I think that was really challenging. 

And then just understanding the timeline it takes to build an actual product. It's not an overnight thing. It can take weeks or months. 

We were making things in California at the time so that cuts that timeline by a lot, which is great. It's just much more expensive. 

But you sort of grow organically into the size of the factory. And so... I'm sorry. I actually don't know if I answered your question. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

(laughs)

Megan Grassell  

But I think that that was really...  I do remember the biggest piece of feedback that we had was, people just wanted more things to buy, because I only had 2 styles and 2 colors of each and they were super colorful. There was pink and blue and purple and green. 

And people were like, "Okay, these are great. But I also do need skin tone colors and white for under school uniforms or soccer things or whatnot." 

So then it was really a challenge of like, "Okay, how quickly can we design new styles in... Yes, in a lot of colors, --because that's very much like on brand with us-- but also offering things in more traditional like a bit more basic colors, beige basically." And that has really maintained, probably 3/4s of what we have is super basic, and then you have a lot of color. 

But yeah, it was just like really focusing on new styles. And then we, over the years, branch into like underwear, a little bit of lounge/activewear

But it was always sort of anchored by this first bra experience and really focused on girls 8 to 15, which is our core audience/core customer.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. You kind of answered the question... 

Megan Grassell  

(laughs)

Chase Clymer  

After you evolved beyond the capabilities of Kickstarter, what was the technology that you guys are using to run the first version of the website?

Megan Grassell  

A very first version? I'm honestly not sure. I think it was called, like Miva Merchant, which I don't... I don't think I've met someone who knows that company before. 

And it was great if you were doing like 2 orders a day. And then it really was really challenging. 

And then we really quickly moved over to Shopify, and it's been on Shopify for years now. I love Shopify. I cannot say enough wonderful things about that. 

Especially, [because] I don't have a coding or technical background in that sense so it's super user-friendly for our purposes. 

But also like quite a bit of functionality if we need development to come in. But that was great. And then I think also, logistics is always the biggest challenge. 

And so I think we went through a couple iterations of, excuse me, inventory management systems, which even to this day... 

Now our distribution center is essentially that piece. But that was always really challenging in terms of inventory management and also inventory forecasting

Because Yellowberry is great in the sense that our products are not seasonal, excuse me, we're not running like a big spring or fall collection that have to be... Winter,  whatever. It's just like new colors and new styles, which I love, which is great. 

But forecasting those is always a challenge. And so I think we probably went through like 3 or 4 different softwares that were a mixture between fulfillment and product inventory management. 

But still, I'm not sure. I don't know. It's an interesting thing. So now that's all hooks directly from Shopify into our D2C.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. No. So it's funny about inventory forecasting and just managing the cash flow at that part of the business. I always tell founders that that's a problem that you evolve into after a certain point that you never think would be an issue. 

Megan Grassell  

Yup.

Chase Clymer  

I don't know how much you can share about that or how you can try to educate younger entrepreneurs about like... It's almost a shell game with money at a certain point. 

Megan Grassell  

(laughs)

Chase Clymer  

(laughs) But if you have any insights or just things you can share about that experience, I think it'd be very useful.

Megan Grassell  

You know, it's funny, I feel like you... It was one of those things, particularly as a young founder... I didn't necessarily think through all of the pieces of the business because I didn't know. You don't know what you don't know. 

But that was definitely a predicament in which we found ourselves. The first couple inventory buys and it's like "[This] feels massive. You're spending $100,000!" 

And then obviously, that's grown a lot over the years. But those first big bites your... It's really challenging, too.

I remember the first time that we had a really big chunk of inventory and it was a full collection of bras, underwear, lounge, activewear... 

It was really our full line and we've gone from basically like 4 styles to that. And that felt like a big jump. And that's... 

You're totally flying blind because you don't have any customer data on or purchasing habits based on what's going to sell and so you're making assumptions based on what you think and some are gonna be wrong and some are gonna be great. 

I think from that, this predicament of inventory forecasting and budgeting for that just never goes away. 

It just becomes a bigger challenge if you will. And I actually remember listening to some... An interview with some founder. It might have been Jen Hyman of Rent the Runway because I really look up to her. 

But it was talking about how as the business grows, some of those  challenges and problems, they grow but they grow way more exponentially. 

And so the right and wrong and sort of the importance of being way more on point with that decision-making is super important because you go from all of sudden you're dealing with millions of dollars and it's... 

You're not gambling, obviously because you're making educated guesses but buying for forecasts and inventory is quite an interesting challenge.

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Chase Clymer  

Being able to... You just gotta know your numbers. You got to know your margins very well. You've got to have really good relationships with everybody across your supply chain. 

Megan Grassell  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

I know I'm going to look it up. And I'll have to put in the show notes for everyone listening because... But I know we really drove into this concept of... 

You are trying to create this flow where you have almost free money within the way that you're financing and running your purchasing. 

Megan Grassell  

Totally. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, so if I can remember it, I'll put it in the show notes. But..

Megan Grassell  

I think that those ebbs and flows are... I think you feel them a lot more with wholesale. We, because we're primarily Shopify or just D2C, we don't feel that as much. 

But, totally. It's like your cash flow is your lifeline, right?

Chase Clymer  

Exactly. Yeah. And it's especially when you're going into Q3 and Q4. 

I know that a lot of businesses are anticipating growth every year. And now they need to borrow more and more money every year to have the products to hit that growth. And it just goes back to day one of the business of any business. 

It's like when you want the money, they're not going to give it to you. So you need to start relationships with people. 

You need to start relationships with people before you need it and show them that you're credible and smart and you are lasting. Because at one point, you are going to need access to more capital than you have on hand.

Megan Grassell  

It's fun. (laughs) It's never ending.

Chase Clymer  

These days, obviously, you're running a lot of direct-to-consumer, hanging out on Shopify. I'm assuming the major parts of your business are a more traditional marketing stack: A lot of paid social, followed up with owned marketing - email, SMS, things of that nature.

Megan Grassell  

Totally, for sure. And I think that we do pretty standard practices with that. I think we have a lot of room to further develop our social campaigns. But we do a lot with... 

A lot of our customers will find Yellowberry organically because we rank really well with Google. But also we do a lot of search campaigns in that way too, because our customers are typically searching for first bras or things for their daughters. And so they are really... 

It's not necessarily just browsing. It's typically "My daughter needs a bra and she needs it tomorrow." And so we have a really high conversion rate. I think we're super niche in that respect. 

And so we look at it as like acquiring that sort of, yeah, that grounding product and then maintaining so we have a really high customer reorder rate. It's like over 50% every month which is great, if anything I want that to go down as we acquire workers. (laughs) But it's super healthy. 

And I think that always speaks to the quality of the product and our customers will stay with us for the next several years, which is great. 

So we've put a ton of work into that product expansion to also increase the cart size and lifetime value of the customer.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Is there anything that I forgot to ask you about that you think would resonate with our audience?

Megan Grassell  

See now you're putting me on the spot because I should know your audience better. (laughs) But I just... 

Personally, I always love to know the challenges of things that people are thinking about. I'm talking about, I think, particularly with COVID has been really interesting. 

And the different pivots and situations. I think, young founder's challenges were quite interesting. I know there's a lot of... 

To sort of go on a tangent, I know, there's a ton of information and sort of things about being like a female founder as a disadvantage, which I don't disagree with by any means.

I feel like [being] a young founder is really challenging, because you don't have any track record, you don't have any proof that you can do this. But I think that... 

I've also had the privilege of... I lived in New York for a few years and I'm a part of this program called The Thiel Fellowship which is for all young people like me... And I think being around people... 

It's not every 20 year old, that's like starting and raising money and hiring people and building a company. But those that are typically  rolling and going, which is super inspiring, I think.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Any of those topics. 

Megan Grassell  

(laughs)

Chase Clymer  

The floor is yours. You can dive on in.

Megan Grassell  

Well, I guess I was... What have you heard... When you talk with founders about their COVID experience? What are you hearing?

Chase Clymer  

It was very scary at the start. The ones that survived it... There are some that didn't. And some of the ones that didn't, probably don't make it on the podcast. Maybe I will find time to go out... 

Maybe I'll purposely go out and find someone to tell that story. Because it's still a cautionary tale. 

But basically, what we're seeing from either having people on the podcast or talking to people at the agency, it's they did the gangbusters during COVID, because everybody was shopping online. 

And then, on the backs of that with iOS 14, and tracking their metrics, and not being able to do the same growth as they did.

I think that some founders didn't realize that that was lightning in a bottle during the pandemic and the sales. And trying to obtain those same growth goals might have been setting the bar a little bit too high. 

And I've heard that a few times. And it depends on what industry you're in and what sector. So that's something that I've learned and seen through my conversations. But what was the experience over Yellowberry?

Megan Grassell  

I think it's super interesting, especially being 2 years out. So I think we have enough hindsight to really sort of pick that apart. But for us, we definitely fell into the category of having a fantastic 2020, which I think for a while I was like, "Oh my god, the world is on fire." And we're doing really well.

Chase Clymer  

We were looking at the metrics the other day for our business and Q1 was just like "Ugh!" And then it was like, "Nevermind." (laughs)

Megan Grassell  

(laughs) We had a good start to the year 2020. We're all great. And then we were actually... This was kind of a fun story. 

We were getting ready to launch a new lounge collection, which we hadn't done since however long. And that was like the first week or two of March. And then everything, obviously totally shut down for like 5 or 6 days. We had like no... 

People were like stocking up on toilet paper and canned tuna and whatnot. And I remember seeing something where it was like in our local hospital in Jackson Hole. They were like, we're looking for 500 mask donations. 

And we were like, we have this extra fabric and we had not very much of it. And we're like, why don't we just like "For every scrunchie someone buys, we'll donate the... We'll make a mask and donate it to the hospital." 

And we put that out in like, I think, an Instagram post. And we do not have a big Instagram following. And it was like Instagram, Facebook, and maybe an email. And we sold them out in like an hour. 

And I was like, "Oh, we don't really sell scrunchies." And I was like, "Oh my god, this is insane. And then we had people that were like, you know, my daughter is a nurse in Denver, can I send her a mask or etc etc." 

And so it just really blossomed. And the next day we did... We made it live. Again, no photos, no product descriptors, no nothing. 

That it was like "You could buy a mask or you could donate a mask for $5." Because our purpose was not for us to make money. It was really just to make the product. 

And we had the next... I think the following 4 or 5 days were Company record sales days. And we had like no margins... We had no margin. There was really no profit. And we were donating all profits. 

But the number of new customers and people that were coming in and just discovered Yellowberry because it was heard around that it was so early. Because this is when... 

We didn't really know anything about COVID and so this mask thing really took off and that... It was... 

Again it was this use of fabric that we were like "There's no way we can launch a lounge product when people are dying. That's crazy. But we can make these masks." And then you know you mentioned factory relations and things like that. 

We make a lot of things in China and so as this mask thing really continued to take off, we started make... 

We started getting contracts with universities, and schools, and government contracts, and hospitals. And we just started making hundreds of thousands and millions of masks. It was crazy. 

And I was like "God, I have been in the wrong business." Because it took us years to sell a million bras. (laughs) 

But it was just because we had these factory relationships that we could source it, had the patterns ready to go, and shipped super easily at these massive quantities. It was a... 

We were just in a really great position. And I was like, "Well, we're so lucky." And it's like, "Well, it took a lot of years to be in a position to be lucky." You know what I mean? 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Megan Grassell  

So that was really fascinating. And I think was this whole extra like side of... It was like a side business for us. That was just crazy. 

And I think and then ironically, we had been planning this launch of our basics collection, which is essentially like more price point-focused products. 

The biggest barrier to entry for us is that the price is quite a bit higher than other products that are on the market. And that started because in the beginning, I just couldn't offer them and still make a profit. And so... 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Megan Grassell  

...now that we've grown, we know we can order these mass quantities and offer them at a less cost to the customer. 

We launched that in I think it was like May or June thinking somewhat conservatively that we had another inventory for primarily 9 - 10 - 12 months good to go. And we sold out of most things in 30 days. 

And that was really because I was nervous. I remember thinking because it's like you don't ever want to degrade the brand. 

So how can we introduce lesser price but not lesser quality products in this brand, and still be a success. And we would see people buying 4 or 5 basic items plus a higher price item. 

It was just… It was a great addition to our company. And that just happened to be timed with COVID. We couldn't have planned that. 

But it was interesting to go through, obviously not a recession, but just like this crazy time to be like... Girls will always need bras and underwear. 

And I think that that as a founder gives you a little bit of breathing room. When things get hard or whatever, just sort of go back to be like, "This is a product that's filling a need and that people love." And we will continue forward no matter what.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. No. You guys... I appreciate and respect when the people that are in a position to help, they do their best to help. And so that's very admirable of you.

Megan Grassell  

Well, thank you.

Chase Clymer  

Back then, you mentioned a few minutes back, though about the difficulties of being not only a one founder, but kind of a younger founder. 

You spoke about being a young founder a bit. But is there anything that you wanted to kind of discuss or is bringing to the table around being a woman founder?

Megan Grassell  

Yeah, I feel like I should have a sound bite answer to this. I really don't. If I'm being very honest, I think the challenges I saw probably most upfront was I did live in New York for a few years. 

I have several angel investors that have been fantastic. And for a couple years were really focused on venture funding. Anyway, I was in New York. And I was pitching all the time. 

We were looking to raise, I think, maybe like a $5 million series A or something. Normal or whatever. I think this has been seven or eight years ago. Now it's been a long time. 

But I just remember thinking like every single person I'm pitching or every single VC firm was all men with the exception of like 2 or 3, literally. And I think in total, I should look at the actual number. But I think I pitched around 80 or 90 people. 

And I was really frustrated because every single man that I pitched had a daughter in my demographic. 

We had this first meeting and then we had a second. He was like "Actually, my daughter has been wearing your stuff for years but I didn't know. My wife buys it for her." And it was sort of this uncanny thing of every... 

I was like, "Wow. We're reaching the right people, this is really great." But then they wouldn't... They're like, "Yeah, I don't really get it. Whatever. It's just bras." 

On the one hand, I'm like, "Okay, this could totally be me not pitching well enough. Maybe the company... Maybe it's not what you're looking for."

In hindsight, I also was 20. Like I said, no track record, or age, pr whatever. But I do think that's interesting, because every woman I've ever spoken to really understands a concept like this. 

And it's the same way where I don't know what the correlation is with men and, I don't know, your first boxers.

Chase Clymer  

(laughs)

Megan Grassell  

I don't know. But I wouldn't get that and I understand. But I think I don't ever feel like I was discriminated against or whatever because I'm a girl. I do think that I had this really interesting list. I was very frustrated at one point. 

So we actually were about to move forward with the venture and then we pulled back for a multitude of reasons. That's a very long story. Which I'm glad that we do not. 

But I've read this list of all of the ways in which people have said no, just to sort of like haven't looked back on one day, and I came across it maybe a year or two ago, maybe even during COVID when we had a free time. 

And the one thing that really I was shocked by was like, I felt like a lot of the... If you're like "Aw, you're just so sweet. You're so nice. Like what a cute idea. This is so sweet." And I was just... 

It was very demeaning. And I bring that up because I don't think that that would have been said to a man who was 20. I don't think It's like a sweet, cute idea. I think that was very gendered, which is more than anything else, just frustrating. 

But I think that I'm the type of person to be like, if I am frustrated or annoyed by something that really gets me fired up. And I'm like, It makes me want to work a lot harder... 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely.

Megan Grassell  

...to prove them wrong. So we've just been growing and doing that. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Condescending attitude. That is extremely frustrating. It definitely needs to get some more women in those positions to get that experience and resonate with them instantly. 

Did you or did you not take a round?

Megan Grassell  

So we've taken on just angel funding but not venture funding. And that was... I think we've gone back and forth on that for a long time. But really I... You never want to be the founder that stands in the way but at the same time, we... 

One, I don't think we were quite ready for that. But I also like... You're getting on this track of like, never not fundraising. And that was not... I just... For me, I also like... 

I don't have a trust fund. I didn't have a plan B. Yellowberry had to work in order for me to pay my rent and have a place to buy groceries. And we had to pay our people. And I think that I didn't have the luxury of…

I think it's an interesting story to say, "You go full force. Balls to the wall. Oh my god. This is amazing!" But if you fail, "Whatever." 

And for me, I was like "If I fail, I'm homeless." (laughs) And I think that it really adjusted the view. I didn't have the luxury of just doing that no matter what because there was absolutely a problem if it didn't work and we weren't able to raise again and continue to grow and hit those massive numbers. 

And I don't know. I become like a stalker of brands. And I think watching a lot of companies that were consumer-based, direct to consumer companies during that time frame and sort of seen, not all of them around today, I think is really interesting. Not that surprising.

But I think that the brand stories and the venture expectations for consumer products are not always super realistic. And I just think it's fascinating to sort of watch this play out. Good and bad.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. I guess my question would be, With the funding that you did receive, was it... Were you backed by women or men or both?

Megan Grassell  

Both. 

Chase Clymer  

All of the above?

Megan Grassell  

Mostly men, actually. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. What a but I guess there's another question there. You said he pitched 80 or 90 times. Putting in the reps, did you think that you are way better at it at the end?

Megan Grassell  

Oh, I'm sure. Yeah. But I also like... I don't know. I think that like if I were to do that today, I think it'd be so different because they would be... 

You gained so much experience and the knowledge and the confidence to know exactly what you're in where you're going.

Chase Clymer  

And you have data to back it up at this time.

Megan Grassell  

Totally. Yeah. But I don't know. Yeah, sure. I don't want to talk in circles. I just have so many thoughts about that. I think it's a fascinating world of venture capitals. 

Chase Clymer  

Well, you know what? It seems like that we'll just have to have you on again in a couple of months and we'll go down a different rabbit hole. 

Megan, I can't thank you enough for coming on. For those of the listeners that are excited about the product. Where should they go to check out the product?

Megan Grassell  

Oh yeah. We didn't plug Yellowberry. Yellowberry.com is the website and then our socials just all @yellowberry. For all of your 8 to 15 year old everyday product needs. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on.

Megan Grassell  

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Chase Clymer  

Alright. I can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their knowledge and journey with us. 

We've got a lot to think about and potentially add into our own business. You can find all the links in the show notes. 

Make sure you head over to honestecommerce.co to check out all the other amazing content that we have.
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