(NEW YORK) — Unable to find a bra that was appropriate in style and fit for her tween sister, an 18-year-old Wyoming girl started her own bra company.
“I was shopping for bras with my younger sister, Mary Margaret, and we couldn’t find anything she could fit into,” Megan Grassel explains in the video she used to launch the Kickstarter campaign for her company, Yellowberry.
She was also put off by the all racy lingerie that was marketed to girls her sister’s age.
“I sort of had this epiphany like, ‘Oh, girls need to have an option,’” Grassel, of Jackson, Wyo., says in the video. “They need to have an alternative bra to buy and fit them and their growing bodies.”
Grassel’s company offers comfortable and modest bra options, priced from $29 to $42, for girls ages 11 to 15. Her Kickstarter campaign for Yellowberry this month exceeded its $25,000 goal by more than $16,000, with a total of $41,795 pledged as of Wednesday.
Grassel’s startup is right on target with the latest Spring fashion craze for tweens, half-camisoles with spaghetti straps known as the “bra-cami” or “bra-lette.”
The styles are flying off the shelves at mainstream retail outlets like Old Navy and Zara’s. Some stores selling the “bra-lettes” in sizes to fit girls as young as 4 has led to some debate online, however, over whether that is appropriate.
“There will be no bra-lettes,” wrote one mom. “Her father thinks bikinis are too much for little girls.”
Child experts say just the use of the word “bra” in the name is enough to raise red flags for some parents.
“When you use the word bra, it evokes images of a sexually mature woman and that makes us very uncomfortable,” Dr. Jamie Howard, a clinical psychologist, at the Child Mind Institute in New York City told ABC News.
Jil Garcia, whose company, Malibu Sugar, sells clothes for tweens, teens and women says the “bra-lettes” are a fashion statement that actually helps girls feel less insecure.
“A lot of the fashions started to become off-the-shoulder or a lower back or a bigger arm hole,” Garcia said. “I really wanted to create something for the girls to give [them] a sense of comfort.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN