Brit Morin is the force behind the popular digital media and e-commerce company Brit + Co., a go-to destination for millennial women looking for DIY tips and other information on health, beauty, food, fashion, relationships and more.
Recently named by Inc. as one of the most creative entrepreneurs of 2018, Morin created Brit and Co. to build a community and help people tap into their own creativity.
She founded the company in 2011 after leaving a job at Google, where she worked under Marissa Mayer. She was only 25 at the time and although she knew she wanted to start a business, what she ended up creating wasn’t exactly what she expected.
“I actually was on the track to starting a different company; it was more of a health-oriented startup,” Morin told ABC News’ chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.
As she worked to develop her startup, Morin was also planning her wedding, using her knack for DIY projects and digital design to make much of what she needed by hand.
“I was getting married and started making everything for my wedding and putting it on my blog,” Morin said. “I was like, ‘Oh this is a fun side thing that I'm doing,’ and then I started to get a little bit of a following doing that.”
As women began reaching out to Morin for guidance on how to create wedding accessories ranging from handmade flowers to custom tie designs, the seeds for Brit and Co. were planted.
“I created a digital design in an illustrator for a pattern that then I exported onto fabric and then I sewed my husband's tie for the wedding...My flowers were handmade. I didn't have any real flowers; they were all handmade wooden...I did the whole thing and I had so much fun doing it. And all these women were asking questions like how did I make those flowers and how they wanted to do that.”
Morin decided that she could build a space to help women creatively express themselves. She created a few weeks worth of content and, with $5,000, hired an engineering and design agency to build the initial website. Morin already had somewhat of a social following from her personal blog and leveraged those followers to drive initial traffic.
“The initial strategy was, ‘OK, I'm going to make enough content to create enough engagement that people come back to my site, and then I'm going to build apps and all these different categories -- wedding, food, home -- and create utility services in these categories and then redirect them to download the apps. And so the content was just part of the funnel. What happened was like people just started really liking the content.”
The business made six figures in its first year, momentum that led Morin to her seed round of financing which allowed her to hire a team. From there Brit + Co. started to grow rapidly, and today the business has raised over $40 million in funds, creates hundreds of pieces of content a month and reaches over 175 million people online and across platforms.
Recently the company has evolved past the digital realm with conferences and pop-up experiences to bring together a growing community of “Brit girls”.
“I just feel like a group of women working together for the same mission is so much more powerful than one person alone,” Morin said.
Building a community was always important to Morin, who said the worst advice she ever got ran counter to that idea.
“The worst advice I’ve ever received was to make myself a huge celebrity and not worry about the business behind it," Morin told Jarvis. "To me that’s always been wrong because everything I wanted to do is around creating a community.”
She said she received the advice early in her venture, and realized that she could go in that direction if she chose.
“I was so early on and YouTube stars were a thing and TV stars of course were always a thing, and it felt like it could be a nice way to go if I were not so obsessed with the idea of motivating hundreds of millions of women around the globe to be more creative and confident in themselves.”
She added, “It would have been a much smaller idea without the full potential of what we’ve achieved now.”
Hear more from Brit Morin on episode #82 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.