Meet Brit of Brit + Co
At 25 years young, Brit Morin had already worked at Apple and Google before becoming the founder and CEO of a startup that creates content for women, by women.
March is Women’s History Month. A time to celebrate the risk takers — the women who find their passion and a way to make it happen.
Like Brit Morin, founder of lifestyle company Brit + Co. She'd already worked at Apple and Google when she founded her company at 25.
Brit + Co describes itself as “a media company that inspires, educates and entertains real women with a creative spirit” and offers content, online classes and products through its site and app. It now reaches a community of over 175 million online and across platforms.
It's also one of Verizon Ventures’ portfolio companies. Verizon Ventures invests in startups to help Verizon gain market intelligence, detect early opportunities for our lines of business, and discover new technologies as a future bet. Portfolio companies cover everything from artificial intelligence and IoT to digital media and more. Learn more about Verizon Ventures.
I had the chance to talk to Brit about her experience in the tech world, identifying and fulfilling a need in the market, and inspiring other women.
Katie: Before launching Brit + Co, you worked for both Apple and Google. How did you get started in the tech field? Were you always interested in a STEM career?
Brit: Though I grew up wanting to be doctor, inventor, and even at one point, a geneticist, I became fascinated with computer science in high school, to the point where I actually chose my college based on where I could graduate the fastest and get out to Silicon Valley. I started working for tech companies remotely while I was still in school and then went to Apple as soon as I could graduate. I was so fascinated by all I had seen in tech in the late 90s and early 2000s, and desperately wanted to be part of the industry that was changing the world.
K: When you launched Brit + Co, what gap in the marketplace did you identify and aim to meet?
B: I actually did not leave Google with the plan to start Brit + Co, I just knew I wanted to do my own thing, so I decided to take some time off and see what I gravitated toward. I found I really loved “making,” whether it was creating decorations for my upcoming wedding, inventing a new piece of software, or just baking cupcakes. At the same time, Pinterest was gaining popularity, and I found the friends who would tell me they are not creative enough to do the projects that I was were the same ones pinning recipes and activities. I realized that there is some disconnect between when you are a kid who can take on any creative activity, and when you become a very self-conscious adult. Brit + Co was born to help women regain creative confidence and, in doing so, live their best, most educated and most confident lives.
K: When you left Google to start Brit + Co, were you apprehensive about taking on the role of CEO/entrepreneur? If so, how did you overcome it?
B: I’ve always gravitated naturally toward leadership roles, but this was definitely daunting. Especially because I was only 25! I quickly learned that in order to be successful I had to put my feelings of “imposter syndrome” aside and be confident in my abilities. There will always be a million things I haven’t done or don’t know, but focusing on that won’t get me anywhere. I always tell young people in their 20s not to be afraid to found a company. Trust me, whatever you don’t know will definitely get learned in doing so -- it’s the best MBA you could ask for!
K: You’ve mentioned that in seeking out capital funding for your business, you were often pitching investors who were mostly men, and not necessarily in your business’s target demographic. How do you get them to understand you, your business and why it’s a good investment?
B: Fundraising is definitely a challenge, especially when the investors are not in our target demographic. In those situations, I try to rely on data to communicate our strengths and the uniqueness of our brand. Not every middle-aged male VC may understand social media trends or the value in what we’re doing for young women, but they will understand audience growth, increased engagement, and multiple revenue lines.
K: Verizon Ventures invested in Brit + Co last year. How has that relationship supported your company’s growth?
B: We’ve been thrilled about our relationship with Verizon over the past year and have begun to work closely with teams ranging from HuffPo to AOL, MSN and Yahoo. We’re eager to delve deeper into the world of video and mobile, and are excited about some big initiatives brewing with Verizon’s marketing team for 2018 and beyond.
K: You’ve talked about the importance of finding mentors - both male and female. Who has mentored you along the way during your career? What advice would you give to someone who is seeking a mentor or sponsor?
B: Because I got to Silicon Valley early on, I was really fortunate to develop relationships with big players, like Marissa Mayer and venture capitalists, like Aileen Lee. Many of my early mentors have continued to play a big role in the business, like Tina Sharkey, who is now on Brit + Co’s board. When choosing a mentor I think it’s important to choose people who really share in your vision and who you want in your corner during both the ups and the downs. It’s easy to celebrate the victories, but consider who you can go to when things don’t go your way.
K: Brit + Co now has over 75 employees, and more than 70% are women. As a female business leader, what responsibility do you feel you have to help other women grow in their careers?
B: I’m a big believer in the idea that “empowered women empower women”. I try to do this with all of my employees and make an impact in small and big ways - give someone the promotion they’ve worked for, accept the coffee invitation, take a minute to send a few words of encouragement. I’m so proud to be part of a generation of women that advocates for one another and am excited at where the role of Brit + Co can play a big part.