Brit Morin of Brit + Co Talks About Why She Launched Her Company, How to Overcome the Highs and Lows and Ignoring Negativity
'If you keep working hard and stay true to your mission, everything works itself out.'
Editor's note: Builders Series features no-holds-barred in-depth interviews with female leaders in different industries to give you insight into what successful women have done to push through feeling stuck, frustrated and uncreative in order to build incredible brands and businesses.
Brit Morin is the founder & CEO of media company Brit + Co, which inspires, educates and entertains real women with a creative spirit. It's an inspirational site that features news as well as insight on how to thrive, create and DIY everything.
Personally, my favorite feature is the "Be The Change" section, which offers women a guide and the necessary tools to take action on a host of issues, ranging from supporting female political candidates to providing aid to refugees.
Brit's built a following of over 175 million and has raised $45 million in funding, so I was excited to dive in and hear about her transition from Google and Apple to building her own media brand, along with the highs and lows along the way.
Griffith: What have you built and wht inspired you to build it?
Morin: I was inspired to start Brit + Co after realizing that so many young women lack the "creative confidence" they had as kids. Since starting, we've matured into a full-blown lifestyle media company and creative brand.
Were you born a builder or did you have to learn to be one?
I think I was born a builder, but my experiences definitely enhanced this skill. I come from an ordinary family in Texas, so I was always hustling growing up. Whether it was selling Girl Scout cookies, captaining the soccer team or paying my way through college, I knew I needed to work hard to get where I wanted to be.
Who was the first woman you looked up to and why did you want to be like her?
I had a huge girl crush on Katie Couric growing up. I used to set my alarm at 7 am (yes, even in the summers) to wake up and watch her on the Today Show. It was a "pinch me" moment when she asked me to join her daytime show, Katie, as a correspondent a few years ago.
What's the greatest risk you've taken?
Leaving Google at age 25 was pretty risky. For so many, Google is a dream job. It was an amazing place to work with and for incredible people, but I had the entrepreneurial itch and I always knew I wanted to start my own company. I think the craziest part is that I hadn't even come up with the idea for Brit + Co when I left. I just decided to take some time and see what I gravitated towards naturally. Luckily, that has worked out (so far)!
When have you broken down, personally or professionally? How did you break through?
When I was first starting Brit + Co, I took criticism from others very hard and very personally. Putting my name into the company and making myself the face really opened me up to judgment, but I've learned that running a business means experiencing high-highs, and low-lows, and if you keep working hard and stay true to your mission, everything works itself out.
What makes you doubt yourself, and how do you manage it?
The media industry has been morphing and changing at a rapid pace over the past couple of years. In many ways, we're lucky to be a small, fully digital company, because we can pivot and learn faster than our traditional media peers. That said, I think we're all still sorting out exactly where and how the world will continue to consume content, products and experiences in the future. No one has the answers. But I have always been more keen to pioneer a wild, big idea than to stand for complacency. I manage my doubt by staying focused and aware of how long to experiment with something before either killing it or investing into it further.
How do you know when to leave someone or something?
I always try to look at the facts. Is there data that can help me appraise this situation and what does it say? Particularly in situations where emotions are involved, data can be helpful in keeping a clear head. If the facts say something does not help you work toward your larger goals, leave it behind.
When was your bravest moment and how do you practice being brave?
My bravest moment was when I decided to launch Brit + Co. Not only was I taking a leap to start a venture-backed business, but I was taking a double leap by attaching my name and face to it. I never did so with the intention of being well-known, but instead to keep the brand human and authentic. I knew I would have to be brave in the face of all the naysayers, and that I did. By learning to avoid negativity and invest in our supportive community, I feel like I've not only conquered my fear, but also developed a sense of true friends and fans.
Knowing what you know now, was it worth it?
Absolutely. Brit + Co has already achieved so much. Just in this past year we raised our Series C round of funding, launched Brit + Co branded products in Target, brought on people like Mila Kunis and Jeff Jones as advisors, threw our first event in New York City, which attracted over 10,000 people and joined the Disney Accelerator Program. That is all within the past 12 months, and yet, I still feel as though we are just getting started. By no means do I think we have "made it" yet; there's still so much more I want to accomplish.
What can you see yourself building next?
For the foreseeable future, I'm going to continue building Brit + Co. I look at companies like Disney as an example of what we could grow to be over time. It's such an interesting time to be in the media business, and particularly to be building a company that is navigating the future of content, commerce and experiences. We're also working on video and entertainment, online learning and merchandising, so I think I will have my hands full for awhile.
What do you value most in others?
Positivity and hard work.
What do you value most in yourself?
Courage and creativity.
What holds you back?
Time -- there is never enough!
One thing you're afraid of?
Artificial intelligence gone wrong.
One thing you'd change about yourself?
The ability to NOT be OCD. I'm way too much of a perfectionist. (My husband will agree.)
What is your biggest vice?
Content, content, content. I can never get enough!
What keeps you sane?
My family. They always put things into perspective and make a bad day a good day.
Something you wish you would have kept doing?
When I was in college, I built a product like Kickstarter years before Kickstarter. It was called FundHole, which in retrospect, is a terrible, terrible name. That being said, I gave it up, because I didn't believe that people would feel comfortable asking for large amounts of money so publicly. I wish I didn't. It could have been huge!
Something you wish you would have stopped sooner?
Trying to control all the little things. As a founder, you have an immense instinct to micromanage everything. But over the years, I've learned that you have to let other people have control in order to scale. Now, my focus is more on hiring smart people who can learn quickly, so that I can give them problems to solve on their own. My job is more about ensuring the strategy and focus is correct, not that it's executed exactly as I would do it.
What keeps you going and building?
Brit + Co's mission of helping women feel more positive, empowered and creative. I receive notes all the time from our community and how they've been impacted by our brand. It's those notes that keep me going.
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