No one is more surprised that Brit Morin founded a company than her mother.Not just any company — a domestic living company, Brit.
Growing up in Texas, Morin’s family didn’t cook much. Her mother didn’t teach her to style her hair. So Morin taught herself to do a lot. Now Morin is sharing everything she learned with other women, teaching them to cook, decorate and even use technology creatively.
Morin left Google one year ago to found Brit. She was inspired to start a company while planning her wedding to fellow entrepreneur and Path founder, Dave Morin.
We caught up with her. Here’s some of what we learned:
- Brit has been an entrepreneur since childhood. She was the top girl scout cookie seller for three years in a row.
- Brit worked for Apple and Google prior to founding Brit. She worked on iTunes, Google Maps, search and Google TV.
- Her brand is an intersection of technology and media. She’s creating mobile apps as well as online content verticals to give women things like recipes and wedding planning tips on the go. No other domestic lifestyle site has tech content or popular mobile apps and e-commerce worked into the business plan.
Here’s our (lightly edited) Q&A with Brit Morin.
Why is your mum surprised you founded Brit?
Brit Morin (BM): She’s half shocked and half not. My parents both worked and my mum never taught me the basics but at the same time I loved figuring things out for myself, whether it was learning how to french braid my hair or making a waterproof beach tote bag out of Capri Sun cartons. I didn’t know the right way to do these things, so I taught myself “hacks.”
How big is Brit and how are you financially backed?
Right now we are self-funded and we have five employees total — three engineers, myself, and one on editorial. We have several editorial contributors who are constantly helping with the content and who come up with ideas. It basically means I don’t sleep much!
Your husband is an entrepreneur. Were you always interested in entrepreneurship or did he inspire you? Or did you inspire him?
I always knew I wanted to start a company. When I first moved to San Francisco I was working with a small startup and I think I caught the bug then, but I even started a company in college consulting with different types of startups in Silicon Valley.
I was the girl with the lemonade stand every summer in elementary school, and I was the top girl scout cookie seller for three years in a row. Entrepreneurship is part of my nature.
I actually think that’s why Dave and I connect so well, because we both have a passion for entrepreneurship and we know how hard it is, and we are able to cheer each other on.
Brit is pretty different from your previous jobs, which were at Google and Apple.
I started over at Apple and I worked for a mobile startup. Then I spent four years at Google. I left last year knowing I wanted to start a new company presuming it was going to be in technology. But in the midst of getting ready for my wedding, which was last July, I found myself back at my roots.
What work did you do for Google and Apple?
At Apple I worked in the iTunes PR group and when I moved over to Google I was in the product marketing group.
I worked on Google maps and search; my last job was leading the Google TV marketing group. I think it was at that point that I saw the future of where entertainment and technology are going to merge. I was really inspired by that. To be on the flip side now and be a content producer, I find that fascinating. I am looking forward to all of the ways Brit can integrate with television.
Brit is one of the few Martha Stewart-type sites with a technology vertical. You have a technology section next to a wedding section…How does that make sense?
I see technology as the base of everything I am doing, especially because that is my background professionally. I think women are becoming more interested in technology but they still need it in small doses. They don’t really want a TechCrunch for women; they want a lifestyle site where they get recipes and style inspiration, and at the same time they learn about new interesting apps they can use to improve their lives.
My goal is to really try and infuse technology into every part of the brand and, the way we are producing content online is only one aspect of that. We are actually working on a suite of software applications that wil fit into each of those content verticals, from wedding to technology, so Brit is both a software and a media company in one.
What software apps will Brit be releasing?Our goal is to launch at least one app for each of the content verticals as a way to give our audience more utility. The first app we are working on is going to be within the wedding vertical and we’ll have a lot more information about that pretty soon.
Is it going to be a Knot killer?
It will be helpful shortcuts for brides. Having just been a bride and having gone through the wedding planning process, I understand the unmet needs of brides and grooms and even guests. That’s what we’re trying to cater to with Weduary.
We also want to make Weduary a place where brides can customise their websites. So we’ll be giving them different tools to help them create their own wedding sites with lots of interesting features.
A lot of wedding and domestic living brands already exist. How will Brit be different?
I don’t think there’s any great destination on the web or in media for women that infuses technology with lifestyle content. So that’s one big differentiator. The second is I really do see it as a company that is built on and around technology from a software perspective.
We’re putting technology in a media context both in terms of the content we’re creating and the different integrations we’re doing. We’re using a ton of social media APIs too; we’re digging into Pinterest right now because that’s an obvious outlet for our audience.
Eventually we’re hoping to get into commerce as well. We’re getting a lot of requests from readers to either make things ourselves to sell or to sell the products we feature.
How do you keep coming up with one creative how-to after another? Isn’t it exhausting?
I hate doing anything that’s already been done so anything we put on the site is something we come up with ourselves, or it’s a spin on something traditional. My team and I, we sit and brainstorm things that need makeovers. The other day we featured 20 different things you can do with coffee filters. We turned them into earrings, made potpourri…
I feel like there’s a lack of innovation in the home these days and there’s a whole home automation movement happening. People are linking smart phones to their refrigerators and buying Twine, a home automation system, off Kickstarter. There are a lot of interesting new devices and gadgets, but there also needs to be an influx of innovative ways to repurpose and redecorate the basics. I don’t know if there’s an end to creative ideas. You just have to have an open mind and think outside the box.