Why Even CEOs Need Facetime
When Brit Morin launched Brit + Co eight years ago, she had two goals: to fill the void left behind by the demise of home ec classes and to create a community for women.
It was a void she experienced personally. At 25, she had worked in product management and marketing at both Google and Apple when she decided to leave the traditional tech world. While unemployed, she visited a DIY workshop called Tech Shop and noticed that she was crafting home décor items while the other customers—all guys—made 3-D figurines. Brit began blogging about her creations and attracted a following. Before long she had created Brit + Co, a lifestyle and online learning company that now counts an engaged community of 125+ million women among its users.
“I wanted what I’m doing to be about a community of women teaching one another and making content that is high quality, motivational, and wasn’t too preachy,” says Brit, who lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two young sons.
Most of all, she wanted to help women, especially millennial women, master skills they didn’t pick up as kids.
“I wanted to appeal to all those women who are trying to make their homes look beautiful and climb the career ladder, too,” she says.
Since those early days, her company has enrolled over 200,000 women in 130 different online classes, ranging from coding to watercolor painting, photography to sewing. Brit’s hosted events for anywhere from 25 up to 15,000 people, and, most recently, opened Make Shop, a retail store that combines DIY and shopping in the Bay Area.
“Shoppers can come in and do free projects,” says Brit, who is also the author of the bestselling book, Homemakers: A Domestic Handbook for the Digital Generation, which was published in 2015, and a frequent lifestyle expert on Good Morning America, the Today show, Live with Kelly & Ryan, and Rachael Ray. “We’re very excited about scaling this retail concept.”
To build her brand, every move the company makes is driven by data, something she learned during her time at Google and Apple.
“In the beginning this gave me a big leg up,” she says. “For example, when we were first starting out, I tested our Pinterest button 20 times. I learned this at Google and ultimately we optimized it well enough to become one of the five top brands globally on Pinterest with 75 million unique visitors on Pinterest alone. That helped propel the brand.”
Brit says that as a Girl Scout Brownie, her entrepreneurial fire was stoked during cookie sales season, too.
“I loved that experience,” says Brit, who was raised in San Antonio, Texas. “I loved the sense of camaraderie I had with the other girls and the crafty activities, too, which is very relevant to my life now.”
As CEO of a team that now includes 50 employees around the country, Brit finds it most fulfilling to key into the needs of her new employees, mentor them and make sure they’re succeeding at the company.
“I’ve learned how important it is to have one-on-ones with even the most junior people at the company,” she says. “Even the ones with their own managers need to hear from me. I think a lot of my job is people management, finding ways to motivate them and solve problems for them. It’s a mistake if a CEO isn’t present, and I don’t intend to ever make that mistake.”