1. Can you set the stage? What was the inspiration behind founding Brit + Co and how is the company empowering women to be creative?
I started my career in Silicon Valley, working for leading digital brands Apple and Google. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and knew I wanted to go off on my own, so I took some time off to figure out what I was passionately drawn to. This was 2011, so Pinterest was just taking off. I saw all of my girlfriends expressing interest in all forms of do-it-yourself ideas -- from cooking to crazy hair braids to craft projects -- but none of them felt like they were “creative enough” to bring those ideas to life. They would live and die on those Pinboards. That’s when I realized there was a disconnect between the creative confidence we had as children and how we feel as adults: why as kids can we imagine and create without hesitation, but as adults we feel self-conscious to even try? (Click to Tweet)
And so, Brit + Co was born as a place to inspire and empower women to be more creative in all aspects of their life (Click to Tweet). Initially solely focused on media, we inspired women to be more creative via editorial and video content. As we’ve grown, Brit + Co has furthered this mission with expansion into online classes for creative activities like calligraphy and coding; with experiences, such as our annual Re:Make conference and festival; and merchandising, like with our line of activity kits in Target.
2. While the core of Brit + Co was originally all about DIY, the company has grown into a broader lifestyle site and has expanded into online classes, merchandising, and experiential events. What are some trends you are seeing in engaging with audiences both on-and-offline?
We’re seeing a real interest in personalization and the quest for individuality. Both Millennials and Gen Z-ers want to be “different” from others and are interested in products that reflect their personalities (Click to Tweet). We’ve implemented this into our activity kits, which allow for customization. Women are using products like our Metal Stamp a Necklace kit most often to add their own name or one of their loved ones. Some add their favorite hashtag. It’s whatever they want it to be!
In the same vein, this generation takes pride in showing that individuality to the world, especially via social media. This can be in the form of how they dress, a new recipe they’ve mastered, or a new skill they’ve learned, as we often see with our online classes. Any company speaking to this audience should think about the need for the expression of individuality, and the power of social media.
3. What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs looking to get their businesses off the ground?
There are so many things I wish I’d known! But these are my top three:
Pick something you are passionate about. This seems cliché, but starting your own company is really (really) hard. There are going to be a lot of skeptics out there and a lot of highs and lows. But if you pick a mission you can’t stop thinking about then that will become your guiding light.
Embrace change. Starting a business, especially in an ever-changing industry like digital media, requires constant iteration, close attention to data, and trial and error. Learn from failures and don’t let them get the best of you.
Network and cultivate relationships. You never know who you are going to meet, where they are going to go, or when they might come back into your life. It’s important to put yourself out there and to keep in touch with people. So many of our partners, investors, and best hires have come through my network, or through others at Brit + Co.
4. In your experience, what’s the best way to work with investors?
It’s important to work with people who understand your vision and are as excited about growing your business as you are. That kind of excitement really fosters a team mentality - it’s not just about funding and returns, it’s about creating something that can change the world together.
An understanding of your industry is also key. I look at investors as partners, not just sources of capital (Click to Tweet). Verizon, for example, is an expert in the digital media space. They have enormous amounts of data and a wide distribution network, plus ties to other well-known media brands. I’m excited to bring our unique point of view to their portfolio to pull even more young women into the Brit + Co community.
5. What’s next for Brit + Co?
While Brit + Co will always be a media company at its core, we are evolving into a brand for all women who want to live creatively. Beyond just DIY, we help our audience apply a creative lens to all aspects of their lives -- from home decor, to career growth, to beauty, to pop culture, and more.
Beyond expanding across these new categories, we’re also focused on making our content more accessible and innovative, especially as it pertains to video. Over the next year, we will scale up even more video series and distribution outlets.
Our other revenue streams, such as online classes and merchandising, add to this by providing a stronger element of utility. With classes, our audience has access to quality instructors who can teach them things like calligraphy or how to start a business. And with our product lines, we can physically give her the tools and materials to learn those skills or try a creative project for the first time.
We’re excited to grow our core media business and further our mission through these new avenues as well. The end goal is that we are a 360-degree brand who is everywhere our audience is -- online or off -- guiding her to be a more creative and confident woman (Click to Tweet).