Brit Morin has already forged a path to success through her women’s lifestyle and education platform Brit + Co, her iHeartRadio Podcast, Teach Me Something New, and as cofounder of the $100 million VC fund Offline Ventures.
But the 35-year-old Mill Valley resident’s latest venture speaks to her values and passion: to help women reach their potential. That’s the inspiration for Selfmade, a 10-week business accelerator she founded for female entrepreneurs.
“When Covid-19 hit, I noticed that 5 million women were displaced from the workforce pretty much instantaneously,” Morin says. It was this “She-cession” that was the impetus to launch Selfmade, cultivating a community and programming that swings open doors for women and plows through glass ceilings. Peruse Morin’s social channels and you’ll find evidence of her commitment and pride for the women of Selfmade.
“It’s notes like this that fill my cup,” she says, spotlighting a screenshot of an enthusiastic, caps-heavy thank you letter. The post features a Selfmade alumni who secured several major publishing deals thanks to Morin’s endorsement. “The power and harmony that come when women help women believe in themselves, take a risk, and transform their lives is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Morin says.
Selfmade boasts an impressive and growing roster of instructors, featuring the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Tyra Banks and a who’s who of female founders and CEOs. Together with Morin, Selfmade’s team teaches women everything they need to know about business, from idea development to marketing, distribution to raising funds. Since launching in May 2020, Selfmade has served women ranging from 16 to 70 years old, a testament to the notion that it’s never too early or too late to get started.
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Morin’s team has forged inspiring partnerships with brands that wanted to showcase their support for female entrepreneurship. Founding sponsors Office Depot and Block Advisors have funded hundreds of scholarships for women of color and women from underrepresented communities who have been hit the hardest by pandemic job losses.“I wanted to help these women shortcut their way to financial success, but also to find real solutions for problems in the world they were passionate about,” Morin says.
Testimonials from alumni highlight Morin’s strength in this capacity. “Brit is like no one I’ve ever met,” says Jana Riss, 43, an alumni from Selfmade’s inaugural cohort and founder of Cultural Crate. “It felt like I was talking to an old friend. She has such an amazing and caring heart, and at the same time has this unbelievable ability to just take the chaos of ideas in someone’s mind and turn them into a laser-focused idea and vision.”
Born and raised in San Antonio, Morin zoomed through her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas in two-and-a-half years with a fascination for the future of technology.
In 2006, she traded Texas for the Bay Area, kickstarting her career at Apple. She was tasked with incubating iTunes energy and culture with fellow millennials. Spirited and audacious, Morin interfaced with Steve Jobs in town halls, earning a reputation for asking provocative questions and unapologetically proposing strategies directly to the notorious visionary.
Following her stint at Apple, Morin went to work at Google, where she managed product and marketing for Google Maps, Google Search, Google TV and YouTube. She was responsible for eight-figure budgets before she was old enough to rent a car, overseeing upward of $50 million before her 25th birthday.
Four years in, though, the novelty started to wear off. “I felt that I was repeating a lot of the same work and the same patterns — building a product, launching it, putting it through a review cycle,” she said.
While the workflow was proving to be mechanical, identifying emergent trends in user behavior piqued her interest. Morin noticed the quickly growing frequency of “how-to” search entries on Google and YouTube. This foreshadowed what would soon become the exponential rise of DIY, and the insight was the push she needed to start her own business.
In 2011, she took the leap and launched her first company, Brit + Co. Through it, she created a hub for women to ignite their creative spark and do-it-yourself mentality across all aspects of their lives. “I was merging the worlds of DIY, creativity and tech,” she says.
It was in this same period that Brit married Facebook alum and famed Bay Area angel investor Dave Morin and moved to their home in Mill Valley, where they have lived for 10 years with their two sons, 6-year-old Ansel and 5-year-old Austin.
“Mill Valley offers the best of a small-town lifestyle (where you know small business owners by name) with the convenience of being just minutes away from one of the world’s most impressive cities — not to mention, less than an hour to both Napa and Silicon Valley,” Brit says. “But what truly made me fall in love with Mill Valley is the nature. I live along the Dipsea Trail and have the fortune to walk out my door to bury myself in Muir Woods redwood trees, or run all the way to the expansive Pacific Ocean. You don’t get that combo in many places in the world.”
A decade after its inception, Brit + Co has reached 1.2 billion pageviews and has nearly 400 million users, generating more than $75 million in revenue.
From 2011 to 2016, Brit + Co grew exponentially, eventually to 15 million unique visitors a month. Fifty-thousand people have attended Brit + Co’s events, including the annual Re:Make Summit at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. Morin’s products were available on Target’s shelves, and heavyweights like Disney and Verizon lined up to invest in the growing business.
The brand’s path hasn’t been without setbacks. Algorithm changes introduced in 2016 hurt the brand’s bottom line, and Brit + Co’s team rode out the highs and lows of the evolving digital space. In 2019, the company laid off a sizable portion of the team.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen; it was really difficult,” Morin says. “I felt like I was down in the trenches.” And just as Brit + Co adjusted, Covid-19 hit.
Despite the uncertainty of the times, the pandemic presented a unique opportunity for Brit + Co to reset and set the stage for Morin to bring to life the company’s new project, Selfmade. “Selfmade was this beautiful blessing,” Morin says. “That happened because we were following our intuition about what we could do to solve the problem in a moment that needed it.”
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Morin aims to inspire a new generation of women to launch their own businesses, with the help of Selfmade’s talented cast of instructors. In an address to Selfmade students, Tina Sharkey, entrepreneur, investor and cofounder of Brandless and CEO of BabyCenter, encouraged a radical pursuit of entrepreneurship. “You don’t need permission to express yourself and build something,” she insists. “The permission should come from you. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will believe in you.”
It’s that empowerment which is at the heart of Morin’s entrepreneurial journey. Her platforms put women first: their voices, aspirations, lifestyles and livelihoods. There’s a natural progression to the evolution of her offerings: creating for and with women, teaching them and then investing in their businesses.
In a discussion with Selfmade students, rising fashion designer Autumn Adeigbo spoke about the contagious energy she experiences working alongside Morin, who discovered her while on a visit to New York’s Parsons School of Design. (Adeigbo’s line is the first self-titled fashion brand led by a Black woman designer to raise more than $1 million in venture capital funding — including an investment Morin led from her fund Offline Ventures.)
“I’m really proud of the history we have that was started with Brit pitching my brand to Jennifer Hyman at Rent the Runway,” Adeigbo says. “Let’s create more opportunities by supporting women and their businesses.”
Morin’s venture capital firm, Offline Ventures, aims to disrupt the male-dominated venture world. She’s backed companies like Kindbody, which is creating a new generation of health and fertility care, and Bobbie, which is reinventing the baby formula landscape.
“My mission is to help women discover their passions, learn new things and build the courage to reach their true potential,” Morin says, “because a world of smarter, more confident and more courageous women means a shift in the power to solve more of humanity’s problems.”
“So instead of being good girls, we need to be courageous women.”
More from Marin:
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- Meet Marin’s Local Business Owners: Faces of Success 2021
- Cheryl Berman, Erin Clifford, Zoe Elton, Nurit Raphael, Kathy Roeser — What We Can Learn From These Women on the Rise
Jakhongir Azimov has written for Voice of Tashkent in his home country of Uzbekistan. He is pursuing a graduate degree in Creative Journalism at the University of Alabama as a part of the Fulbright program.