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Day in the Life: How Brit Morin built a DIY business

This article is from Pulse, Digiday’s quarterly print magazine about the modernization of media. This is a peek at the third issue, which focuses on the current state and future potential of video. To receive the full 80-page issue and subscribe to a year of Pulse, visit pulse.digiday.com.

For Brit Morin, building a business was a lot like assembling one of her brand’s DIY boxes.

She laid out the idea in front of her: Build a digital company focused on creating physical things. The initial iteration of Brit + Co was to create a suite of apps centered on topics attractive to female millennials, like cooking and weddings. It didn’t take off.

“The content side of the business was growing faster than the app, so we shifted focus to be a full-out media company,” says Morin, 30. Today Brit + Co is a content and commerce hybrid website focused on DIY projects, make-up tips and healthy cooking. The lifestyle media brand has attracted over $27 million in venture backing.

While the website’s traffic is small — Brit + Co attracted 2.4 million U.S. visitors in June according to comScore — its audience is passionate, she says. Across its social media platforms, including a unique pop-up Snapchat channel around major holidays, Morin claims to reach 80 million users each month.

Roughly 98 percent of its advertising revenue comes from native ads. Brit + Co also makes money from selling DIY kits, instructional videos and tickets to events, like its annual Re:Make festival in San Francisco, which attracts 15,000 fans. Morin said the company will “soon” be profitable.

She walked us through a typical day in her life.

6:00 a.m.: Wake up, scan the news. This includes, but is not limited to: email, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, my text messages, stocks I’m following, and the New York Times.

6:15 a.m.: Work out, if it’s going to happen. (There’s often a snooze alarm that gets in the way of me and my tennis shoes.) If I do work out, it’s generally a trail run on one of the beautiful northern California trails right outside my house. I listen to podcasts along the way, never music. I’ve been running to podcasts since I was in college and am addicted!

7:00 a.m.: Baby time. My newest addition, Austin, was just born in May, so he’s still nursing first thing in the morning. Luckily he’s a pretty consistent sleeper, though, so 7 a.m. is a safe bet for his breakfast.

7:30 a.m.: Toddler time. My oldest, Ansel, is 21 months now and bounces off the walls with happiness when he wakes up in the morning. I love getting a few minutes of playtime in with him before I get ready for the day.

8:00 a.m.: Speeding through a shower, hair, makeup, and wardrobe decisions. (I usually have the Today Show, which I appear on from time to time, on in the background — gotta keep up with my crew over there!) Every morning I consider dumping out my closet in lieu of a capsule wardrobe soon to cut down on decision making. Steve Jobs may have really been onto something there…

8:30 a.m.: Breakfast! Which, for me, generally means green juice, coffee and Ezekiel toast. I’m kind of a health nut.

8:45 a.m.: Out the door. My commute to work entails driving through the redwood forest then across the Golden Gate bridge. It doesn’t suck, to say the least. I love listening to podcasts along the way for more brain food and entertainment, though sometimes I will drive in complete silence just to think and prep for the day.

9:15 a.m.: I’ve made it to the office. I keep a “WORK BLOCK” on my calendar so that no one can schedule time with me for the first two hours I arrive. This gives me time to catch up on emails that have come in overnight and to get some personal work done before a day of meetings.

11:00 a.m.: Bi-weekly sync up with my marketing and events team for Re:Make, our annual conference and festival. Today, we are finalizing the logistics of the conference speakers (which include the likes of Tyra Banks and Sophia Amoruso) as well as the infrastructure plan to house roughly 15,000 people at the festival. I try not to be OCD about all the tiny things that can go wrong. (Planning Re:Make is like planning my wedding x 1000. #bridezilla)

11:30 a.m.: Interview with a candidate who has applied to be an executive on our engineering team. I’m judging him on how to drive deeper engagement on our site, but also how he thinks about reaching a distributed audience with new technologies.

Noon: Grab my lunch and head to a last-minute meet-up with a few team members to put together a response to a multi-million dollar RFP we just received. My college degree was in advertising, so I’m always excited to think about how to build successful campaigns for our clients. I love to think big and outside of the box.

12:30 p.m.: Content review for our Snapchat Discover channel. I’m extremely close to the content we put out on Snapchat and review everything in extreme detail, from the inception of article/video ideas to teeny tiny grammatical or design errors.

12:58 p.m.: Tidy up the office en route to my next meeting. I can’t stand crooked frames on the wall. (Didn’t I mention I was OCD?)

1:00 p.m.: Meeting with a few of our partners from Pinterest (who are also our neighbors, just down the street here in San Francisco) to discuss some of the new, exciting things happening on their platform. Brit + Co has a pretty massive organic reach there given our focus on creativity and DIY, so we check in with the team at Pinterest frequently.

2:00 p.m.: Say hello to a teacher stopping by our video studio to shoot a class for Brit + Co Watercolor calligraphy FTW.

2:03 p.m.: Product/tech review of a new page redesign that will be rolling out soon. We do the review from our mobile phones since that’s where 70 percent of our users are consuming our content.

2:30 p.m.: One-on-one meeting with Anjelika Temple, our executive creative director and my first hire. Sometimes it’s about logistical things, but today the agenda was light, so we just decided to take a few minutes to brainstorm crazy ideas for the business. We literally have a Google Doc entitled: “Things that should be things” — it includes a big list of puns as well as many other wild topics.

3:00 p.m.: We just kicked off prep for Halloween and it’s time for one of our first photoshoots! I am in and out of 5 costumes in 30 minutes, thanks to all the folks who have prepped beforehand. And yes, we’ve Snapchatted the whole thing. Naturally.

3:30 p.m.: Quick finance review of our latest profit and loss with my CFO ahead of our board call immediately following. Things are in order, which as a CEO, is the No. 1 most comforting thing to see.

4:00 p.m.: Board call. Today we talked through the ever-changing media landscape and relevant business updates, then had some time for discussion about a few big deals we are working on. My board is incredibly supportive and super media savvy, so I always look forward to our chats.

5:00 p.m.: Check on the B+C Slack feed once more before heading home to make sure I haven’t missed anything major in the last hour or so.

5:05 p.m.: Out the door and on the way home with all the other parents. Then it’s playtime, dinnertime, bathtime and bedtime for the kiddos. They are out by 7 p.m.

7:30 p.m.: Dinner with a small group of female entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. We get together from time to time to compare notes and cheer each other on. Life is tough out there, and it’s helpful to know you’re not in it alone.

9:00 p.m.: Finish the day’s emails and work, usually from my bed.

10:30 p.m.: Confession: I’m a huge content junkie. So I DVR almost all major morning, daytime and late night talk shows. I catch up on them the hour before I go to bed to study the types of content that everyone is making on television these days. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a “Game of Thrones” or “Silicon Valley” episode ready to watch as well.

11:30 p.m.: Head to bed and get ready to start the whole thing all over again.

If you enjoyed this sneak peek at the video issue of Pulse Magazine, get your yearly subscription here.

Photo courtesy Brit Morin

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