Google alum Brit Morin launches digital lifestyle brand
Meet Silicon Valley's version of Martha Stewart.
Stewart may have invented lifestyle branding, but Brit Morin is determined to give it a digital makeover.
Morin, a 25-year-old former employee of Apple and Google, is launching a new lifestyle brand that she describes as a cross between Real Simple and Wired magazines. She says she's hoping to help people channel their digital domestic diva with a company that publishes content, creates software and rolls out products. And, like Stewart, she's branding her business with her first name, Brit.
She says her website, hellobrit.com, is "a digital manual for creative living."
"The goal is to help people add order to their chaotic lives in creative ways. It's clear that people want to make things and do things but they don't have time, don't know how or don't have the right materials," Morin said.
Hers is one of a growing number of efforts tapping into online demand for expert advice, not just tips from friends, Morin says.
For example, one video shows how to make wearable dinner napkins as a hostess gift or conversation piece, another shows how to make candy apple cookies that are less messy to eat than traditional candy apples. Among her favorite products is the "laundry pod," a portable washing machine that retails for $100.
Morin plans to launch other stand-alone efforts under the Brit umbrella, the first of which is a Weduary.com, a wedding-related site that opens for sign-ups Wednesday.
It's an app that she and her husband Dave Morin (co-founder of Path and an alumnus of Apple and Facebook) created for their own wedding in July. The idea was to make the occasion more social by letting their guests mingle online beforehand and learn about shared interests, table seating and who's single.
The Morins met while working at Apple. Dave Morin proposed in a seaplane over a Maldives beach, popping the question by spelling it out in coconuts on the sand. The couple got married in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in cowboy boots.
"Weduary made for a more interesting experience for guests online and offline," Morin said. "That's what my brand is all about."
Morin says she wasn't always so creative with crafts. Even though she would go on to work for Google and its video-sharing site, YouTube, she says those online services weren't around to offer helpful hints on how to cook or sew when she was growing up in suburban Texas.
Morin said she struggled at first even to thread a needle. When she was 16, she nearly broke the sewing machine with her first major project: a purse made from empty Capri Sun juice cartons.
"It was ironic that I ended up working at Google and YouTube where we helped people find this type of information," Morin said.
After moving to Silicon Valley, Morin focused on marketing new Web products such as Google TV, Google Earth and Google Maps. She also gathered a following for her blog.
Ready to try her hand at her own company, Morin, 25, left Google in March. With time to take classes, she mastered using laser-cutting machines, wood saws, screen printers, vinyl cutters and letterpress machines.
It was during her honeymoon that she said she realized she could create a company that combined homemaker and hacker.
"There are a lot of innovative ways to apply technology and creativity to the home," Morin said.
One of her recent projects was for her husband's company Path. She laser-etched signs for the conference rooms that the San Francisco company is naming after famous designers such as Apple's Jonathan Ive.
Another top priority: securing the brit.com domain.
-- Jessica Guynn
Photos, from top: Brit Morin at the sewing machine, in the kitchen, with Martha Stewart. Credit: Brit Morin