It's been six years since Brit Morin launched her successful women's lifestyle media company, Brit + Co. Yet, she still gets asked if her husband, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, helped her get her business off the ground.
"I can't even believe that people are asking me that. To think that my success is rooted in him, you know, is an unconscious bias," Morin tells CNN's Poppy Harlow in the latest episode of Boss Files.
It's not the first time the 32-year-old CEO has been underestimated.
Morin admits even she didn't think she was "smart enough or experienced enough" to launch her own company.
"We are our own roadblocks. We tell ourselves we can't do it. We tell ourselves we aren't good enough," she says. "And if we can just build up our own self-confidence a little bit more, and that doesn't mean we have to be egocentric, it just means we have to feel like we can do it, and if not, fake it 'til we make it."
Raising money for the business on her own was another hurdle. "I didn't have a co-founder. I didn't have any other support, you know, walking in with me. It was just me," Morin says.
Morin was just 25 years old at the time and says investors had difficulty relating not only to her but also to the concept of a digital media company that would include content, merchandising and classes geared toward young women.
"Back in 2011, 2012, when I raised my first seed round, no one in Silicon Valley really understood why media would be a big industry. I would try to explain that the craft industry alone is a $33 billion industry driven mostly by offline retail... I had the numbers and the data, but a lot of people still passed."
Today, Morin is known as the Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley. Brit + Co's online community now reaches more than 175 million users across its website and social channels.
The platform has expanded beyond traditional digital media to include panel events on topics like cryptocurrency and entrepreneurship and classes that range from business to calligraphy.
"We really are trying to be a 360 brand that's bolstered by media," she says.
To date, Morin says Brit + Co has raised a little over $40 million.
"Most of our competition has raised well over $100 million," Morin says. "I think slow brands are the brands that win out. You don't want to force a brand to grow. A community has to be an organic and authentic community."
Morin says her mission is to help unleash the "creative confidence" in her largely female audience.
"Let's bring the five-year-old back out. Adult women need to stop caring so much what other people think. Stop deciding whether or not you're going to post it on social media. Just do it for fun, do it for you."
But Brit + Co isn't just about crafts and Instagram posts.
In today's heated political climate, Morin has had to make some tough decisions about how to cover topics like women's rights, abortion, wage equality and maternity leave.
"We covered the women's march, for instance, and we sent people there and we lost a really large advertising deal after that," she says.
Despite the backlash, Morin says "it was worth it."
"At the end of the day, all we can do is stay true to who we are as a brand, and, if that means that another partner is not going to work with us because they don't agree, we're not going to fold," she tells Harlow. "I believe that Brit + Co is a long-term brand. I've put my name into this company, I can envision doing this for years and years and years, and I'm not going to bend my ways and bend my community."
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