Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Brit Morin’s Media Startup Is Betting Big on Commerce No Matter What You Say

The media world is still waiting for all the hype around combining content and commerce operations under one brand to translate into a successful model. As it does, some media organizations that had pursued selling products are already giving up on the trend.

Brit Morin knows that, but she thinks her media property Brit + Co. will be the exception. The two-year-old media site, which publishes content aimed at women who like do-it-yourself projects, is today dramatically increasing the number of products available in its e-commerce shop to several thousand.

“For Refinery29 and PopSugar, which are definitely in the women’s lifestyle category, they write a lot about celebrities and entertainment, so it feels a little off when they start integrating products everywhere,” Morin said. “But all our content is about a product, either something that you can make or buy. So [the e-commerce shop] is much more authentic.”

The shop previously focused exclusively on selling do-it-yourself craft kits. Now it includes every product that has ever been mentioned on Brit + Co., Morin said. For now, Brit + Co. readers who want to buy any of the clothes, home-decor pieces or other new items in the shop will be redirected to other e-commerce sites to complete the transaction. Brit + Co. will only get an affiliate cut on these purchases, while it evaluates what types of products are most popular before considering stocking some of the inventory itself.

Even though Morin is building out the shop, whose design is certainly appealing, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a given that Morin’s readers will suddenly look to the media property as a place to shop. But she is trusting that a reader survey — which found that about a quarter of Brit + Co. readers would be interested in being able to buy the products they’ve read about on the site — proves that the investment is a smart one.

Brit + Co. raised more than $6 million in a Series A round this summer, in part to fund the commerce push.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald