Laura Alexander Wittig and Liza Moiseeva have turned a simple podcast about sustainable living into a full blown platform for content, community, and online shopping.
The entrepreneurs are co-founders of Brightly, a Seattle startup that just reeled in $1 million to fuel its momentum.
They launched their Good Together podcast in 2019, partly as a way to see if their branding and voice around eco-conscious product recommendations and general life tips would resonate with “conscious customers” — and it did, quickly rising up the podcast charts.
The podcast also caught the attention of Snapchat, which accepted Wittig and Moiseeva into its Yellow Accelerator program this past February.
Brightly then took shape, building off the podcast and creating more content geared toward sustainable living. The company figured out a way to earn revenue by partnering with brands and featuring their products. Brightly also participated in the Seattle-based Female Founders Alliance accelerator, which opened up conversations with investors.
Its community grew rapidly last year, with millions of new followers across TikTok and Instagram channels. The company now reaches more than 250,000 women daily and has an ambassador program of more than 10,000 members who share ideas and recommendations on Brightly’s apps.
Now the startup is ready to step on the gas, with plans to grow its 5-person team and add an e-commerce arm later this year.
“Our main goal is to empower billions of conscious consumers to change the world through simple, everyday steps,” Wittig said.
In some ways, Brightly is following the blueprint laid out by Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow that started as a weekly newsletter. Another similar example is Glossier co-founder Emily Weiss, whose cosmetics company originally started as a blog called Into the Goss.
“It’s a combination of community and content to drive commerce,” Wittig said. “This is the future of how companies are going to be built. Rather than chasing customers to come in your door, you can establish relationships before you even ask them to pull out their wallet.”
Wittig said the pandemic has made people think more deeply about what they buy and who they buy from, whether it’s the local restaurant down the street or an eco-friendly product manufacturer.
Brightly differentiates itself from other marketplaces or e-commerce giants such as Amazon with its curation and vetting process, Wittig said.
“It’s truly allowing people to see the story behind products and forming an emotional relationship with the product,” she noted.
Wittig previously worked at Amazon, Adobe, Sephora, and Google, where she helped lead a social impact program. Moiseeva was a co-founder and exec at GlobeIn, which sold a fair trade subscription box.
Wittig is based in Seattle while Moiseeva is in the Bay Area. Brightly will have a presence in Seattle but is “remote-first,” following a pandemic-driven trend of startups not tying themselves down to one physical location.
Investors in the round include Tacoma Venture Fund; Keeler Investments; and the Female Founders Alliance. Odile Roujol, the former Lancôme CEO, also invested through her firm FAB Ventures.
“I founded FAB Ventures to back purpose-driven entrepreneurs,” Roujol said in a statement. “I’m excited to put this capital to work backing Brightly’s female founders, building a vibrant community of GenZ and Millennials, and scaling conscious consumerism. We can all make a difference.”