In 1998, "Martha by Mail" was strong enough to become an official catalog business; consumers could subscribe to the catalog and order any number of goods featured on its pages or online at marthabymail.com. What made the catalog so unique was the high quality of the product and the unique designs you simply couldn't find anywhere else. There was an air of exclusivity, rarity and even community in the Martha by Mail venture.
Martha and her merchandising team partnered with some of the world's leading makers and manufacturers from around the world to produce the products they designed: L.E. Smith, Mosser, Frankoma, Robinson Ronsbottom, NordicWare, Wilton, Ateco, Lloyd Flanders, Sterling China, Broggi, Chiarugi, Krosnos, Steiff, Wedgwood, Juliska, Janaer Glas, Rainer, Michael Bonne Copperworks, Fenton, Bernhardt Furniture, Eleni's, Niman Ranch and CK Products were just some of the silversmiths, food producers, foundries, glassworks, ceramicists and furniture makers that provided products for the catalog. From England to Germany to Italy to Japan, and all across the United States, Martha by Mail brought together a world of tradition and craftsmanship that was actually unparalleled in the online-catalog business.
While the business was successful for several years, its greatest challenge was maintaining a profit. It was an expensive project to run and it proved difficult for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to oversee not only the rapid design of products, with the promise of new offerings in each month's catalog, but also to manage its delivery processes. The catalog business was closed in the summer of 2004.
For collectors of the Martha Stewart brand, there is nothing more valuable than the products that were featured in the pages of the "Martha by Mail" catalogs. If the products are sealed in their original packaging, the items can fetch two or three times what they originally sold for. (Of particular interest to collectors are the cookie-cutter sets, the unique cake molds and baking pans, the jadeite collections and some of the dinnerware and serveware sets.)
The catalogs themselves are highly collectible. At online auction sites, such as eBay, a single copy of the catalog can generate between $8 and $30, depending on rarity and condition, which is quite astonishing considering the catalogs were originally free! A complete catalog set, like the one shown below, could fetch as much as $1,000, perhaps more. Each of the catalogs that were issued by the company are shown below, in order of appearance. I wanted to put this up on Martha Moments as a collectors' resource. A very special thank-you to my friend Kenn for these scans!
MARTHA BY MAIL: 1997
MARTHA BY MAIL: 1998
MARTHA BY MAIL: 1999
MARTHA BY MAIL: 2000
MARTHA BY MAIL: 2001
MARTHA BY MAIL: 2002
CATALOG FOR LIVING: 2003
CATALOG FOR LIVING: 2004