Why did you start Martha Moments?
I had been working with SaveMartha.com as a writer and editor, from the time news hit about the investigation into Martha Stewart’s affairs with ImClone right through her trial and time in jail. It was about a three-year run with John Small, the founder of the site, and we did all sorts of research together, via email, about the case and about all the books that were coming out about her. Through that time I had accumulated so much information on Martha and I had years and years worth of her magazines on hand, so I just decided to do something with the interest and the information I had. Martha was free, she was back to work, so I wanted to continue “Martha watching” but with a fresh perspective, one that was not tied to ‘saving’ her from anything, something more optimistic and celebratory of what she is all about. I couldn't find anything like it on the Web, so I started it up myself.
What is a Martha Moment, exactly?
The first time I heard that term was on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Chef Mario Batali was the guest and he had asked Oprah to brush some melted butter onto a pastry or something. Oprah exclaimed, “I’m having a Martha moment!” And then, of course, I realized that it had become something of a catchphrase among homemakers; when you did something perfectly or felt an urge to embark on some sort of crafty project you would say you were having a Martha moment. So, I adapted it and gave it a different connotation. Each item I post on the blog I create a Martha moment – for myself and those reading what I write. It’s a moment in Martha’s world, a glimpse into her life and the larger sphere of living she has fostered in others. It could also be a moment in my life, too, that is somehow Martha-esque in theme or style. I like sharing my own Martha moments sometimes.
Why a blog?
I think blogs are so easy to set up and design. Anyone can do it. I like that it’s an “everyday” tool. I have no HTML skills and hosts like Blogger really make it easy for me to be creative on my own but still maintain an orderly looking format that’s attractive and easy to navigate. I love the simplicity but I can still be creative with some of my design skills, by using imagery and different fonts. Photoshop is such a blessing to me! I like that I can update the blog from anywhere at any time without having to remember complex coding just to put something up. I also like the immediacy of blogs. They’re inherrently newsy and interactive.
Yours truly: That's me, Andrew Ritchie, with Martha Stewart on the set of her TV show in New York City. I appeared on the show on January 14th, 2010, to do a craft segment with Martha for a show about blogs. I'm a freelance writer and a housewares specialist at Anthropologie in Toronto.
Do you think your blog has been successful?
I think so. I didn’t have a counter on the blog until two years after I started it, after a friend suggested I use Sitemeter. Traffic can be as low as 50 hits a day to as high as 8,000. It all depends on what’s going on in the news or who is directing traffic to my site. I’ve had a few relatively high-profile websites and blogs mention Martha Moments or directing traffic my way with a link to one of my posts, which is nice. Also, being on Martha's show and knowing that she reads the blog, along with numerous members of her staff, is a big boost to me. It was such a pleasure to meet her and to discuss the blog with her.
What’s also exciting to me is seeing where the visitors come from: Sweden, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, Israel, England, Iceland, France, Germany, lots of places I’d never expect. And of course all over the United States and Canada.
My Martha Moments journal (where I keep all my ideas for the blog) is a Martha By Mail item given to me by my friend Kenn. It is brown leather with "good things" inscribed on the cover in silver. I had it signed by former Martha Stewart Living editorial director Margaret Roach. It's a beautiful journal and I treasure it.
What does Martha think of the blog?
When I met her at the show she told me she enjoys the blog and some of her reps have told me in the past that they appreciate the work I have put into it, as have some of the editors who work at her magazines. At the time, she said she thought the blog was "very beautiful" - her exact words - and I don't think I'll ever forget that. She also said that she considers me to be very well informed about her life, her brand and her company. I do the blog for my own enjoyment and for people who share my interest. If Martha's company benefits, all the better. I'll always be a fan; I'll always want Martha to succeed and I have absolute respect and love for her work, regardless of what they may think of me or the blog today. Martha Moments has been a wonderful project and I've met so many great people because of it.Some of my extensive collection of Martha Stewart books, magazines and catalogs, which are "evergreen" sources of inspiration in all areas of my life.
I keep several folders of Martha Stewart clippings from magazines, correspondence letters from MSLO, advertising, labels and brochures.