3.08.2009

Andrew Ritchie: Martha Moments Creator

On March 9th, 2006, I sat down and created a blog. I called it Martha Moments. Using Blogger, I created a very rudimentary, simple-looking blog in shades of lime green and based it on all the good things (and great things) Martha Stewart represented to me at the time. Fresh from my stint as a writer for SaveMartha.com, I felt the urge to continue examining and studying the Martha Stewart brand on my own terms. Over six years later, the blog is still going strong with readers from all over the world. Below is an interview with myself (Diane Sawyer wasn't available) that helps shed some light on the genesis of Martha Moments. Enjoy, and thank you all so much for reading!

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.

16 comments:

julie - eab designs said...

Just wanted to pop in and say hello and to let you know that I don't remember how I discovered your blog, but I'm so happy I did. I've been a regular follower for awhile now and I appreciate your up-to-date news, wonderful photography and insights. Thanks for the great interview questions/answers. It was a pleasure learning a little more about you. Best wishes from someone who has been a fan of Martha from day one.

Pru said...

Dear Andrew,

I remember stumbling upon your blog through your Good Things 2006 article. And I have been hooked ever since! In fact, I check your blog before Martha's! I love how much you appreciate the work of Martha and her company.

With kind regards, Pru.

Kevin said...

Happy Anniversary, Andrew! :-)

Kevin

Claire said...

Happy Birthday to your blog! I wish you only GOOD THINGS -- a fabulous spring flower arrangement, cupcakes beautifully arranged in a vintage cake stand and lots of Champagne! Cheers to more blogging years!

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Thanks, guys! See what I mean about great people leaving comments? You all rock.

Will said...

Happy birthday to you blog! I like visiting it, nearly every day! Thanx so much and happy blogging for years to come :-)
Will

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Congratulations on the three year mark, that's amazing! I love your blog, I check it daily through my Reader. I really enjoyed reading the backstory. Here's to another fabulous three years!

Kenn said...

Congratulations dear friend... I recall your "Save Martha" days and feel so fortunate to have you as a friend.
Here's to many more years! *raises wine glass*

Anonymous said...

Andrew,
Happy Anniversary...I too read your blog before Martha's because I can't wait to see what's coming up on Martha or your latest insight or your year-end reviews. I've only been a regular for about a year now, but I've read all the past posts (more than once!!) Hope we all enjoy many many more years of Martha Moments.
Cheers,
Vicki

The Little Big House said...

Congrats on your blogiversary! As a fellow Martha Stewart fan I have really have enjoyed your very detailed beautifully laid out and thoughtful posts. thanks for sharing!

Elaine said...

Happy Blogaversary! I loved your story on how you got the Martha Moments name. It is a great name.

Here's to many more years of blogging!

Anonymous said...

I just came upon your site in the past few weeks. It's an unofficial good thing. :)

homeofthehuskies said...

Hi Andrew,
I recently came across your blog and I am so happy to find it. I love all things Martha!
I have a question..I was thinking of taking a short trip to NYC this summer. Do you know where Martha's building is or do they give tours or anything. I know her show is cancelled so no studio tour but just wondered if there was any Martha sites to see. Thanks. I too live in Ontario, Canada.

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Hi there! There are not really any 'tours' of Martha locations, but Martha's headquarters are located at the Starrett Lehigh building, right on the banks of the Hudson River. It's at 601 West 26th Street. You can walk along the boardwalk and get a good view of the offices.

Flo said...

I'm a little late to the party, I just found your blog, but I just wanted to take a second to let you know that I enjoy it. As a fellow blogger, I appreciate when someone really takes the time to create something that is not only informative, but pleasing to the eye. I will be back!

ANDREW RITCHIE said...

Hi Flo! Thank you for stopping by and for saying hello. I'm glad to know you will also be back. Thanks again for your kind words.