I have made a secret list of personal resolutions for the New Year, but I also have several pop-culture wish lists: things I would like to see happen this year in the realms of film, music and media. As the host of Martha Moments, and a fan since the mid-1990s, I will put forward some of my hopes and dreams for the Martha Stewart brand for 2015. Not all of them will happen, of course, but as the old Blondie song goes, "Dreaming is free!"
1. More Special Issues
Readers of Martha Stewart Living magazine were deprived of special issues in 2014. It was the first year in over a decade that the editors did not put forth a supplemental issue. Two issues had been planned for 2014 (an Everyday Food issue for the newsstands and a special Halloween issue) but both were pulled to cut costs. Now that Meredith Corp. is handling Martha's advertising and production, my hope is for at least one Martha Stewart special issue magazine this year; two would be even better! Let's all keep our fingers crossed!
2. More Books
Quite a few of Martha's fans have expressed to me their desire for more Martha Stewart books that are not about cooking. We all know that cookbooks sell and that Martha always has to consider the bottom line, but how many Martha Stewart cookbooks does one home cook really need? She's already written several dozen. The company now seems to be circling back on itself, issuing books on subjects Martha has already written about. There was the "New Pies and Tarts" book and their next book will be about appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, a subject Martha explored in the early 1980s and 1990s with two other books on the subject: "Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres" and "Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook." The new book, entitled "Martha Stewart's Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Nibbles, Bites, Snacks, Starters, Small Plates, and Other Delightful Party Foods, Plus 30 Cocktails" (released September 1) will no doubt be an updated version featuring all kinds of new recipes, but what about gardening books? What about books on crafts or decorating, or books about Martha's homes? Cooking has been done to death. I'd like to see the MSLO editors expand their library beyond the kitchen.
3. More Martha in Canada
OK, this is where I get a bit selfish. It was announced by MSLO last year that they are working with a Canadian retailer to bring more of Martha's products to Canadian consumers. As a Canadian myself, I was of course thrilled by this news. To date, we only have Martha's line of goods at The Home Depot and at Michael's craft stores. That's it. Since the Martha Stewart Everyday line ceased to exist in 2006, Canadians have had no access to Martha Stewart sheets, towels, kitchenware, dinnerware, glassware or gadgets. All of that is south of the border in stores that have no Canadian real estate, such as Macy's and JC Penney. It's my sincerest hope that a Canadian store like Hudson's Bay takes on the Martha Stewart brand this year!
4. Martha by Mail - Part II
Please bring back the Martha Stewart Catalog for Living! The time is right, it seems, to reinvigorate the mail-order business that Martha told reporters last year she regrets having cancelled in 2004. Now that the company is transitioning from a publishing/media brand to a merchandising brand, a mail-order catalog would be an ideal outlet for those core Martha Stewart brand fanatics who want something a little more special, a little more curated and unique. It only failed because MSLO was handling the entire operation, from design to product shipment, and it couldn't sustain a profit. With MSLO handling the product design and licensing, and an outside source that specializes in delivery handling the orders and shipment of the products to consumers, it could very well be a boon to the brand and to its consumers. Original Martha by Mail merchandise and catalogs are collected voraciously to this day, fetching three or four times their original cost. There is certainly an appetite to be satiated.
5. A Gardening Show
After the first successful year of Martha Stewart's Cooking School on PBS, it was rumoured that the public broadcaster had asked Martha to develop a gardening show as well. Whether the rumour was accurate or not, it is most certainly a good idea! Imagine a show on PBS that takes us to Martha's private gardens and to the gardens of some of the experts she personally collaborates with. I know I speak for just about every single Martha Stewart fan when I say that this would be a very "Good Thing" indeed. As mentioned above, the cooking aspect of the Martha Stewart ethos is reaching a saturation point. While there will always be room for cooking shows and cookbooks, some diversification and expansion of content is necessary at this stage.
So, that's it! I have many more small wishes but those are the "Big Five" that I'd like to share with you and (hopefully) some of the MSLO staffers who may be reading this. What about you? What do you want to see happen in Martha's world in 2015?