I was "with" Martha the day of "THE DEBACLE" last year. In fact, this post was meant to go live a few days afterwards, but somehow talking about Martha right after she had spoken of bloggers and got all of their/our knickers in a twist...well...it never happened. Let me set the stage for you. I went to NYC for a 2 day event, at the behest of Martha's Blogger Network, Martha's Circle. On the train ride back home, I open twitter only to find that Martha IN THE VERY SAME SHIRT SHE WAS WEARING WHEN I WAS WITH HER, is giving an interview about, yes, bloggers.
So today, almost a year later, let's talk about it. First off, you might want to watch the words directly. The video of Martha (edited) can still be found HERE at Huffington Post. She basically calls bloggers out on their lack of expertise. After almost a year, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps she is correct.
Bloggers are not experts. We become very good at various trades, and some of us come to blogging with an expert background in various arts. Honestly though, how many bloggers have a degree in blogging? Crafting? Design? Perhaps there are some, but very few. I don't see a problem with that. We are always teaching from a place of knowledge, but not always a place of expertise. That is ok. Like any capitalist system, if we are shilling a bad product, in this case advice or teaching, no one will return. If you try three of my recipes and hate them all, I imagine you will find another blogger that does a better job. I am OK with the public deciding how much of an expert I am at any given time on any particular subject I am speaking on. As I prove my ideas WORK you come back. That is how Martha grew her brand and it is how I am growing mine. I am OK for Martha, an expert in the "industry of lifestyle", to tell me I am not quite there yet.
So onto the event in New York City last fall. American Made is an event celebrating American "makers" and the idea behind the event is FABULOUS. However, I felt as if the hotel the sessions were held in was too confining and I felt very out of place. I did not feel as if I was "supposed" to be there, but rather that I was in the way. I twice had employees tell me I couldn't take pictures or be in certain areas (that were not specifically blocked off) to take photos. Meanwhile, I had been invited as one of a few bloggers to cover the event, so I was like.....ummmm.....soooooo...you would like me to cover this how? I was confused. I had also just had a baby 6 weeks prior, so you know, it could have been my brain.
The setup in Grand Central however was VERY cool. It is open to the public each year and showcases the "makers" that won each year along with other American artisans. There are crafting stations and food stations for the public to participate in as well, which I think is VERY cool. Crowded? Yes. Worth it? Maybe.
...and yes, Martha herself could be found throughout the day at the conference, speaking on panels as well as interacting one-on-one with attendees. (Notice THE SHIRT) I never found an opportunity myself to speak with her one-on-one, but I DID get that chance briefly with the talented and personable Barbara Corcoran. She is as kind and smart in person as she is on Shark Tank.
I am excited to see who the American Made winners are NEXT year and how this event takes off in its third year. If you are a NYC resident, you should definitely stop by and if YOU are a maker yourself, you might consider applying to be one of the featured American makers next year.
My hands down favorite part of the trip actually had nothing to do with American Made and more to do with some good friends from high school. Randomly, the event was the same weekend they were traveling from Ohio to see me(!) in Pennsylvania and they were making a stopover in NYC. I met them after a show and we had a long New York cheesecake "dinner" (well I did...) and it was rather fabulous. They came the next day by train to our place in PA and it was another day of friends and fun. I wish they would come back -- you guys hear that???