When Martha Stewart calls…. unique and special relationships enter in your life.
No matter where we find ourselves in life one thing proves to be true always. You can meet all the famous people you want, make all the connections you think necessary, increase your numbers of followers to a number where you think you may have arrived…but when all is said and done, it is in the few key, relationships that you invest in, where you find what really matters. Everything else is a vapor, there one second and gone the next.
It’s been 7 years since I first met Martha Stewart at a book signing @Macy’s in Clearwater, Florida in 2009. My life has never been the same. I still remember that day, I was waiting in line along with over 600 people waiting to get their book signed, waiting for that opportunity to maybe exchange a few words with this Marketing Mogul. Some would have a picture taken with her, give her a gift, a business card, a sample of thier product or a chance to tell her what they do for a living, all in the hopes that Martha would take notice and maybe , some how support thier endeavors. Our connection I guess, was meant to be when, two days after the book signing I got the first phone call of many that would open doors and inspire ROC Paper Scissors to dream big while doing what I love with passion, knowledge, very hard work and excellence. I was very hopeful to see where it would take me.
Fast forward 7 years later to the American Made Summit.
Here are some of the wonderful people that make up Martha’s team. A few special moments with a few of the many talented movers and shakers of this company:
On a side note: though I know I’m really just sharing about relationships on this post, I must tell you I was very impressed with Jessica Alba. She was warm, helpful, informative and just plain real. I think everyone enjoyed listening to her. She really was delightful!
I loved the fact that I had just had a conversation with an attendee who had started her own business. She was a little frustrated with trying to find a way to stand out among other businesses that were doing the same thing she was, she asked me for advice on what was a key thing I stood by when starting a business, so I gave her my insight, only to hear Jessica Alba in the following session express the same and this pretty much sums it up:
“When it comes to your product have something different, really unique, that expresses your individuality and really makes you stand out from the others.” Another thing we agreed on is: “always remember that the most important thing is relationships.”
In between sessions it was our opportunity to open shop for networking and sales. Once the sessions started the vendors were to close shop and sit down along with all the other attendees of the summit, enjoy and be able to listen to all the great advice from young and old, up and coming to seasoned voices of expertise, information, experience and advice. Not selling during sessions was a professional courtesy to the speaker of the moment and to avoid any distractions from noise or selling transactions in the clerestory.
Break time for the the makers in the shop was going to have to be during sessions where you’d grab a bite to eat, go make a craft, go to the ladies room, chat with friends or even run into Martha’s dogs:
Early afternoon before my friend Lenore arrived for our time together, I ran into the bathroom. A few minutes later two small children came in, with two women. I almost immediately knew that they were Martha’s grand kids, Jude and Truman. I forgot how old they are, but they are somewhere between 3 and 5. So I listened and watched their interactions for a few minutes and the nanny’s were trying to get them into the bathroom stalls for I guess potty time. I knew the nanny’s were Colombian and had heard that these little ones had been taught Spanish and could speak it well. I stooped down and proceeded to have the most delightful conversation in Spanish with Jude. Truman immediately, stopped fidgeting and came by and joined us. I felt like I was having a conversation with a mini version of Martha Stewart and but in beautifully spoken” Colombian” Spanish! She was so fluent and perfect! They really have done a great job and these kids are really smart.
I purposely didn’t take photos tho guys. I have noticed in Martha’s posts that when she shows photos of her grand kids they are always from the back or in an angle where their faces can’t be seen. I can only guess for privacy and security reasons. So I wanted to respect that unspoken guideline I have observed since they were born and wanted protect them… so… no photos. Lo siento. Some things are much more important than taking advantage of an opportunity or just scoring a great shot to share with the world.
The second to the last speakers of the evening Victor Friedberg and Alejandro Velez.After that Martha would wrap it all up for the evening. I ran into Kimberly as I was heading back to my table and was in the middle of a conversation with her about all the super feedback she had been getting about the paper portraits, when Martha walks by. She was looking at the vendor tables in the back, greeting some of the vendors.
I waited for her to be done.
(Now I won’t go into great detail of the content of the conversation but for the sake of our topic today – unique and special relationships, I’ll share a bit more detail the logistics of my interactions w/Martha, more than I ever have in the past.)
Then I gently called out: “Martha!”
Next thing I know she is heading over and gave me a hug and a kiss. As if that wasn’t enough, we had the most delightful conversation.
We talked about a lot of things and I just had to share with her my conversation with her little “Colombian” in the bathroom. Grand kids have always been a common topic of conversation since we both first became Glam-ma’s almost at the same time.
I mentioned to her that I had brought her a gift. She very excitedly responded,” Really?!?! Where, oh I want to see!” and starts heading towards my vendor table.
So …DURING the last SESSION I am finding myself walking and talking with Martha all the way to the FRONT of the clerestory to my vendor area. I know…I know, we were “breaking” the rules but Martha wanted to go, after all this is HER event right?!?!? She could do what ever she wanted, besides she needed to work her way towards the stage because she was next so she wasn’t being disrespectful, she was just “multitasking “.
So we walked and we talked.
I can’t tell you how surreal that was with all eyes on Martha and maybe a few on me , wondering who the heck this rule breaker was…though all eyes were mostly on her…I’m sure.
I could see the faces of so many vendors with big smiles on their faces hoping to have that moment Martha would walk up to their table, stop, acknowledge, chat, buy, anything. It was kinda like the kid in kindergarten when they are waiting for the teacher to pick someone for a special fun chore and the little faces are saying “Pleeeeeease!!! Pick me!!” I can’t even begin to describe it, but I understand, because I had once been in that place, 7 years before at a Macy’s store hoping to make some kind of connection. Now I found myself walking down an isle just me and her with all eyes on us. She was very gracious and courteous and in her genius multitasking way, she kept talking, as she would nod and acknowledge them as she passed their tables.
She was pretty focused though… she really wanted her “present”. Gotta love her.
We got to the my table and she immediately grabbed her paper portrait. “Oh can I have it !?!?!” She said it like a delighted little girl. It was so sweet.
I said, “Of course I made it for you Martha, you didn’t think I’d come empty handed did you? You should know me by now. Let me get that packaged for you though, to make sure nothing happens to it and I’ll have Kimberly get it to you in a bit”
“Oh, ok .Thank you!” She then gives me a hug and a kiss and says good bye as she makes he way back on the stage.
There were at least two people from the company that kept saying that if I would have given it to her there and then, she would have on the spot promoted me from the stage. She may have, she may not have. Guess I’ll never know and I really didn’t think about that because we were just “sharing”.
Afterwards though I thought about this, long and hard. Did I miss an opportunity?
Many of you may be screaming a resounding , ah…YES…duh!!!
Then I realized, I went with my heart. When Martha was interacting with the vendors most of them usually seeking to “get” something from her. A word, time, an endorsement, her business, money, a social media following, the seal of approval…whatever it may be. I realized It wasn’t about looking for an angle. For me that moment wasn’t about what I could GET from her but just spending a moment with her with no ulterior motive. I had a gift for her and it was all about letting her know how appreciated she was, no strings attached and I am pretty cool with that. Besides I really wanted to write one of my personalized special messages and wanted to be sure it was packaged appropriately so that her Paper Portrait wouldn’t suffer any damage as it made its way to her final destination( remember yesterdays blog post? it was rainy in NYC that weekend).
I mean, I already have her seal of approval, I’m part of her market,I’ve been on her show. I know she loves my product. That moment wasn’t for marketing it was a moment for making a memory and what a memory that was.
In her scheduled days where every minute is programmed to the smallest detail. I wasn’t even sure we’d be able to have a personal exchange. I really wasn’t expecting this. It may never happen again. The fact that things happened the way it did and on top of it, her photographer was close by to snap a picture for the memory was more than I could ever expect. Thank you Jocelyn!
See guys, I remember as a celebrity in Colombia it was hard to find genuine friends. Granted, I was NEVER as HUUUUGE as Martha is, but I knew what it was like to live in a fish bowl, to be followed, stalked, mobbed by fans and have autographs asked for. People always wanted something from me. There will always be those people looking for an angle, everywhere you go, whatever you do, famous or not, it just happens. It can get lonely in that place and it is so hard to find and trust people, but when the genuine ones come along, every moment shared with them, even if brief, was a gift in itself. That is something I have never forgotten to this day.
Maybe that was the greater gift to Martha that afternoon. God knows that time with her sure was for me:)