Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Martha Stewart's American Made Awards Honors Game Changing Entrepreneurs

Martha Stewart today is no doubt recognized as the doyenne of all things artistic, creative, and artisanal, especially in the domestic design areas of gardening, crafts and technology, food, and fashion.  Her empire is vast and her influence is unmatched.

But the fact is, Martha started her enterprise in her suburban, Westport Connecticut home with a catering business cooked up on her kitchen table.
Like millions of dreamers and those she calls “doers” have done, she turned her passions into success.  (She just did it better, one might argue!) 
If she didn’t exist, we’d have to invent her

Over the years, she has taught her fans how to create -- to unleash their own innovative spirit.
She prides herself on being an educator. 

Having worked with her and her team on many occasions for the botanic gardens, I have  seen first-hand how Martha’s scholarship is genuine and impressive. 
Her curiosity seems boundless and it infuses the quality of everything she makes.
With an infectious enthusiasm from the Julia Child and Shirley Temple pull-yourself up-by-the-bootstraps/can-do school of American optimism, she teaches us how to discover and make the best soft cooked eggs, or decorate our small spaces or create the best “Pies and Sides,” as the November Martha Stewart Living issue claims with a come-hither seduction of seasonal desserts perched on the cover.

Therefore, who better than Martha and her talented team, to produce an innovative, inspiring red, white, and blue program, such as the American Made Awards?

Hats in the air for American Made Awards – it is the quintessential example of practicing what you preach: MSL created a never-been-done-before program for entrepreneurs!  It’s dizzying how zen this is… 

At an intimate, swanky wine and cheese celebratory party hosted by Gael Towey, chief integration and creative director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) and her charming husband, Stewart Doyle, at their townhouse that looks like it came right out of well, umm -- right out of a magazine!
It was all sparkly, twinkling lights, art, including books, and unique décor.  
The wine was crisp. The cheeses were fresh, clean and creamy, labeled, and from an American Made Honoree, the cheese makers from The Cellars at Jasper Hill. 

But we’re getting ahead of things.

The American Made Awards is a little complicated. It’s a multimedia outreach.
But at its core, it’s this: a grand, inspiring way to honor “15 rising stars in American gardening, food, crafts and technology, fashion, and design in the magazine’s core areas of interest.”

The way the honorees are being celebrated is better than a caffeinated Kickstarter and more like a huge Independence Day parade down America’s Main Street. If Main Street went from, well, Maine to California. 
In addition to the 15 honorees featured in the November issue, the public chose an honoree via an online nomination and voting process.

The Audience Choice American Made winner will receive $10,000 to further his business, in addition to being honored at the October event and featured in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living.

The Honorees I spoke to still looked almost shell-shocked -- trying to take it all in.
Brian Howell said he just learned two weeks ago that he was the Audience Choice winner.  “A friend told me about the program just in the middle of August,” he noted, his face revealing it’s been a fast ride ever since. “We went from 50 emails a day to more than 500,” he says softly, sort of shaking his head with humility and incredulousness etched on his face. 
Peoples Choice Winner, Brian Howell (L)
His company, The Bee Man Candle Company,  hails from Syracuse and is the only candle maker to handcraft pure bayberry and beeswax candles.  He claims he started his business when he was 12 or 13 years old.  Talk about childhood greenshoots!  

The handsome and studied Jonah Meyer and Tara De Lisio, can honestly say love is a key ingredient in their furniture cum sculpture. She loved his work upon walking into his Catskill studios and it wasn’t long before they fell hard for each other and got married. How has the Made in America changed them and their Rhinebeck, NY Sawkille studio,
Sawkille's Tara De Lisio
“It’s incredible  - beyond words,” whispers De Lisio.  

For a full listing of the 15 Rising Stars:

I have to add, the Alisa Toninato, FeLion Studios, Madison Wisconsin, aka Iron Maiden, and her featured collection of limited-edition cast-iron skillets cast in the shape of the 48-contiguous US states.  (This Examiner has more than a few Hawaiian foodie friends.  Perhaps you can do Island skillets to honor the Aloha State?!)

After remarks at the wine and cheese party by Martha – who was resplendent in all-white fashion, having just come from the MSL Bridal event -- and Lisa Gersh, the MSLO CEO, Martha was scheduled to appear on the Piers Morgan show to talk about the American Made Awards later that night.  She admonished the guests not to leave the party in order to catch the show.  The bonhomie was such that Towey joked they could all watch it on her TV.  
Martha, flanked by Lisa Gersh, CEO MSLO (L) & Gael Towey (R)

Gersh explained that the program was dreamed up by Towey and Pilar Guzman, the editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living magazine in one of their ideation sessions and who are the “heart and soul” of the initiative.  Gersh thanked the tastemaking editors at MSL for their thoughtful nominations and curating of the program, and acknowledged the incredible creativity and hard work on the part of all the Honorees.

Martha also acknowledged New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his tremendous support of homegrown entrepreneurship. 
Can’t let it go without noting that Hizzoner is also an entrepreneur, having built Bloomberg into a world-class financial and news enterprise. 
About her work with the Mayor on behalf of American Made, Martha has been quoted saying, “Bloomberg has taken his entrepreneurial spirit into the public sector and is supporting creative business owners with remarkable programs such as the 12 incubators they’ve launched across the city that bring together public and private dollars and talent and provide individuals and companies with community-oriented work spaces and support to develop their enterprises.
I am committing to join him in this endeavor and look forward to serving as a mentor for the E-Space Kitchen incubator in Brooklyn and the Cashama Arts incubator in Queens, where more than 200 artists, artisans and chefs are attempting to turn their passions into a successful businesses.”

Made in America, Celebrated in New York

For two days, starting tomorrow, October 17th and 18th at the landmark Grand Central Station, the Honorees will be center stage at an artisanal fair pop-up in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central. Consumers will be invited to take part in how-to workshops hosted by Martha Stewart, as well as other culinary, crafting, design and gardening experts from MSLO and around the country, including Dan Barber, master executive chef, culinary thought leader and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. 
Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, J. Crew’s Millard “Mickey” Drexler, Karen Mills, the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, Ralph Rucci, Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, and Diane von Furstenberg will join Martha Stewart throughout the day on Wednesday as she transforms Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall into a veritable tribute to artisanal greats and up-and-comers alike for her first-ever “American Made” event.

Visitors will also enjoy shopping, tastings and giveaways. Etsy, the marketplace for independent creative businesses, and a natural, ‘made in heaven” programming partner for the American Made workshops will be on hand to give demonstrations and share techniques and tips. Products and expertise from the other program sponsors, Avery Dennison and The UPS Store® will also be featured.

New York Rising Stars include:
·      Carter Cleveland; from NYC
·      Andrew Tarlow, Jed Walentas & Peter Lawrence: Wythe Hotel New York City
·      Jonah Meyer & Tara De Lisio: Sawkille Co. From Rhinebeck NY
·      Mikie Yahagi, Makie, Fashion

The November issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine puts the spotlight on the 15 American Made Awards craftspeople with a series of profiles that honor and respect their work and passions.
The stories about each creative entrepreneur are lovingly told and the photos are truly our Norman Rockwell portraits for this generation. They are powerful profiles that will inspire for years to come.
If you are a budding entrepreneur, hang these images and channel their innovation and steadfast spirit.

Flora Grubb, Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco captured the optimistic essence of the movement, saying, “Entrepreneurship has to be in your blood. It’s an ability to see opportunity when others people might see problems.”

Pilar Guzman, MSL Editor in Chief
Guzman’s Letter from the Editor is a profile in courage.  
It oozes respect and admiration and pride.
She writes of the passionate efforts of the honorees: the new American artisanal craftsman.
She makes the link to a “defining cultural moment when so many people are making a go of their creative passions and in doing so, fueling a new American economy.” 
This Examiner covered another foodie event touting the ability of the culinary world to create jobs.

Further, Guzman makes the link that the American Made story “lives alongside the many pages devoted to the most American of holidays:” Thanksgiving.
And finally, she points the way that the stories are “an artful expression of” Martha – “and the editors’ – for those game changers who inspire us…”

Don’t miss the two-day American Made Awards salute at Grand Central.

A full listing of workshops and demos:
Entrance via Vanderbilt Hall doors at 42nd Street
7:00-8:30AM  - Wake Up Call: Yoga and Breakfast with Martha
Yoga session with Martha Stewart and James Murphy, instructor and director of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York. Following the class, there will be light breakfast served featuring Bouchon Bakery’s pastries that are made with American Made Honoree, Lena Kwak’s, Cup4Cup gluten free flour. Sponsored by jcpenney.
9:30-10:30AM - The Makers of American Fashion            
Martha Stewart and a host of luminaries within the fashion and retail industries kick off American Made, featuring a fashion preview, tips and tricks, and a panel discussion on American fashion.  J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Ralph Rucci and Tory Burch will participate in the session, including an "Ask Martha" segment, in which members of the studio audience will get the chance to get expert advice from Martha and guests.  Sponsored by jcpenney.
12:15-1:30PM  - The Elevator Pitch Competition               
Sue Herera of CNBC will host The Elevator Pitch Competition between undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Visual Arts and the Rhode Island School of Design. The contest will culminate in the crowing of one as the Inaugural American Made Entrepreneurial Challenge winner on site. U.S. Small Business Administrator and Cabinet Member Karen Mills, as well as Martha Stewart and MSLO CEO Lisa Gersh will take part in the session. Guest judges and keynote speakers include Bob Pittman of Clear Channel, Matt Stinchcomb of Etsy, Mark Hoffman of CNBC and Kay Koplovitz of Koplovitz & Co. and Springboard Enterprises.  Brought to you by The UPS Store.
2:30 - 3:30PM Etsy Success
Join Matt Stinchcomb, VP of Brand and Social Responsibility at Etsy, Lauren Indvik of Mashable and some of Etsy’s best sellers to discuss trends within the online commerce world, best practices, key learnings and tips for artists, artisans, and creative entrepreneurs who are interested in starting, promoting and growing their own businesses.  Included within the session will be information how to start your own Etsy shop, and a demonstration by Avery that illustrates how their organization and merchandising tools can help put small businesses on the road to success.  Session attendees will receive a gift bag with products from Avery.

4:00 – 4:30PM – Martha Stewart Book Signing of American Food
Martha will sign copies of her best-selling book American Food (Clarkson-Potter) publishing May 2012; a collection of favorite recipes from five regions of the US that are enjoyed nationwide.  Books will be available for purchase in the American Made café area of Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall.
4:30 – 5PM – Lucinda Scala Quinn Book Signing of Mad Hungry
In Mad Hungry, Scala Quinn shares winning strategies for how to sate the seemingly insatiable, bring back the family meal with easy, simple recipes. Along with her techniques that help make homemade meals second nature, nourishing both diner and cook, Scala Quinn offers empowering advice on how to feed one's family's spirits as well as fill their bellies.
5:30-6:30PM   - What Is American Food?
Corby Kummer, author and contributor to The Atlantic, hosts a panel discussion featuring leading chefs, food critics, and authors debating and redefining the changing American food culture: what American cuisine has come to mean, current topics within the foodie zeitgeist (farm to table, locavorism, gluten-free, molecular gastronomy, food trucks, the slow food movement, etc.), and what role our culture plays in how we appreciate, savor, and create food. Participants include: American Made Honoree, Mateo Kehler from Jasper Hill Farms, Dan Barber, Executive Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill; Bill Taibe, Chef/Owner of LeFarm and The Welk restaurants; and Tom Philpott, Mother Jones contributor. Following the discussion, attendees are invited to stay for a tasting, featuring a variety of wines, beer, and cheeses, including selections from Jasper Hill Farms.

“American Made” honorees and Martha Stewart Living experts such as Martha Stewart Living’s Editor in Chief Pilar Guzman, Marcie McGoldrick, Stephen Orr, Jennifer Aaronson, and Gael Towney, will join Martha Stewart throughout Thursday, October 18th for the last day of programming for her “American Made” event, a multimedia celebration of artists, artisans and entrepreneurs from the worlds of food, fashion, design, community, crafts and technology.

8:30-9:30 AM - Crafting Master Class: Mold-Making and Casting
Master class featuring American Made Craft Honorees, Alisa Toninato of FeLion Studios and Chris Lyon and Brett Binford of Mudshark Studios, and Martha Stewart Living’s own Marcie McGoldrick show the basics of the mold-making and casting processes. Part demonstration, part workshop, students will learn how to make food-safe silicone molds, and get tips and tricks for using the finished molds to create a variety of products – from candles to madeleine cookies to chocolate.
10:00-11:00 AM - Gardening Master Class: Kitchen Composting
Erika Allen, American Made Community Honoree, and Martha Stewart Living’s own, Stephen Orr, will teach a master class focusing on composting in the kitchen. Students will learn how to turn trash and scraps into supercharged garden soil for backyard vegetable and flower beds and containers; best of all it's free and organic.  Participants will receive tips on getting started, along with their own countertop composting pail.
11:00- 11:30 AM – Five Things Everyone Should Know with Martha Stewart
From how to safely remove thorns from a rose, to how to peel garlic, Martha will demonstrate five easy, yet showstopping signature skills that everyone should have in their arsenal.
11:30-12:30 PM - Food Master Class: Gluten-Free Baking               
Lena Kwak, American Made Food Honoree, and Martha Stewart Living’s Jennifer Aaronson, will teach a master class on gluten-free pizza making.  Participants will get the first taste of an innovative product that has yet to be released to the public, and learn secret techniques for making delicious gluten-free pizzas and toppings.  A Q & A with our special guest chef will follow the hands-on demonstration and attendees will receive a preview sample of the product and recipes to continue their gluten-free baking at home.
1:00-2:00 PM - Gardening Master Class:  Urban Gardening
Flora Grubb, American Made Gardening Honoree, and Martha Stewart Living’s own, Stephen Orr, will share tricks and tips for the city gardener.  Participants will discover your own green thumb with the latest space-saving techniques and trends.  Attendees will pick one project and will create their own piece, with inspiration and guidance from the hosts along the way and each participant will leave with an aerium to start their urban garden.
3:00-4:00 PM  - Driven by Design: Aesthetic as a Guiding Principle         
Gael Towey hosts a panel that explores how businesses in various disciplines (from technology to hospitality to handcrafted furniture) utilize design as a core value, from development of their brand statement to execution and presentation of the end product. Select American Made Honorees from the fields of design and technology will share their experiences, followed by a panel discussion with Martha Stewart and Q&A session with the audience.
4:00- 5:00 PM – Emeril Lagasse Book Signing – Emeril’s Kicked –Up Sandwiches: Stacked with Flavor
Renowned chef, restaurateur and author Emeril Lagasse will appear in the American Café to sign his just-published book, "Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches:  Stacked with Flavor" published by Harper Collins. 
Click for additional information and to purchase the book.

4:30-5:30 PM - What's Next?   
Martha Stewart Living Editor-in-Chief, Pilar Guzman, hosts a roundtable of top lifestyle bloggers and commentators for a panel discussion.  As we look forward to American Made 2013, hear from experts in the fields of design, food, crafting, and technology on the trends they'll be following.  Special guest bloggers include Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy, Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom, Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This, and Stacy Morrison of BlogHer.

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