(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #96, December 2021. Written by Rita Farro.)
When Martha Pullen was in the 5th grade, a company came to her school to talk about selling magazines. Martha loved reading magazines! She sat up in her seat and listened carefully to what the man was proposing. By the time he said, One of you sitting in this auditorium today will be the top salesman for the whole school, I wonder who it will be? Martha wanted to jump up and shout, It’s going to be me! She raced home that day and told her mother to call their family and neighbors to let them know Martha would be visiting soon and they should not buy magazines from anybody else! That day, 10-year old Martha strapped on her roller skates and started to visit every house in her neighborhood. Young Martha WAS the top salesman for two years in a row. Nobody could know that her early success with selling magazines would plant the seed that would eventually blossom into a sewing business empire. The enthusiasm Martha had for selling magazines is just one of the lessons she writes about in her book, G.R.A.C.E. Keys to Entrepreneurship (God, Resilience, Action, Creativity, Enthusiasm). When she was 14 years old, Martha started a dance school. By the time she was a senior in high school, she had 100+ students. Every dollar she earned was put in a local bank for her college fund. That money paid for the first two years of her college education. In her book, she writes, The last four letters of the word enthusiasm, i-a-s-m, stand for ’I Am Sold Myself’. And I am absolutely enthusiastic about sewing. I love it. I get excited about it. If someone with just a little interest in sewing asks me about it, I can easily sell them on the joy of it, the sisterhood of the people involved, the passion, the history. I can sell you on the benefits of sewing because I am sold myself. Anybody who’s ever worked with Martha Pullen or attended one of her classes can attest to her enthusiasm. It’s beyond an attitude, it’s more like a core value that informs her life. Her genuine smile and interest in people propelled the Martha Pullen Company from a one-woman store-front to a sewing industry corporation doing $6.5 million in annual sales. Martha is quick to credit her business success to her faith in God and the support of her late husband, Joe Pullen. But it’s pretty clear she was the one with boots on the ground, coming up with ideas and plans, and then doing the work. And it was an incredible amount of work. If you look up the word indefatigable in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Martha Pullen. CLICK HERE to read the full article at issuu.com.