Meet Martha Holcombe Root
Many of our collectors are familiar with
the "All God's Children" story. Many, many more are not. Accordingly, here
is that story. Miss Martha is the speaker.
In 1980 the pastor at my church asked the
congregation to make a faith promise (pledge an offering amount) to help
raise money to repair the leaky roof on our church building. Without a job
and with three children the family funds were tight. After praying and
seeking God's guidance, I felt that God wanted me to pledge $800.00. I had
no idea how I would get this money but since this is what God had impressed
upon me, I knew He would make a way.
this, I created a soft sculpture doll and took it to church. Several people
wanted to buy a pattern to make their own doll. Several days later I was
looking at a craft magazine when the idea came to me to market the patterns
through mail order.
All the ads listed business names so I used
the name my Sunday School kids called me... "Miss Martha". I added the
"Originals" part just to give it a finishing touch. I borrowed $600.00 to
place a 2" x 2" ad in the back of the magazine. I worked 18 hours a day for
the next three months getting my first pattern "Lisa" ready for the printer.
As soon as the magazine was published, my
first trip to the post office was filled with joy and excitement. Wow!
Twenty envelopes were there with each one containing a $4.25 check. I
immediately called my pastor to share the good news. Orders came in
steadily and I was able to pay my faith promise and design more patterns.
The more we gave to God, the more He continued to bless.
What started out as nothing more than a
desire to help repair the church was quickly turning into a booming
business. My education was in the field of mental health and I knew
absolutely nothing about running a business. The Bible is true when it says
God uses the simple things of the world to confound the wise. I wanted
nothing more than to honor Christ with my efforts.
In 1984 we moved into a new building in the
industrial park. We had 33 employees at the time.
That was one of our highs.
A low came
shortly thereafter when the market for doll patterns all but vanished.
Although we didn't have money to make our building payment, my best friend
and company manager, Carolyn Snead, and I refused to give up. We knew God
had started the business and He would let us know when it was time to close.
So, in 1985, with only four employees left,
I started sculpting a line of figurines we christened... All God's
Children. This name was chosen from 1 John 3:1 "See how much the Father
loves us! His love is so great that we are called God's children."
Having no formal art training, I didn't
really know what I was doing but once again God blessed my efforts.
In 1989 we introduced a black
historical series of figurines.
This was done to increase awareness of the unsung heroes and heroines of
America's past who had a positive influence in shaping the history of our
country with their courage, beliefs, and determination.
of the inspiration for my earlier pieces came from childhood memories of
summers my brother Tommy and I spent on my grandmother's farm. I remember
the simple things like going barefoot, riding the old mule, and swimming in
the creek. Even getting covered with chiggers after picking blackberries
and getting scratched with the cotton bolls bring back warm memories because
I was with my grandma.
My goal is for AGC
to send a message to society - evoking feelings that transcend time, race,
and age; that they may somehow convey God's message of love so you will be
reminded that "You are loved. You are a child of God."