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Making of a Maven: A Tasty Website On Its 10th Anniversary



Alyssa Brantley, the founder of EverydayMaven.com
Alyssa Brantley, the founder of EverydayMaven.com

Can you be both an online entrepreneur and a pandemic mom? You bet! In Seattle, Alyssa Brantley, the mother of two sons, ages 6 and 11, is giving Martha Stewart a run for her money. Brantley’s popular website Everydaymaven.com has hundreds of recipes, made with whole food and real food ingredients. Flavor-packed and easy-to-make, Brantley’s recipes are sorted into convenient clickable categories so that readers can quickly find what they are looking for, whether it’s a special diet, or a special occasion. The Insider recently spoke with Brantley, who shared a few secrets about how she has built a successful brand and dealt with the pandemic challenge of working remotely from home with two energetic boys.


The Insider:

Please tell us a little about where you’re from and how you ended up in Seattle.


Alyssa Brantley:

I’m from Philadelphia and grew up in a cooking family. My mom trained as a French chef when I was about seven and taught my brother and me to appreciate food and cooking.


After the birth of our first son, my husband and I wanted a different, more outdoor lifestyle and came to Seattle for a job at Amazon for him.




The Insider:

Before that, did you go to school on the East Coast?


Alyssa Brantley:

I went to college at NYU and lived in Manhattan, but returned to Philly for grad school at Drexel.


The Insider:

What did you study in school?


Alyssa Brantley:

Broadcast journalism at NYU and commercial design at Drexel.


The Insider:

How did you happen to start Everyday Maven?


Alyssa Brantley:

After my first son was born, I went to Weight Watchers to lose the baby weight. I was turned off by the “diet” recipes and started creating my own and sharing them with people. Everyday Maven became the central place for me to organize and share those recipes.


The Insider:

What year did you start it?


Alyssa Brantley:

Late in 2011.


The Insider:

10th anniversary this year!


Alyssa Brantley:

It was a hobby at first, as I learned what it takes to build a website and manage it. I didn’t really start to make money from it until 2014 or 2015.


The Insider:

How did you learn the ropes?


Alyssa Brantley:

From other food bloggers, conferences, seminars, books…honestly, anything I could get my hands on.


The Insider:

What was your first foray into the business side?


Alyssa Brantley:

Putting ads on my site.


The Insider:

And how did you start to make money?


Alyssa Brantley:

Partnering with brands to create content


The Insider:

Has your mission changed since the beginning?


Alyssa Brantley:

Yes. I moved away from the Weight Watchers information and began focusing on whole food recipes and more seasonal ingredients


The Insider:

I see that your philosophy is “Whole Food. Half the Time”. Did that come out of developments in your family’s life?


Alyssa Brantley:

I’ve always felt strongly that delicious and healthy food doesn’t need to be overly complicated or take all day to make. I want my readers to know that my recipes are accessible


The Insider:

Naturally, because we’re a pandemic publication, we’re interested in what changes you’ve seen in reader interest during the pandemic.


Alyssa Brantley:

Yes! So many! At first everyone was home and cooking for fun. Then the shortages began and a pattern of popular recipes would follow. There was obviously a huge uptick in sourdough bread baking and baking in general.


For my site, I saw that readers were looking for new ways to use canned foods or shelf-stable foods. Beans, rice, pasta, canned fish.


The Insider:

We have a section in The Insider called “Recipes for Disaster,” where people write about what they are cooking and why. We also saw a big bump in stories about baking. Why do you think so many people have gone in that direction during the pandemic?


Alyssa Brantley:

I think it’s comforting. Also, baking can be time-consuming. With so many people at home, they could invest the time



The Insider:

I bet you’re a great cook. Don’t be modest!


Alyssa Brantley:

Thanks! I really love experimenting with flavor.

The Insider:

What kind of dishes are your personal favorites?


Alyssa Brantley:

I LOVE savory food! I rarely eat sweets or desserts. My favorites are the cuisines that are loaded with herbs and spices: Indian, Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Korean, etc.


The Insider:

Do you entertain a lot? Has that been curtailed by the pandemic?


Alyssa Brantley:

Yes and yes. We love to entertain! We haven’t entertained anyone inside of our home since February of 2020..


We did host some friends outside over the past year to for a bonfire and takeout, but no shared food. Huge shift.

The Insider:

Tell me more about your family’s pandemic lifestyle.


Alyssa Brantley:

We have added a bunch of outdoor toys and activities for the kids. A trampoline, basketball hoop, foldable sports nets, inflatable pool, etc. so that we can keep them occupied here at home.

The Insider:

Your sons are 6 and 11?


Alyssa Brantley:

Yes they are. We paired up with one family and “bubbled” together all summer last year so we socialized with them outdoors. Lots more TV shows than we used to watch. More reading and playing games.


The Insider:

Are your kids going to school in person or remotely?


Alyssa Brantley:

Both. It was mostly remote after March 2020 and then hybrid. They are now on campus for the last month of school.


The Insider:

I would imagine that you have been working remotely at home, right? What is that like with two energetic young boys?


Alyssa Brantley:

Very, very difficult. It’s been a challenge to stay focused and creative. I definitely feel like I’ve had to let go of a lot of my personal goals to be present and available to them.


The Insider:

Do you have any advice for parents working remotely at home? Have you learned any useful techniques for getting your work done and paying attention to your kids?


Alyssa Brantley:

Set a schedule and rewards. My husband and I created time blocks for our kids. They have very limited screen time so we built in some screen time rewards at the end of the day if they met their time blocks. Examples of time blocks were exercise, household chores, music practice, reading, playing together, playing solo, being creative.


The Insider:

So it’s a bit like having classes in school?


Alyssa Brantley:

Sort of. Just structure to the day, when they weren’t in school over the summer.


The Insider:

If they start offering kids under 12 vaccines, will you let them take it?


Alyssa Brantley:

We will want to see longer term data before we decide. I’m not comfortable with my children being part of a medical experiment.


It’s very difficult. I logically see the value in it, but rationally feel like we need longer time data to understand the true impact on children.


The Insider:

Last question--did you ever think of opening a restaurant or a catering business?


Alyssa Brantley:

Actually, I used to own a catering company! When I was in grad school in Philly.


The Insider:

It would be logical.


Alyssa Brantley:

I have thought about opening a restaurant or a line of food products


The Insider:

We’ll be first in line! Many thanks.

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