As the final project for my business communications class, we were tasked with doing a power point presentation of either a famous person or a successful business. I figured Martha Stewart would take care of two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Stewart is more than a domestic diva; she is a media mogul with a publicly traded company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO). Stewart oversees an empire that includes publishing (magazines and books), broadcasting (TV programs, satellite radio), Internet, and merchandising. She controls about 50% of MSLO's stock and about 90% of voting stock.
A lot of unflattering things have been said about Stewart through the years but here are the basics of how this young girl managed to elevate the domestic arts to a 638 million dollar business.
9-year old Martha
With Norma Collier, a friend from her modeling days, Stewart began a successful catering business in her basement on Turkey Hill in 1976. Although their catering enterprise flourished, their business and personal relationship soured and Stewart bought out Collier’s portion of the business.
Martha in her Turkey Hill kitchen during her catering days
Martha's first book and first best seller, Entertaining
· 1990 Stewart begins a weekly half hour television show
· 1993 debuts Martha Stewart Living magazine to coincide with her show
· 1997 Martha Stewart Everyday begins selling products in Kmart
· 1999 MSLO goes public on the NY Stock Exchange
· 2004 finds Stewart convicted of insider stock trading
· 2005 launches the return of Stewart’s highly publicized comeback and return to television
· 2006 Stewart’s daily show is nominated for six emmys
· 2007 Stewart launches an upscale line of housewares for Macy’s
· 2010 MSLO begins its alignment with Home Depot
Emeril Lagasse and Martha on the Martha Stewart Show
Stewart has shown persistence and good humor over the years in the face of the criticism and satire that are the inevitable with public figures. She showed extreme fortitude with the investigation into insider trading in 2003. She has maintained her innocence of all charges but a jury found her guilty of misleading federal investigators and obstructing an investigation. Stewart appealed the conviction but spent five months in prison and five months under house arrest.
Through hard work and determination, Stewart went about the business of rebuilding her brand to profitability. She did not shy away from the limelight and instead embraced it. Stewart and her company continue to inspire and engage consumers with unique lifestyle content and high-quality products.
Francesca and Sharkey, Martha's French Bulldogs
Say what you will about Martha Stewart but this gutsy girl from Nutley, New Jersey rose from relative obscurity to command a multi media empire. Martha Stewart is an instinctual survivor with a firm grasp on what it takes to be successful in life and in business.