Domestic Goddess

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Crafting a Lifestyle Empire with Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart (Photos courtesy of Magrino PR)

Her name is synonymous with baking, home décor, DIY and weddings. She is the queen of all things lifestyle. She is my idol. She is Martha Stewart.

Whenever I plan weddings, craft, bake or decorate my home, more often than not, someone calls me Martha Stewart. It is a badge of honor that I wear proudly, as the wonder woman herself is a true icon to so many people around the world.

“When I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher, which I basically am,” said Stewart, who grew up learning how to cook and sew from her mother. “I had an inherent interest in those things and a curiosity for it, so all of that really led me in that direction.”

The retail executive businesswoman, writer, television personality, former model and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (1997), gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, merchandising, and e-commerce. Stewart credits her time as a model and on Wall Street (she began a second career as a stockbroker in the late 1960s) to be instrumental in her later successes.

“It taught me a lot of about advertising, business, how a good business is run and performing in front of the camera, which has been invaluable. All of that helped with the actual formation of a company,” she noted.

The Queen of QVC: Martha Stewart in a piece from her clothing collection.

As the queen of baking, crafts, home décor, DIY and weddings, when one marvels at Stewart’s massive empire and the “monopoly” she has over the lifestyle industry, it’s no surprise given the type of person she is.

“I know how I got here: hard work. And a really interesting, creative group of people with me,” said Stewart. “It’s a lot of creativity, a lot of learning and doing and a lot of do it yourself. That’s how it really all happened.”

In 1990, Stewart started Martha Stewart Living magazine, when she realized that a how-to magazine devoted to the subject of living could be a big success.

“When it was emulated and copied and followed by a whole lot of other like-minded people, then I knew that I was onto something good,” she said of the magazine, just one small sector of her lifestyle empire.

So what inspires Martha Stewart? Sharing that she mainly gains inspiration from her travels—and she travels quite a lot—Stewart said that she looks around and tries to learn something new everyday.

“That’s one of my mottos and that’s basically where I get my ideas from,” said Stewart. “If I go to Japan, I’m sure to come back with a fabric design with simple elegant solutions to problems. If I go to Italy, I come back with an amazing pasta recipe. I always come back with interesting ideas.”

Entirely of Polish heritage, Stewart’s favorite dish from her native land is her mother’s pierogi, stating that “hers were the best of the best.”

“Wherever we go, if there are pierogis for sale we stop,” said Stewart recalling a recent trip to Chicago where she always makes sure to stop at Kasia’s Deli, created by a woman who started an entire business selling all kinds of pierogis.

In the kitchen for the holidays—she recently hosted 42 people for Thanksgiving—Stewart’s holiday tradition is baking her decorated sugar cookies in different Christmas shapes from stars and trees to Santa and reindeer. She has also been busy decking out her entire farm, inside and out ,with the twinkle and sparkle of the holiday season.

“We do a lot of simple outdoor lighting. I have big shooting stars that go on the eaves of all the outdoor buildings (there are several houses on the property) and inside my house, I have 12 Christmas trees,” said Stewart, who has two trees in each room of her house. “It’s a lot of fun and every year it’s a different theme with different decorations that comes from me looking around trying to put together themes that are different than usual or evocative of something or other that’s what we do. I just bought a whole bag of Christmas lights, those little tiny mini lights in the shape of starbursts that I’ll be hanging from all my chandeliers.”

Speaking of stars, her co-host of Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party on VH1, Snoop Dogg, just received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inundated with messages of congratulations from Stewart, who is truly enjoying her partnership with the rapper and television star.

“It’s going great! We just signed up for our third season and start filming in February,” she said of her show with Snoop Dogg. “We’re both looking forward to it. It’s been a fun collaboration and I think it can go on for quite a long time if we find the time to do it. Both of us are busy but we really love doing the show.”

Stewart also shared her love for Long Island, stating that “it’s so beautiful,” and “between the north and south forks, there’s so much to do there and that’s what I like about it.”

Just in time for the holidays, Stewart’s collaborations with several brand retailers will make for great gifts. Her QVC collection (www.qvc.com/fashion/martha-stewart), which includes her apparel, gardening tools, gourmet food, beauty products, pet line and more, features her new “Classic Basics” collection, which she describes as “lovely clothes you can wear any time of day or night and still feel extremely comfortable and well-dressed at a very good price.”

Stewart has also partnered with BloomsyBox, a flower subscription company that recently launched its rose subscription available on www.marthastewartflowers.com. Subscriptions will start at $49.99/month and will be available three sizes: small (approximately 12 roses), medium (18 roses) and large (24 roses). There will be options to purchase different plans—month to month, three months, six months and 12 months.

As if she wasn’t busy enough, Stewart is also the collaborator and brand ambassador for Aerosoles, having launched a line of fashionable and functional footwear, starting with a collection of equestrian-inspired rain boots. Currently available on www.aerosoles.com/martha.

To learn more about Martha Stewart, visit www.marthastewart.com. Channel your inner Martha Stewart this holiday season and whip up a batch of her famous sugar cookies.

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Jennifer Fauci is the managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.

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