The Fantastic Life

Learning from Martha Stewart

What do successful people have in common? They NEVER stop pushing themselves.  There is no finish line.  Of course, I am trying to learn all the time.  Today’s LIFEies is about Martha Stewart. Yes, THAT Martha Stewart.  Below are some life lessons from the 81-year-old.  Can you believe she reaches 100 million people a month through all her magazines, TV shows, books, and products?  AND she was just in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue…I love seeing people grow AND continue to grow.  

Here are my takeaways: 
–Keep growing.  Always.
–Be curious.  Never stop learning.  It is easier to learn now than any other time. 
–Be yourself.  There is you…and the world needs you.


The Fantastic Life Rule #3:
Build Your Resumes Every Year
 Building your resumes is the same as growing every year. Invest in yourself every year. Don’t be content with an outdated life resume.


Martha Stewart Wants Women to Find Their Power, ‘Step It Up’ & Stop Thinking About Aging

By Katie Abel
June 5, 2023 

It’s not even noon in midtown Manhattan, and Martha Stewart has already put in a full day of work.

After traveling from her Bedford, N.Y., farmhouse into the city for a very early appearance on “Squawk Box,” the indefatigable icon is posing for FN’s cover at PMC Studios. When the video portion of the shoot gets going, Stewart, styled in a striking green Kiton outfit and Skechers slip-in sneakers from her own collection, lets loose. 

Playful and poised, the TV veteran is clearly in her element on this bright mid-May morning. Right on cue, during a segment centered around being the ultimate boss, Stewart takes a sip of green juice — part of her meticulous daily routine.  

“A boss never orders decaf,” she says, in that melodious voice that helped make her a household name. “I always start my day with green juice. It gives me energy, good skin and great hair! Mmm.”

It’s just one of the many life lessons, big and small, that the pioneer imparts during a wide-ranging interview that explores topics from her mother’s enduring influence and sage advice for women founders to the “genius” meringue cake from Cipriani and her favorite Instagram follow, a Chinese cooking account.

Millions of fans have been hanging on Stewart’s recommendations since 1982, when she shot to fame with her first how-to book, “Entertaining.” 

Four decades later, Stewart went viral again last month when she posed seductively in a one-piece white swimsuit for Sports Illustrated — making her the oldest model ever to cover the swimsuit edition. 

It was a much-buzzed-about moment that once again thrust Stewart, a master of reinvention, into the center of the cultural conversation.

“I’m telling women to live the best life they can possibly live. Don’t think about aging, think about living as long as you can. Take the word aging out of it. You’re getting older the minute you’re born,” she said.

The image maker understands that her ability to continually evolve is one of her most powerful attributes. “I was brought up to do what I want to do when I want to do it as well as I can do it,” said the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. “Something I always say is to be curious and keep learning something new every day.”

An expert teacher, Stewart has always taken great pride in showing women how to cook, garden, entertain, organize, renovate their homes and plan their weddings. Now she wants to give them the courage to raise their voices at a critical time in the United States — when abortion rights and other freedoms are under assault.  

“We have to step it up. Women are afraid. They lived through the pandemic. They’ve lived through the #MeToo movement, which made a lot of them uncomfortable. But it also empowered women to speak out,” she said, citing E. Jean Carroll’s recent victory in her sexual abuse and defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump. 

Perseverance and persistence have defined Stewart’s own journey from a teenage model to an octogenarian mogul who is still as fiercely ambitious as she was when she started a catering business out of her kitchen in 1973.

“I haven’t stopped at all,” said Martha Stewart, here in a Kiton ensemble and Skechers sneakers from her own collection.

In the past year alone, the prolific entrepreneur debuted “The World of Martha,” an immersive retail experience on Amazon Stores; launched an engaging podcast; joined forces with Roku for three new TV shows; expanded her CBD business with wellness topicals; struck a major deal with Skechers; opened a restaurant in Las Vegas; and released “Martha’s Lighter Chard,” her second wine collaboration with 19 Crimes.

“I haven’t stopped at all. You should see my calendar. It’s horrific,” she quipped. 

While she appears to seamlessly juggle it all, Stewart is up front about the fact that she couldn’t do it without her loyal team. 

Longtime publicist Susan Magrino, executive director of design Kevin Sharkey, stylist Paolo Nieddu and makeup artist Daisy Toye are all on set today — and Stewart seeks their advice several times during the morning. 

“It’s very important to find the people who will help you get it done,” she said emphatically. 

Omni Stewart

From game-changing retail and licensing partnerships — remember her lucrative Kmart deal back in the ’90s — to a ubiquitous media presence, Stewart pioneered omnichannel marketing long before it became a business mandate. 

Now, in the same way she built her small-screen shows into must-see TV, Stewart has adeptly turned her social media accounts into must follows.   

“The more authentic you are, the better off you are,” she said.

On Instagram, she runs her personal account, @marthastewart48, herself — and her posts somehow feel both accessible and aspirational at the same time. She’s keeping her longtime fans hooked with new recipes, garden photos and flawless tablescapes, while simultaneously racking up Gen Z admirers with “thirst trap” selfies in the pool and photos of her adventures with close pal Snoop Dogg. 

Her how-to videos rack up tons of views, and Stewart said she learns a lot on the platform. 

“There’s this crazy Instagram, @foodiechina888. I watch that every day because I’m learning Chinese cooking from it. And it’s funny. It’s less than a minute and I learn an entire technique,” she said. “I try not to spend too much time on it, because I have other things to do.”  

Even during COVID, Stewart doubled down on developing her business, filming a series of TV shows at her Bedford home. “I continued to work five days a week,” she said. 

Now, as the future-of-work debate rages on across the country, Stewart is on a “rampage” to get people across the country back in offices. 

“You can’t possibly get everything done working three days a week in the office and two days remotely. Look at the success of France with their stupid … you know, off for August, blah blah blah. That’s not a very thriving country. Should America go down the drain because people don’t want to go back to work?” 

Stewart’s own tireless work ethic has helped her build — and rebuild — her namesake business again and again at a time when achieving longevity in fashion is no small feat.   

“Every day she’s challenging me,” said Marquee Brands President Heath Golden, of Stewart’s incredible ambition for her namesake brand.

After launching MSLO in 1997, the former stockbroker took it public two years later. That incredible high was overshadowed by a crippling low a few years later, when Stewart spent five months in prison for lying about a stock sale. 

But the experience only seemed to fuel the founder, who engineered a comeback story for the ages after she was released in 2005. In a matter of months, Stewart was back on TV with a new show, took on hosting duties at “The Apprentice” and wrote two new books, including “The Martha Rules.” 

As her personal brand soared in the years that followed, she helped her company navigate the ups and downs of the stock market and a fast-changing retail climate, eventually selling it to Sequential Brands in 2015. 

The company changed hands again in 2019, when it was acquired by Marquee Brands — and now Stewart and the brand management firm are working together on an aggressive growth strategy. 

“Every day, she’s challenging me,” said Heath Golden, president of Marquee Brands. “She asked me about [artificial intelligence] and what that will mean for her and her brand. She’s spot on to be thinking about that, and she has some really good ideas around it. And she’s motivating me to think about it faster,” he said. 

Golden is also bullish on the potential for Stewart’s collaboration with Skechers, a partnership he believes has serious growth potential. “There’s a ton of momentum behind it,” he said.

Since first teaming up with the footwear powerhouse last year after previously working with Payless and Easy Spirit, among others, Stewart has been one of the company’s most visible faces. Already, the star has fronted multiple campaigns, including not one, but two, attention-grabbing Super Bowl spots. This spring, she bowed her first co-branded collection with the company, which centered around sneakers and sandals. Up next is a fall offering with faux-fur-lined clogs and boots in upscale materials. 

After rupturing her Achilles tendon at the beginning of the pandemic, Stewart said she appreciates the brand’s technology and focus on comfort. “It was a serious, serious tear. And it set me back in shoes. That’s why I love my Skechers. They really are comfortable,” she said. 

Skechers president Michael Greenberg said Stewart’s power is in her ability to speak to people from all walks of life. “She’s tenacity, defined. She’s lived through challenges, staying focused through it all. She also has a great laugh and incredible sense of humor. Her name and brand are synonymous with class and creativity,” Greenberg said. 

Fashion Rules

As the footwear partnership continues to evolve, Stewart said she’s energized by other emerging categories across her billion-dollar brand. One segment now top of mind for the entrepreneur? Swim. “[After the SI cover], I got a note from [TJX executive chairman] Carol Meyrowitz. She said, ‘We can’t wait to get your swimsuits in our stores.’”

Stewart’s unrelenting focus on personally connecting with her business partners and consumers alike has served her — and the business — well through the years. When she’s the star of the show, people clearly respond. “I’ve done a bang-up business on QVC with my fashion,” she said.

Stewart got a front-row view of the industry at an early age when she walked the runways as a teenage model.

“I’ve always loved well-made clothes. My attic is chock full of rack after rack of clothing,” she admitted. “I have my first Armani suit that I bought when I started my own company, and some beautiful Armani blouses.”

“I’ve always loved well-made clothes,” said Stewart, a former model and stockbroker.

As her public persona grew, Stewart smartly used her style to convey her image as a polished businesswoman — long before the era of stealth wealth. “I’ve always been quietly fashionable in a modest way,” she said, easily recalling what she wore on her earliest book covers.  

“For ‘Entertaining,’ it was a vintage dress, and I think the first five covers of my cookbooks were Laura Ashley. She was still alive then,” Stewart recalled. 

Even before the young woman launched her business, she was sewing her own clothes, like the jacket she crafted from a Chanel pattern while in college in the early ’60s — and recently rediscovered. 

“It’s the most beautiful fabric. I started off sewing from patterns from a little shop on Park Avenue. The woman who owned it would buy them from Chanel and Balenciaga and Lanvin and everyone, and brought them to the States with the fabrics, and then sold them to her clientele,” she remembered. 

Her earliest shoe memories are just as vivid. “I loved Susan Bennis and Warren Edwards. They made amazing alligator pumps,” she said, lamenting that the shoes no longer fit, a side effect from years of yoga. “I can’t wear them anymore. But I can still fit into my Manolos. He’s always been my favorite designer.” 

More recently, she discovered the allure of platforms, a more comfortable alternative than her tried-and-true stilettos. “I like the Clergerie platforms for everyday dress up because I can walk in them,” she said. For a gala in Bedford, she chose a pair of up-to-there Valentino platform boots. “People kind of laughed at me and said, ‘Wow!’ But they are gorgeous and they’re comfortable.”

Stewart’s willingness to push fashion boundaries is another way she’s inspiring women of all ages — and she credits her team with giving her the confidence to stretch outside her comfort zone. 

“I don’t like to go shopping, but Paolo [her stylist] knows what I like. I buy very special clothes.”

The Next Chapter

As she continues her personal evolution, Stewart is pushing herself — and the brand — into exciting new territory.

The globetrotter is working with Marquee to conquer international markets, with major expansion planned in the coming year. Behind the scenes, she’s continuing work on a Netflix documentary with R.J. Cutler. “We’re still finessing the ending of that,” she said. Stewart is also working on “a dream fictional video project” and hinted that her magazine could resurface in print.

Amid such a frenetic schedule, Stewart rarely takes time off, but she’s planning an eco-trip to Greenland this summer. “I love traveling by boat. It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “I have never gone on the same vacation twice. My favorite place in the whole world is where I haven’t been yet.”

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