You'll have to excuse us for not getting to New York magazine's enormous Martha Stewart feature until now—it's not only impossibly long, but we also wanted to wait until her 70th birthday (which is, incidentally, today) to do anything with it. This has been a busy year for the decorating doyenne; she's appeared in cartoon not once but twice, she's got a new gig as a comic-book character as well, and she won two Emmys. Still, the Martha Stewart world-domination machine (properly known as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) has been reporting losses despite strong numbers in the Martha-branded home-furnishings arena.
The New York piece explores The Lady Stewart's (and MSLO's) failures and successes since March 7, 2005—her first day back at work from her five-month stint in jail. We combed through all 5,200-plus words and pulled out the most interesting bits here:
· While incarcerated as inmate No. 55170-054, Martha "taught yoga, picked wild dandelion greens, and learned to appreciate the simple virtues of vending-machine chicken wings."
· She brought a "nubby, scallop-edged poncho crocheted by a fellow inmate" to her first day back at the white-washed MSLO offices.
· Martha's prison sentence was timed so she'd be able to get back to her Bedford, N.Y., estate for the spring planting.
· While in jail, her personal net worth more than tripled, exceeding $1B.
· There was once a licensing deal with Safeway in the works, but they pulled out when Martha got into legal trouble.
· Once released from jail, Martha allowed microwaves into the pages of Martha Stewart Living and other magazines.
· Her French bulldog, Francesca, is named after a prison friend.
· Martha once pitched a TV show about "rehabilitating errant women while they rehabilitated a house; a fixer-upper was bought in Norwalk." It never happened.
· Martha "insisted on personally approving every one" of the 3,000 items licensed through Macy's. According to her head of merchandising, at one meeting "Martha walked in with a pot, slammed it on the table, and goes, 'This is crap. I don’t want my name on it.'"
· in 2005, the only division of MSLO that was profitable was merchandising—89 percent of profits came from the licensing deal with Kmart.
· Other brands that MSLO has discussed acquiring but never did: the Knot, Cynthia Rowley, and Jonathan Adler.
· Firsthand account of working on the magazine floors: “Martha would say, ‘Ugh, why are there bananas there? I hate bananas,’?” says someone who edited food stories. “There’s a list of things she loathes.” At times, the offices resembled a shelter for battered crafters. “That women’s bathroom,” the editor adds, “there are women in there crying literally all day long.”
· At one Martha Stewart Living Thanksgiving shoot, produced and photographed at Martha's Bedford house, a kid's hair caught on fire and had to go to the hospital.
· Martha's daughter, Alexis, made $400K last year for the TV show Whatever, Martha!
· Martha has considered launching Grace, a magazine targeted to older readers.
· Finally, she's got 2.3M Twitter followers.
· The Comeback That Wasn't [NYMag]
· Martha Stewart Swoops in and Helps the Simpsons Decorate [Curbed National]
· Yes, This Does Exist: a 10-Year-Old Animated Martha Stewart [Curbed National]
· Martha Stewart to Debut in Comic Book Persona Next Month [Curbed National]
· Martha Wins Two Emmys! [Curbed National]
· Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Reports Losses [Curbed National]
· MSLO's Q2 Report [Curbed National]