Martha Stewart is a successful American business entrepreneur, magazine publisher and a media personality. Her epitome of gracious living had people believe that she led a lavish lifestyle in her childhood however the truth is quite different.
Martha was born on 3rd August 1941 in Jersey City, New Jersey, a place more known for its industrial structure rather than its urban appeal. She belonged to a middle class family; her father was a pharmaceutical salesperson and her mother was a school teacher. Martha started learning ways of the home from a very young age. Her family taught her gardening, sewing, cooking and baking from the age of three. Martha was a good child with excellent academic record and exceptional learning skills.
After winning a scholarship she went to Bernard College in New York. She did some part time modeling to pay for her living expenses. Martha tied the knot with Andrew Stewart in 1961, leaving college for some time. However she returned and graduated with a double major in architectural history and history. She did not give up modeling till 1965 and continued to appear in both print media and television adverts.
Martha being a very ambitious person did not want to end up a simple housewife. In 1967 she tried her luck in a new career as a stockbroker. She continued till the recession began in 1973. Three years later she started on the line of catering while managing a food store in the Market Basket (Westport). The business that had begun in the basement of her home very soon flourished to a million dollar enterprise.
Her flair for interior decoration and designing became obvious when she and her husband renovated an 1805 farmhouse in Westport, Connecticut. In 1977 Martha met Alan Mirken, head of Crown Publishing Group, who was so impressed by her that he offered her to create a cook book. Martha was quite interested in the idea and her first book ‘Entertaining’, that was written by a ghost writer, Elizabeth Hawkes, came out in December 1982. The book was an instant success leading to more of Martha’s books such as ‘Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook (1983), Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres (1984), Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts (1985), Weddings (1987), The Wedding Planner (1988), Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus (1988), and Martha Stewart’s Christmas (1989). She also penned many newspaper columns and articles on homemaking.
Her magazine ‘Martha Stewart Living’ was released in 1990. By 2002, the magazine circulation had reached two million for every issue. In 1993 she also started to host a half hour program on her magazine that soon turned to a full hour daily show. Martha also began to contribute frequently to CBS’s ‘The Early Show’. New York Magazine named her ‘the definitive American woman of our time’ in 1995.
Martha initiated a company named ‘Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’ of which she was the president, chairwoman and chief executive officer. Martha’s company went on the stock exchange at 18 dollars per share to begin with and increased to 38 dollars at the end of the trading, turning her into a billionaire on paper.
Martha suffered a setback in her career because of the ImClone insider trading affair. However she returned with her ‘comeback campaign’ in 2005. Martha has shown good humor and tolerance despite a lot of criticism. The way she regained her strength and rebuilt her business empire shows her determination and passion for her work.