In her own words

The Kansas City Star reached Martha Stewart at her home in Maine recently, where she answered questions by phone during a break in a photo shoot for her magazine.

The Kansas City Star reached Martha Stewart at her home in Maine recently, where she answered questions by phone during a break in a photo shoot for her magazine.

STAR: You and your products are everywhere lately. Your new collection of floor and table lamps for Murray Feiss attracted a lot of attention at the Las Vegas Summer Market ...

MARTHA: "I love the lamps! Wait till you see the hardwires -- we have sconces and ceiling fixtures coming. They'll be out in the spring.

STAR: And the Macy's line is the largest new brand introduction in company history.

MARTHA: I'm very excited about the Macy's line. We have 2,008 SKUs (Stock Keeping Units, or items) for Macy's, and many more to come next spring. Many of the products are heirloom quality. Things our readers and viewers see on the program and in the magazine, we want them to be able to have them for their own homes.


STAR: Rugs, paint, knives, floral arrangements -- where did you get the idea to go into so many different product sectors?

MARTHA: It isn't so farfetched when you think of the name of the magazine and the company: Living. Everything we enjoy about the home and the garden and entertaining is incorporated into our product line. Say we're shooting a piece for the magazine about how to make a bed, next we create everything we want for it.

STAR: What considerations do you have before putting your name on a product?

MARTHA: We have several partners: Bernhardt for furniture, Murray Feiss for lighting, Flor for flooring, Macy's for the midprice department store range and Kmart at the mass. It's very hard when you have that many partners, that reach, and you test every product. Everything from washing the linens and towels -- I've done that for Kmart, too. I have a couple of houses with real laundry rooms; we use things and I get reports from the housekeeper about what she likes and doesn't like.

STAR: Now people can even buy a Martha Stewart Home by KB Homes.

MARTHA: ... We are in six states and hopefully we'll be in a lot more soon. We have products for every room in the house and now we have the houses. The houses have real marble and beautiful cabinets that go all the way to the ceilings so there's no wasted space and no dust catchers up there. The baths are really nice as well. We're also working on a line of cabinets for the kitchen, but we don't have a retailer yet.

STAR: What's next? Might there be a Martha Stewart car or MP3 player?

MARTHA: Boy, I would love to have a car! Tell any of the manufacturers I would love to design a car for the busy woman. I lug around my dogs all day, and flowers. I'm even bringing a donkey to the set for the first TV show of the new season.


STAR: Hosting a daily television show takes a ton of time. What excites you most about that medium?

MARTHA: For our whole company the TV show is a very important part of our media plan. It really draws attention to all other aspects of our company. That live audience that watches and learns -- those are our best customers. To be able to see how something is done is so much better than reading about it. I think I am a good teacher, not preachy, and that is the most important thing.

STAR: What advice do you give women trying to balance the demands of career and home, as far as what to make time for and what to let go of?

MARTHA: Well, you choose. Choose what you like, what makes you feel good and allocate the other kinds of jobs. I don't mind laundry, but I don't like the ironing. If you don't like cleaning the kitchen, get help. But don't ever leave messes. It makes life so much more difficult later on.

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