Wall-to-wall Martha Stewart
Omnimedia, indeed. A better name for Martha Stewart's company might be "Omnipresent" or "Universal." At age 66, Stewart is ratcheting up her public profile and expanding the reach of her company into the everyday lives of 21st-century Americans. ...
Omnimedia, indeed. A better name for Martha Stewart's company might be "Omnipresent" or "Universal."
At age 66, Stewart is ratcheting up her public profile and expanding the reach of her company into the everyday lives of 21st-century Americans.
Her daily TV show, "Martha," has started a new season. In August and September, her face graced the covers of Wired, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Holiday.
The flurry of publicity coincides with the recent debut of the Martha Stewart Collection for Macy's -- the largest brand launch in company history. That 2,008-item line is part of a blitz of new home-related products designed by Stewart.
In June, New York-based lighting giant Murray Feiss introduced Martha Stewart Lighting, a collection of table and floor lamps. Hard-wired fixtures and chandeliers will soon follow.
In May, Michaels launched a new line of Martha Stewart Crafts.
In April, Lowe's launched Martha Stewart Colors, a line of 350 paint hues.
A year and a half ago, national homebuilder KB Homes launched a line of Martha Stewart Homes that incorporate design elements from Stewart's own houses.
Coming next year: groceries. Costco has announced a line of fresh, refrigerated and frozen food that will be co-branded with Kirkland and Martha Stewart on the labels.
Consumer trend forecaster Susan Yashinsky of Sphere Trending, based in Waterford, Mich., says Martha Stewart is an example of how Americans' attitudes about celebrity are shifting.
"We're still celebrity-obsessed, but what we're seeing is a move toward more authentic celebrities, not the Paris Hiltons who haven't done anything," Yashinsky said. "Martha does do all this. She's been a cook and a gardener and a crafter for her whole life. We think she is very authentic and that is why she is successful."
To companies she partners with, Stewart offers more than just household-name status.
"Designing quality into the product is very much a Martha Stewart thing. It can't just look good, it has to work well," said Andrea Greene, vice president of creative development for Murray Feiss.
Martha's signature style and color palette also give companies an opportunity to attract new customers.
"We consider her the softer side of Murray Feiss. She brings a feminine touch, but a strong one. Nothing girlie-girlie," Greene said. "Her celadon greens and aquas -- we never had that before. She brought those colors."