Monthly Archives: December 2012

Martha Stewart Fine Furniture Launch is On Hold

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Don’t be looking for the Martha Stewart Fine Furniture website to launch anytime soon. The entire MSFF project is on hold for now, I’ve learned. It’s not clear if the delay is related to the recent restructuring at MSLO, the departure of CEO Lisa Gersh, or to another issue. I’ll publish additional details as they become available. FOMs: Dagnabbit, right? I so wanted to see Martha’s eye for quality design extended into the furniture realm, didn’t you? Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer. 

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MSLO CEO Lisa Gersh is Stepping Down (Already)

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After only 5 months in the CEO position at MSLO, Lisa Gersh is stepping down. Gersh joined the company in June 2011 as president and COO but was named CEO in July. Before joining Martha Stewart Living, Gersh co-founded Oxygen Media LLC where she was president and COO from 1998 until 2007 when it was acquired by NBC Universal.

Two things:

1. Gersh’s television background doesn’t really fit with MSLO since Martha’s cable TV show was cancelled by Hallmark. Now, Martha’s only regular television presence is on PBS, where she hosts “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”. Of course, being a commercial-free channel doesn’t exactly make PBS the best place to promote Martha’s own products and those of her sponsors.

2. Word on the street is that there was tension between Gersh, an experienced media executive, and Martha herself. Uh-oh.

Wall Street was not happy with the news of Gersh’s departure: Shares of MSLO fell as much as 9.7% in early trading after the news surfaced.

FOMs: Whew! With all the changes that occurred in 2013, MSLO is positioned to have a stellar 2013. There are lots of new projects on their way: a new vegetarian EDF cookbook in January, resolution of the Macy’s lawsuit in January, the new store-within-a-store at J.C. Penney in March, Martha’s “Living the Good Long Life” book in May. Full speed ahead!

From Bloomberg.com:

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO), the company founded by home-decor guru Martha Stewart, said Chief Executive Officer Lisa Gersh will step down, part of an effort to bolster its merchandising business.

After sluggish advertising sales in its media business contributed to four straight years of losses and declining revenue, Martha Stewart Living is focusing more on selling merchandise through retailers. The company entered an agreement in late 2011 with J.C. Penney Co., a deal that will start boosting revenue by early 2013, according to the statement.

“We are now increasing our capabilities in merchandising and plan to take full advantage of that opportunity for the benefit of our shareholders,” Stewart, who serves as non- executive chairman, said in the statement.

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“Entertaining” Published 30 Years Ago Today!

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Thirty years ago today, in 1982, the world was introduced to Martha Stewart when her first book, Entertaining, was published. At the time, Martha was a homemaker, a working mother, and a successful caterer in Westport, Connecticut. After the book was published, things snowballed and a string of books followed, including 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), and others. By 1989, Time magazine had dubbed Martha the “guru of good taste”, and she’s been going strong since–learning, teaching, and inspiring all of us to work hard and do good things for ourselves and for others. Happy Birthday, Entertaining–and thanks, Martha!

Here’s how it all went down, according to Wikipedia:

Andrew [Martha’s first and only husband, whom she divorced in 1987] and Martha Stewart moved to Westport, Connecticut. They purchased and undertook a restoration of the 1805 farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road that would later become the model for the TV studio of Martha Stewart Living. During the project, Stewart’s panache for restoring and decorating became apparent. In 1976, Stewart started a catering business in her basement with a friend from her modeling days, Norma Collier. Stewart soon bought [Norma’s] portion of the business. Stewart was also hired as the manager of a gourmet food store, the Market Basket.

Andrew had become the president of prominent New York City publisher, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. In 1977, he was responsible for releasing the English-language edition of The Secret Book of Gnomes series, by Dutch authors Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet, which quickly became a blockbuster success and was on The New York Times Best Seller list. He contracted Stewart’s company to cater the book release party, where Stewart was introduced to Alan Mirken, head of Crown Publishing Group.

Mirken was impressed by Stewart’s talent and later contacted her to develop a cookbook, featuring recipes and photos from the parties that Stewart hosted. The result was her first book, Entertaining (December 13, 1982), ghostwrittenby Elizabeth Hawes.

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Martha Falls Ill from Holiday Turkeys!

Haute Living And Roger Dubuis Dinner Hosted By Daphne Guinness

 

I read recently that Martha had to cancel a public appearance because she had the flu. I found this odd, as Martha confesses that she never gets sick. “I don’t have time to be sick,” was her true-to-form response. Now, word comes that Martha did not have the flu at all–she was actually sick from salmonella, a form of food poisoning! Martha surmises that she came down with the illness after handling many raw turkeys in segments taped around the Thanksgiving holiday. FOMs: If anyone is tough enough to beat salmonella, it’s Martha, right? Glad you’re feeling better, Martha!

From Huffington Post (as is the above photo):

Martha Stewart was confined to her bed for several days last month because of salmonella infection, the New York Post‘s Page Six reported. “I never get sick, but I came down with salmonella. I think I caught it because I was handling so many turkeys around Thanksgiving,” Stewart told Page Six. “I was on the ‘Today’ show, I did a number of other [Thanksgiving] appearances. It really hit me hard and I was in bed for days. It was terrible.”

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