Category Archives: Products

Martha to Open a Cafe in NYC!

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Martha is venturing into retail again, this time in the form of a cafe! Martha and Co. will be opening a cafe in the same building in which MSLO is headquartered; the landmark Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan’s Chelsea District. Details are scarce at this point, but the search for qualified baristas has already begun.

One detail that was made public during Macy’s lawsuit against Martha is the fact that in the “exclusive” contract with Macy’s, Martha has retained the right to sell Martha Stewart-branded items in stand-alone stores that bear her name. At the time, there was a Martha Stewart store in Japan, that sold Martha items.

Knowing Martha, this cafe will be only a beginning. Since product licensing represents a significant amount of MSLO’s profit-making enterprises, it seems reasonable to expect there will be other Martha Stewart-branded items for sale here. And with America’s love affair with all things Martha continuing, one can be sure the cafe will be a smash success. I mean, who wouldn’t want to share a cup of coffee with Martha herself, right?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-02/martha-stewart-living-opening-first-cafe-in-new-york-city.html

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Now Available: Martha Stewart Coffee!

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Martha has put her seal of approval, and name, on a new line of coffee. The coffee products were developed by Ulivjava, a company cofounded by Martha’s personal trainer, Mary Tedesco. The coffee is infused with vitamins and herbs, and fits in nicely with Martha’s call to us all to live “the good long life”. What do you think, FOMs: Will you be having coffee with Martha?

My opinion:  This product line has a bad name, if you ask me–it’s difficult to know how to pronounce when you read it, and essentially un-Googleable. Also, I see it spelled both “Ulivjava” and “ULIVjava”, so there’s built-in opportunities for inconsistency. My alternate suggestion would have been “Javalive”, which is much easier to pronouce and based on the same two words. Also, I would make Martha’s name bolder on the labels–but I’m terribly biased on that topic. 🙂

From the Daily Coffee News article:

Stewart’s personal trainer for the past 10 years, Mary Tedesco, and “celebrity nutritionist” Kathleen Schoen, who co-founded the Ulivjava brand, say the product was “inspired by Martha Stewart and her commitment to health, wellness and vitality.” As luck would have it, Stewart enjoyed tasting the RTD product so much that she decided to put her name right there on the package and help the owners push Ulivjava through her social media channels and her Martha Stewart Living magazine. “I love everything ULIVjava stands for — health and wellness with your daily coffee,” Stewart said in an announcement this week.

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Martha Stewart Fine Furniture Initiative Has Been Cancelled

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(Thanks to FOM Kevin for inquiring about Martha Stewart Fine Furniture.)

Sad to report disappointing news, but the Martha Stewart Fine Furniture partnership with Miles Talbott has been cancelled, according to a representative for the North Carolina-based furniture manufacturer. According to his statement, it sounds as if the partnership was ended by Miles Talbott. Says he, “Some of the upholstery designs will be absorbed into the Miles Talbott line so please let me know if you’re interested in this possibility.”

FOMS: This is disappointing news. I was looking forward to seeing, and perhaps, owning, furniture that reflected Martha’s exquisite taste in design. Hopefully, the program, or something similar, will be resurrected in the future. 

In the meantime, you can enjoy this YouTube video of Martha discussing the now-ended Martha Stewart Fine Furniture program.

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MarthaPantry is Now Online!

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Be sure to visit the MarthaPantry section on the JC Penney website! Loads of super-cool pantry items–salts, oils, heirloom beans, baking mixes. The selection is much broader than I anticipated! FOMs: Let’s start tasting! If you try a MarthaPantry item, post your comments here and I’ll share with others. Yum!

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Martha vs. Macy’s: Judge Orders Mediation, NY Times Article on Why the Case Matters

Martha in Court

Yesterday, the New York Times had an article on the subject underlying the current court case between Macy’s and MSLO: that it is essentially “a schoolyard fight between two boys — the chief executives of Macy’s and J. C. Penney — over the most popular girl on the playground.”

If you have been following MSLO lately, you would not be blamed for worrying about the current state of the company–the stock price has plummeted and stabilized at the low end, the company is heavily vested in traditional media (which is undergoing much tumult industry-wide) and has suffered layoffs, it has all but lost its television presence, and there is unsettled leadership (former CEO Lisa Gersh stepped down after only five months at the helm). The one fiscal bright spot at the company of late has been its merchandising. Simply, Martha is still seen in the eyes of the public as an arbiter of good taste and high quality, and most importantly, consumers trust her. If Martha says it’s a good thing–you can be sure it’s a good thing.

It is Martha’s reputation for producing good products that the two retail giants–Macy’s and JC Penney’s–are hoping to leverage in their stores. Indeed, embattled JC Penney’s CEO Ron Johnson’s job may depend on his Martha Stewart-anchored plan to resuscitate that company’s housewares department. And, as the Associated Press reported:

“[Macy’s CEO Terry] Lundgren said Macy’s has spent 40 percent of its overall marketing on the Martha Stewart brand and other labels in the home area, even though the home category represents 17 percent of total sales. That’s because even though the home area is typically slow turning, it drives shoppers to the store. “I need the Martha Stewart business to be exclusive,” Lundgren said. “I don’t have a substitute.”

The judge ordered the three companies into mediation on Friday, in an attempt to have them resolve the issues themselves without a court-ordered judgement. So, even as the courtroom drama continues, one thing is for certain: the Martha Stewart brand is still as strong as ever in the eyes of consumers. And that is most definitely a good thing for MSLO.

Check out this very flattering quote from the New York Times article :

It is easy to forget that Ms. Stewart altered the way that people live by decoupling class and taste. Part of the reason that she seems embattled — her media empire is shrinking fast — is that she won her corner of the culture war. When you go into Target or Walmart and see a sage green towel that is soft to the touch, it may not carry her brand, but it reflects her hand. Her tasteful touch — in colors, in cooking, in bedding — is now ubiquitous; she just doesn’t get to cash all the checks anymore.

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Martha vs. Macy’s: Martha Testified Today

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As you probably know, the Martha vs. Macy’s trial has begun. Let’s recap the relevant developments:

– In 2005, MSLO and Macy’s enter into an agreement to sell Martha Stewart branded items in Macy’s stores. The agreement gives Macy’s exclusive rights to sell Martha Stewart branded items in specific categories: bedding, bath, cookware, and dinnerware. Importantly, the agreement also contains language that allows MSLO to sell Martha Stewart branded items outside Macy’s stores, as long as they are sold in stand-alone Martha Stewart stores. (For at the time, there was a single Martha Stewart store in Japan.)

– In 2011, MSLO entered into a partnership with JC Penney to sell Martha-branded items in dedicated spaces inside JC Penney stores, essentially creating a Martha Stewart “store within a store” in JC Penney stores nationwide.

– In 2012, Macy’s sued both MSLO and JC Penney, claiming that the partnership was a breach of Macy’s exclusive right to sell Martha Stewart branded items in the specific product categories. Initially, Macy’s asked the judge to order MSLO to cease any collaborative efforts with JC Penney until after the issue was resolved at trial. However, the judge did not allow Macy’s request.

– Since then, MSLO and JC Penney have forged ahead to create MarthaHome, a “store within a store” offering three collections of products: MarthaPantry (food items), MarthaCelebrations (paper party products), and MarthaWindow (window treatments). It is also known that MSLO designers are working with JC Penney to create the “JC Penney Everyday” collection, which will offer products in those categories to which Macy’s claims to hold exclusive rights. In order to adhere to the MSLO-Macy’s exclusivity agreement, the JC Penney Everyday products will NOT have any Martha Stewart branding on them. (Although there is a connection: “Martha Stewart Everyday” was the name of Martha’s collection sold at Kmart stores from 1997 – 2009. Also, MSLO has for many years had a publication called “Everyday Food”, which also inspired a popular TV cooking show, also called “Everyday Food”.)

Today, Martha appeared in court and testified for four hours. She said that she believed her agreement with JC Penney was structured to be in compliance with the MSLO-Macy’s agreement. She also claimed that Macy’s had breached the contract by not maximizing sales of the Martha Stewart Collection at its stores. Martha claimed that she wanted to open Martha “store within a store” concept in Macy’s, but they were cool to the idea.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

From The Huffington Post:

The biggest opportunities for Martha Stewart Living are in selling products for the home, including bedding, bath and kitchen merchandise. That’s because as the housing recovery gains momentum in the economic recovery, people likely will put more money into their homes.

During her testimony on Tuesday, Stewart said she always wanted to open big shops within Macy’s stores, but the retailer never embraced that concept. Instead, she said the merchandise in Macy’s stores is just “here and there.”

That’s why she said that a proposal from Penney’s Johnson to create shops filled with home merchandise was appealing to her. She called Johnson a “visionary.”

“We hoped this business would be growing,” Stewart said. “It just boggles my mind that we’re here sitting in front of you, judge.”

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Get Ready for MarthaHome!

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Special thanks to FOM Alan for sending this in!

The MarthaHome pre-launch page is live on the JC Penney website! No browsable content yet, but you can sign-up to receive updates by text message or by email. Be among the first in your area to know about special events related to the MarthaHome launch! Looks like MSLO is fairly confident of reaching agreement with Macy’s over that retailer’s lawsuit. MSLO and JC Penney could use some good news–and the launch of this new collection may be it. Can’t wait to explore MarthaHome in a JC Penney’s store!

You can click on “Find a Store” located at the top of the page, next to the search box on the JC Penney homepage, to find the store closest to you.

From the MarthaHome page:

Welcome home…to MarthaHome. A new collection of items designed to simplify your life, while adding color and individuality to the way you live. If you can imagine it, we can help make it a reality.

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Martha Wrap: In a Store Near You!

So excited to find this in the Safeway store near my home: MARTHA WRAP! Martha developed this idea herself: A 2-ply wrap that is foil and parchment. Ingenious, right? There are many ways to use Martha Wrap, and Team Martha has even created a nifty guide that includes ideas and recipes–that you can download here. Of course, I’ve purchased and will post photos of cooking results in an upcoming “Inspired by Martha” posting. If you’ve used Martha Wrap, send me a photo and I’ll post here for others to see. FOMs: Is there anything our beloved Martha cannot do? Answer: NO!

From marthastewart.com:

Martha Stewart now brings her high standards of quality to your grocer’s aisle. First to arrive is Martha Wrap™, aluminum foil and parchment paper in one handy roll. Conceived personally by Martha, this kitchen helper makes roasting, baking, and steaming easy. When you see the Martha Stewart brand, you know it’s a product you can trust.

Find Martha Wrap at these locations:

Safeway

Fresh & Easy

Amazon

via Grocery | MarthaStewart.com.

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