Tag Archives: design

Martha and Macy’s Announce New “Whim” Collection

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Martha and Macy’s appear to have gotten their business relationship back on track, and have just announced the all-new Whim Collection of household items, to be sold exclusively at Macy’s. Based on Martha’s quote below, it sounds as if the new collection has much in common with the items planned for Martha’s store-within-a-store at JC Penney’s stores. Interestingly, the new collection is presented as stand-alone, and branded with the Whim logo (shown above). The collection does look to have brighter colors, and might appeal more to a younger demographic. FOMs: What do you think? Are you ready for the Whim Collection, or do you think Martha Stewart doesn’t need a sub-brand?

From the press release:

“It’s wonderfully fun, fresh and vibrant, easy to live with, and in addition, very affordable,” said MSLO Founder and Chief Creative Officer Martha Stewart. ”I think consumers who want something new and different will discover a lot to love in the Whim collection. Add a bit of whimsy to your rooms!”

If you like, you can read the entire press release.

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MS Living Editor-in-Chief, Pilar Guzman, is Hired Away by Conde Nast

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Word today that Pilar Guzman, the editor-in-chief (EIC) of MSLO’s flagship magazine, “Martha Stewart Living”, has been hired away by Conde Nast, to serve as EIC of that company’s “Conde Nast Traveler” magazine. Guzman was promoted to EIC of “Martha Stewart Living” magazine in early 2011. (You can read the transcript of a conversation between Martha herself and Ms Guzman that appeared on Martha’s blog here.)

Given the changes that have recently taken place at MSLO and specifically, with the magazine–which has essentially shifted its focus away “lifestyle/fine living” to one of “cooking and crafts/instructional”, it is no wonder that we have seen the departures of some key higher-level executives from MSLO. Long-time design visionary, Gael Towey, and CEO Lisa Gersh both departed in late 2012.

It was announced that another long-time Martha Stewart employee, (Creative Director) Eric Pike, would takeover EIC responsibilities at “Martha Stewart Living” magazine. If interested, you can take a tour of Eric’s home here.

From the AdWeek article on Pilar Guzman’s departure (as is the above photograph):

Guzman is also one half of a publishing power couple: Her husband, Chris Mitchell, was the vp, publisher of Traveler until 2011, and now holds the same title at GQ.

In a statement, Guzman praised the magazine’s “engaging features, thoughtful advice and stunning visuals” and added that she looked forward to “drawing upon the insights and vision of the company’s artistic director Anna Wintour to catapult this legendary brand” -–perhaps a signal that Traveler could be the next title to get the Wintour treatment.

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There was some good news today for Martha in the trial with Macy’s.

First, it may be useful to back up a bit: The case is actually made up of several different claims, including breach of contract, breach of confidentiality, unfair competition, and tortious interference. In some claims, Macy’s has won injunctions, which are essentially temporary smaller rulings in Macy’s favor while the larger issues are resolved permanently in the courtroom. For example, in one injunction, the judge ruled that Martha may NOT sell items in JC Penney stores until the issue of exclusivity has been resolved completely. Macy’s asked the judge to broaden that existing injunction to include items that were designed by MSLO designers but did NOT have Martha’s name on them. These items are instead branded as “jcp Everyday”. Martha insists that these items–$100 million worth of them are already at distribution centers awaiting shipment to JC Penney stores–do NOT violate the exclusivity clause of her contract with Macy’s. Good News: Today, the judge sided with Martha, so these “jcp Everyday” items will begin appearing in JC Penney stores very soon!

However, the judge ruled that the trial would continue on to the next phase. You see, up to this point, Macy’s has been doing all the talking, as they present their case that MSLO violated the exclusivity clause of their contract. Today, the judge took into account all that Macy’s has presented thus far and agreed that may in fact be true. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the trial now shifts to a new phase; one in which MSLO gets to present THEIR side of the story to counter Macy’s claim. Go get ’em, Team Martha!

It is important to note that the judge in this case is still imploring the three parties involved to reach a settlement among themselves, without a judge’s ruling. Contract disputes such as this one are not entirely uncommon, and are often resolved with a financial settlement. In this case, JC Penney and MSLO could buy-out Macy’s contract (or just the exclusivity clause of the contract) although that seems unlikely, given the degree to which Macy’s seems to rely on the Martha Stewart Collection to generate traffic in its stores. By allowing the trial to go forward, and relying on the judge’s ruling, either party risks losing entirely.

Martha vs. Macy’s: Judge Rules JC Penney May Begin Selling Some Items

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MSLO Chief Creative Officer Gael Towey Departs

Hours ago, Gael Towey posted the above photo on Instagram, along with the following statement: “Almost finished packing. It has been an amazing 21 years.” In case you don’t already know, Gael Towey has been with with Martha almost since the beginning, serving as Art Director from 1990-1996, Design Director from 1996-1997, Executive Vice President, Art and Style and Creative Director from 1997-2001, and Senior Executive Vice President and Creative Director from 2001-2005. Since 2005, she has served as MSLO’s Chief Creative Officer. To say that Gael’s has been the primary influence on the elegant visual style that has defined the Martha Stewart brand for over 20 years is an understatement. As I described her in an earlier post, Gael is a design goddess–and I’m certain all FOMs join me in wishing for her the very best on her next adventure. (A side note: Gael is married to Stephen Doyle, the designer of the Martha Stewart brand logo. You can read more about the process of creating Martha’s logo here. It’s fascinating.)

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