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30th Anniversary Issue / Martha Stewart: One-Woman Brand

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I grew up in Nutley, New Jersey, which is about twenty minutes from New York City on the bus -- I think it’s the No. 191. And it took you right into Port Authority. I started modeling at Bonwit Teller when I was 13. And they think they’re robbing the cradle today!

I got married when I was 19 years old. We lived first in New Haven, where my husband was at Yale, and then in New York. After we had a child, we moved to Westport, Connecticut, and I gave up my job on Wall Street. It was hard to leave Wall Street. My associates were extremely interesting. They were readers, book buyers, art collectors -- raconteurs.

My interest in food and design started when I got married -- my mother-in-law was quite an infamous interior designer in her own right, for her own homes. I learned all the sources, the bargain hunting, the auctions, and I developed an affinity for interior design, color, all the stuff I deal in now.

I don’t think I planned things. When I was writing books, they were for edification; they were for instruction. And it was getting something off my mind. And now it’s a real business, which has great potential. But up until a couple years ago, I really was not a strategist in the big sense. I had a sense of what I needed as a woman, mother, housewife, homekeeper. And I used that as a basis for what I thought other people would need. A happy home. A beautiful garden. An edited landscape. I stand for a nice life with a pleasant environment, interspersed with business, with a love of art and music and all the other stuff. My trademark and I are the same. I stand for what I am.

I have too much to do, way too much to do now. I try to have free time on the weekends. But it’s hard. I had a wonderful day a few Saturdays ago. I got up really early, drove back to New York, had two appointments in the morning, then went roaming around SoHo and got lots of good ideas. I came up with a whole new business that Saturday. I can’t tell you about that, but it’s an entire business. And it’s already happening. That’s a real good day when I come up with a whole new business.

I’m a very creative, artistic person. And the business has consumed a lot of me for the past couple of years. The business is using up some of my creativity. But I still truly love wandering the streets, finding out what people are doing, getting ideas, being inspired. That’s really what it’s all about for me. My eyes are always open; even when they’re closed, they’re wide open.

Interviewed by Maer Roshan


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