Life after Martha
The New York Times yesterday ran a story on the first page of the business section on conditions at Martha Stewart Omni Media. The author wrote about the fact that legally Martha Stewart cannot have a management role at her company until 2011 as a condition of her parole, by which time she will be 71. Of course, Martha *is* the brand, and has a lot of control over the direction of the company whether it is official or not. But it does raise the question, what will life be like for MSOM after Martha? Can a company totally branded on one person (Harpo, Trump Enterprises and The Thomas Kinkaide Company come to mind) survive that person's retirement? DesiLu, for instance, survived the divorce but, although arguably the most successful TV studio in Hollywood at the time, simply got folded into CBS and stopped producing after Lucy left. And, while MSOM is very diversified, with magazines, housewares, furniture, and even houses, their successful products all have Martha plastered upon them somewhere.
Another thing the Times piece said I take issue with: they suggested that, in light of the awful corporate malfeasance that has come to light in the last year, Martha's little $22,000 transgression seems awfully small, and that maybe the media was too hard on her. Let me say outright that I didn't start writing about her because of her crime. Hell, I even respect her as a business person.
I just hate her palette. And her centerpieces. And that calm soothing voice. Give me a balsy domestic diva like Julia Child any day! ;-)