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Here is an interesting article about Martha Stewart by Sherry L Harris.
“Let’s face it Martha Stewart is a survivor. She even has her own theme song sung by Destiny’s Child “I’m A Survivor”. Although a jury found her guilty in 2004 on four counts of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a well-timed stock sale, became a well-known felon and went to prison she managed to get through it all with her dignity intact. Despite all of that drama Ms. Stewart continues to make a difference in the free market.
Before we get specific on those differences let’s get a common definition of what a free market is. Here a definition from Wikipedia: A free market is a market in which property rights are voluntarily exchanged at a price arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers.
Now that we are clear on that lets talk about six things that Martha did to make a difference in the free market.
1. Martha taught an entire generation about “gracious living”. With her do-it-yourself approach she taught us through books and television about home decorating, elegant weddings, and cooking and gardening. Today many Food Network and HGTV stars emulate her style such as Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade among others.
2. She empowered women worldwide when she took her company public in 1999. The name of the company was Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia. It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This one act caused a major quake on Wall Street and, as a result, stock prices soared. Almost overnight, Martha who owned 60 percent of the company’s shares, amassed paper assets worth more than $1 billion dollars.
3. After being released from prison, Martha did not go and sulk because she was a felon and felt sorry for herself. Instead, in late 2005 she launched the television show “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” based off the hugely popular show The Apprentice featuring Donald Trump. Although the free market obviously was not feeling this show (it was very short-lived), she pushed forward with other ideas.
4. Back in the early days of her “gracious living” concept Martha transformed a true home-based catering business into a multibillion-dollar franchise centered upon her near perfect image as a consummate hostess, food preparation expert, and do-it-yourself decorator. She is living proof that home-based moms with a little work and ingenuity can make big things happen. She taught generations of mompreneurs that even though they have responsibilities at home with family and kids, there is room for them in the free market world. Check out the Internet these days and you will see they are everywhere.
5. Ms. Stewart has honed the art of branding. If you think about it, she has one of the most recognizable and powerful brands in the world. Her treasure trove of media includes: award-winning television show, top-selling magazine, and more than 20 books to her credit on cooking, gardening, and home decoration.
6. Martha taught us another trick when it comes to the free market – publish your own magazine. In 1990 she negotiated a deal with Time Warner to publish her magazine Martha Stewart Living. Guess what? It was an overnight sensation. Her massive magazine success paved the way for Oprah and Rosie. Oprah Winfrey’s O and Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie.
If we are to learn anything from Martha Stewart regarding making a difference in the free market it is this: You are not only selling products but also information – not just any information. The information Martha packages for her audience is perceived as being consistently reliable and useful.”