Martha Stewart Decade in Review: 2010 - 2019

A decade in the life of Martha Stewart is never simple to summarize. Her business encompasses so many avenues in the realms of publishing, broadcasting and merchandising, with multiple deals within those business segments, that one can easily lose track of where she’s been and where she’s going. I’m hoping this review of the last ten years in the world of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will clarify her trajectory. I’ve structured the overview by dividing it into digestible segments (publishing, broadcasting, merchandising) and then finishing with a point-form timeline, including dates, to better capture the events of the last ten years.


Of most crucial importance, of course, was the sale of her company. In June 2015, Martha Stewart sold her company to Sequential Brands for a reported $353M. This meant that Martha’s standalone, incorporated and publicly traded business, which she founded in 1997, ceased to exist in its original form and would now be controlled by the interests of a larger brand-management corporation. The sale had been rumoured for several months prior to its effective date, with the move of Martha’s magazine operations to Meredith Corporation a year prior signalling a seemingly inevitable transfer of ownership. 

In November 2014, Martha announced that her magazines, Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, would be absorbed by Meredith Corp. This meant that the magazines had effectively been sold to Meredith, a leader in lifestyle publications, in order to keep them running. Martha Stewart Omnimedia simply could no longer afford to keep them. Since Meredith and Sequential are partners, business analysts surmised that Martha was looking to sell her entire company, which had been reporting losses for numerous years, to Sequential Brands. 

Under the terms of the sale of the company to Sequential Brands, Martha Stewart herself became a significant shareholder in a new public holding company that was set up by Sequential Brands for Martha Stewart Living. She was also nominated to serve on its board of directors and maintained her title as Chief Creative Officer of the company.

After only four years, however, Sequential sold Martha Stewart Living to another buyer, Marquee Brands, for a reported $215M in June of 2019. Marquee, which also controls BCBG MAXAZRIA, Body Glove and Ben Sherman, acquired most of Martha’s licensing deals, including her merchandising line with Macy’s. 

Later this year, Martha Stewart Living will move to a 10,000 square foot space on West 57th Street in Manhattan from its previous location at the Starrett Lehigh building on West 26th Street. Marquee Brands main headquarters will also move into the same building. 


As mentioned above, the absorption of Martha’s magazines by Meredith Corporation in 2014 was the first step towards a larger divestiture plan for the Omnimedia business. Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings transferred its operational and editorial control to Meredith, which now oversees Martha’s magazine business. The content and creative direction, while monitored by Meredith, is still widely influenced by Martha Stewart and a small team of editors, writers and designers who keep the brand aesthetic and core content areas alive in its pages. Prior to moving to Meredith, Martha Stewart Living stopped publishing a January and an August issue, replaced by a July/August issue and a January/February issue, bringing its annual circulation from 12 issues a year back to 10.
Currently, Martha Stewart Living is the only magazine on newsstands carrying the Martha Stewart moniker. Its two other magazines were shuttered. Everyday Food, the company’s digest-size recipe magazine founded in 2003, folded as a standalone newsstand publication in November 2012. Its content was still issued to Martha Stewart Living subscribers in supplemental issues five times a year until February 2014, at which time all issues ceased printing. The content was then incorporated into Martha Stewart Living magazine in a special Everyday Food section, which is still published today.

Martha Stewart Weddings, too, closed its covers in June of 2018 after more than 20 years in print. An annual special issue Weddings magazine is still published, however. Meanwhile, Martha Stewart Weddings also publishes quite a bit of original content online at Marthastewartweddings.com.

Martha Stewart Living magazine saw numerous editors take the helm over the last ten years. It is currently run by editor-in-chief Elizabeth Graves, who worked at Martha Stewart Weddings as its editor for many years prior, and before that at Blueprint. Gael Towey, formerly the company’s chief creative officer, stepped down as editor-in-chief in 2010 and was succeeded by Vanessa Holden who ran the magazine until May 2011. She was replaced by Pilar Guzman who was editor until July 2013. Eric Pike, the company’s creative director at the time, took over as editor until March 2016 when Elizabeth Graves succeeded him. 

Gael Towey, Eric Pike, Lucinda Scala-Quinn (the magazine’s executive editorial food director), craft editors Hannah Milman, Marcie McGoldrick and Jodi Levine,Weddings editor Darcy Miller and collecting editor Fritz Karch, as well as numerous stylists, including Ayesha Patel, all left the Martha Stewart Living family over the last ten years, although many of these familiar names are still credited as contributors today.

Martha also published 26 books over the last ten years and entered a new publishing partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017, famed textbook publishers, while still maintaining her partnership with Clarkson Potter. For a full list of the books published over the last decade, see below.


As with publishing, the television segment of Martha Stewart Living also underwent some drastic pruning measures. But new growth was also evident. 

In September 2010, Martha and then-Chairman Charles Koppelman signed a new television partnership with The Hallmark Channel. Included in the deal was the promise of new Martha Stewart programming as well as the airing of her popular live television show, “The Martha Stewart Show”, which was formerly syndicated to US cable networks. Among the exclusive new programs was a new baking series called “Martha Bakes”, which was initially filmed at Martha’s home in Bedford. Another program starring Martha Stewart’s editorial director of food at the time, Lucinda Scala Quinn, called “Mad Hungry” was also piloted, as was a talk show featuring Martha’s daughter Alexis Stewart and her friend Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt called “Whatever.” 

Martha is pictured with Bill Abbott (left) President and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, the parent company of the Hallmark Channel, and Charles Koppelman (right), former Chairman of MSLO.

Martha’s long-time pet expert, Marc Morrone, also got a television show called “Petkeeping”, and a new cartoon was developed called “Martha & Friends”. There were original Martha Stewart holiday specials, too, for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well an interview program called “Martha Stewart Presents” in which Martha interviewed inspirational figures and business leaders. Martha’s old programs, such as “From Martha’s Kitchen” and “From Martha’s Garden” would also have a home on Hallmark, creating a five-hour block of Martha Stewart programming each day.

The deal was fraught with problems from the beginning, however. Many people who watched Martha on cable would not (or could not) subscribe to The Hallmark Channel. Conversely, many people who subscribed to Hallmark were not necessarily keen on a wall of back-to-back Martha Stewart programs. The friction in her audience was evident and the deal lasted only two years. In 2012, The Hallmark Channel dropped all Martha Stewart programs. That same year, the Emmy-winning “Martha Stewart Show” ceased production after seven years on the air. The lease for the Chelsea Studios where “The Martha Stewart Show” was filmed was not renewed and the set for the program was dismantled and moved to Martha’s main headquarters for future use.
What followed was a quieter return to Martha’s television origins on PBS. Martha developed a new show called “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” (based on her bestselling cookbook of the same name) which premiered on PBS in September 2012. In January 2013 “Martha Bakes” (originally produced for Hallmark in 2011) also joined the PBS family. “Cooking School” has produced five excellent seasons so far and has won two James Beard Awards in the process. “Martha Bakes” has produced 11 seasons on PBS to date and is the most popular cooking series on the public broadcaster’s current roster of cooking shows.
In a somewhat surprising move, and certainly one that got people talking, Martha partnered with one of her favourite television guests, rapper Snoop Dogg, to cohost a new program called “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” which debuted on VH1 in 2016. The irreverent program with its unlikely hosts is ostensibly a cooking show in the guise of a comedic talk show: guests from the music industry and from television come for a potluck dinner party and cocktails on set with plenty of banter and conversation. The yin-and-yang pairing of Martha and Snoop produces some very candid and funny moments! The program was renewed for a third season and was nominated for an Emmy.
The most exciting news for long-time fans of Martha’s television programs was the announcement in 2018 of a new Martha Stewart TV app developed by Martha that would carry all the Martha Stewart Living television programs, season to season, episode by episode. With a $65 annual subscription rate, users can access thousands of hours of Martha Stewart television, including episodes of The Martha Stewart Show, from any mobile device. Casting features enable the user to watch the programs on large television screens. Having all of Martha’s television episodes in one app? It’s a Good Thing!


The last ten years in Martha’s merchandising business were busy indeed! Numerous partnerships and new product expansions brought the Martha Stewart brand into the world of home goods in a big way. Some of the partnerships were lasting and continue to be fruitful to this day while others were short-lived.
In 2010, after the expiration of her Kmart partnership, Martha launched three new product lines with three different retailers. The first was a line of pet care supplies designed by the Martha Stewart team exclusively for PetSmart stores in the USA and Canada. Pet toys, collars, leashes, grooming accessories, food bowls and even Halloween costumes were offered. Martha’s pet products are no longer sold at PetSmart but can be sourced through Amazon.

Later that same year Martha announced two major deals with The Home Depot and its subsidiary company, Home Decorators, to bring a new line of paints and home products to the big-box retailer and its Home Decorators catalog. Martha Stewart Living paints came in a vast palette of colours and finishes while outdoor furniture sets, gardening tools, cleaning products and storage supplies were also on offer at Home Depot stores in the USA and Canada. There were also holiday collections that included outdoor Christmas lights and indoor Christmas tree decorations, wreaths and more. Home Decorators, meanwhile, offered a full range of Martha Stewart rugs, occasional furniture, craft furniture, office furniture and laundry accessories.
While the paint line was discontinued in 2012, one of the most successful offerings was the Martha Stewart Living line of kitchens at The Home Depot. Consumers could customize their kitchens using cabinetry and counters designed by Martha’s teams. With an emphasis on storage, decorative details and finishes, the line was extremely popular. This was followed up with a bathroom collection in 2017.
In July of 2011 Martha announced a new furniture product line called “Martha Stewart Fine Furniture”. Her partnership with Bernhardt, which produced the “Martha Stewart Signature” line of furniture, had expired and a new partnership with ML Brands International (Miles Talbott Furniture and Lefa) was forged. Sofas, coffee tables, armchairs, end tables and armoires were all prototyped and the line debuted at Highpoint in North Carolina in 2013. However, the line never made it to market, and it was never manufactured beyond prototype.
In 2012 Martha launched a new line of home-office products called “Martha Stewart Home Office”, partnering with Avery as the manufacturer and Staples as the exclusive distributor in the USA and Canada. The line included binders, folders, labels, stickers and other home-office and organization products designed in specialty Martha Stewart colours and styles. The line was discontinued in 2014 but was resurrected in 2016 under a new name, “Martha Stewart Office” with newly designed products, manufactured and distributed by Staples in the United States; the products were no longer available in Canadian stores.
In 2013 some rather exciting news surfaced about an entirely new Martha Stewart home collection that was set to debut at JC Penney stores. The line had four different components to it: “Martha Home” (decorative accessories), “Martha Celebrations” (holiday and entertaining supplies), “Martha Pantry” (food items) and “Martha Lighting” (lamps and shades). The idea was to create full Martha boutiques within JC Penney department stores that would offer these Martha Stewart products.
The deal never really came to full fruition since Macy’s took issue with the JC Penney  partnership, saying it violated the terms of its deal with Martha as the exclusive carrier of Martha Stewart home and kitchen products. Macy’s took Martha Stewart Living and JC Penney to court with a lawsuit after arbitration between the three parties failed. While many of the JC Penney products developed by Martha did filter into their stores, the full realization of the concept was never brought to bear. In 2014 the dispute was resolved with Macy’s emerging as the victor. The JC Penney line was discontinued and the “Martha Stewart Collection” continues to be sold at Macy’s to this day.
Martha made her first forays into the food and service industry in 2015 with the launch of her first branded café. “The Martha Stewart Café” opened in the lobby of the Starrett Lehigh building, which houses Martha’s headquarters, in March of that year. It sold Martha-branded coffees, teas and pastries sourced from her favourite New York suppliers. Other Martha Stewart Cafés were later opened at select Macy’s stores around the country. All locations of the Martha Stewart Cafe have since closed, however Martha's coffee and tea blends can be sourced on Amazon.
The coffees were all produced in partnership with Barrie House Coffee Roasters, a New York based company founded in 1934. All of Martha's coffees are Certified USDA Organic (grown without pesticides or herbicides and harvested in a sustainable way) and are certified Fair Trade, meaning the farmers who grow and harvest the beans are not exploited.

The following year, her exploration of the food business continued with the announcement of a new meal-delivery service with Marley Spoon. “Martha + Marley Spoon” launched in June 2016 with a line of mail-order meal kits, specially curated by Martha and one of her food editors, Jennifer Aaronson. The kits included ingredients sourced from Martha-approved farms and suppliers with recipes developed by the food editors at Martha Stewart Living magazine.
In 2017, Martha expanded the delivery-service model to include wine. The “Martha Stewart Wine Company” was formed, offering wine delivery to consumers across the United States. Each of the wines available through the service is sourced from American, Italian, Spanish, Australian, Chilean or French wineries and is personally selected by Martha, often arranged into complementary sets with recipe cards for food accompaniment and cocktail suggestions. Winemakers working with Martha in this venture include Bruno Lafon, Castellani and Georges Vigouroux, among others.

That same year Martha took QVC by storm with a huge launch of new product lines made exclusively for the online and television retailer. Among the new offerings was Martha’s first line of apparel! Clothing designed by Martha and a team of stylists to reflect Martha’s own personal style included jeans, jackets, tops, sweaters and outerwear. Other Martha product lines for QVC were created, including a vast array of gardening supplies and accessories, many of which were inspired by Martha’s own personal collections. There are holiday collections with decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter as well as gourmet food items.

Martha’s long-time partnership with Macy’s (the MarthaStewart Collection) is still intact and remains robust. A 2018 deal with Amazon brought many Martha Stewart products (including her wide assortment of craft products) under one umbrella through its online “Store” format: Martha’s pet products, books, food items, garden supplies, rugs and many other items bearing the Martha Stewart name can now be sourced through Amazon.com. Martha’s first ever appliance, The Everything Pressure Cooker, first offered in 2018, can also be sourced through Amazon. Canadians can source some of Martha's home products at Wayfair.ca and at HomeSense stores.


With the advent of Instagram and the proliferation of Facebook and social media in the last decade, Martha was quick to adopt these new methods of communication. Martha joined Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, using these tools to leverage content and advertising. Martha was one of the first proponents of Facebook Live, using the service to host hour-long how-to cooking and crafting demonstrations and product reveals.

Meanwhile, Martha’s presence online continues to be popular. Martha’s personal blog, which is primarily read by her core fan base, offers insight into her personal world with photographs of her homes, gardens and travels. Marthastewart.com and Marthastewartweddings.com continue to be good sources of advertising revenue for the company, publishing new content not available elsewhere, such as instructional video segments hosted by members of Martha’s team, including Thomas Joseph who hosts the very popular “Kitchen Conundrums”. Both sites underwent subtle design and navigation changes in the last decade to become more streamlined in their presentation, and hence more user friendly. The return of the “Shop” link on Marthastewart.com (not seen since the closure of Martha by Mail) now provides easy access to most of Martha’s wares.


With such a long and winding trajectory, simplifying Martha’s journey and highlighting the main features of her ventures is, perhaps, the best way to grasp it all. To help further summarize the decade in review, I’ve created a list below of dates divided by subject and category for a more immediate look at the events that transpired at Martha Stewart Living over the last decade.
To briefly assess the state of Martha’s company in its current form, here is a list of notes defining the main features of her business:
  • ·         The Martha Stewart Living company is currently owned and operated by Marquee Brands. MSLO is no longer a public company.
  • ·         Martha Stewart Living magazine is currently the only magazine being published under the Martha Stewart label. (A special issue of Martha Stewart Weddings is published annually.)
  • ·         Martha’s magazine operations are controlled by Meredith Corporation.
  • ·         Martha currently has television programs on PBS (Martha Bakes and Martha Stewart’s Cooking School) as well as on VH1 (Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party)
  • ·         Martha recently published her 96th book, Martha Stewart’s Organizing
  • ·         Book publishing partnerships include Clarkson Potter and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • ·         Martha’s current merchandizing partners include Macy’s (The Martha Stewart Collection), Michael's (Martha Stewart Crafts), Staples (Martha Stewart Office), The Home Depot and Home Decorators (Martha Stewart Living kitchens, bathrooms, home products) QVC (apparel and home collections), Marley Spoon (meal kit delivery service), Aerosoles (footwear), Safavieh (rugs and carpets), BloomsyBox (flower delivery), Martha Stewart Wine Co. (Bruno Lafon, Castellani, Georges Vigouroux) Martha Stewart Café (coffees and teas) Amazon (pet products, garden supplies, home goods) HomeGoods and HomeSense (holiday collections, food items) Wayfair (furniture, rugs, home accessories)


Corporate Governance:

July 2011 - Charles Koppelman steps down as President/CEO
July 2012 - Lisa Gersh assumes the CEO/President role, steps down after only five months in the role
October 2013 - Daniel Dienst becomes CEO
June 2015 – Sequential Brands buys MSLO for $353M. It is no longer a publicly traded company. Martha remains Chief Creative Officer.


September 2010 - The Martha Stewart Show moves to Hallmark. New programs are developed:
Martha Bakes, Mad Hungry, Whatever With Alexis & Jennifer, Martha Stewart Presents, Petkeeping with Marc Morrone, Martha & Friends cartoon, Everyday Food, From Martha’s Kitchen, From Martha’s Home, original Holiday and Halloween specials
January 2011 - Martha Bakes premiers on the Hallmark Channel
April 24, 2012 - Martha Stewart Show tapes its last show
October 2012 - Martha Stewart’s Cooking School premiers on PBS
April 6, 2013 - Martha Bakes joins Cooking School on PBS
September 2016 – Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party debuts on VH1
October 2018 – Martha Stewart TV app is launched

Magazine Publishing:

November 2012 – last issue of Everyday Food published
January 2014 – Martha Stewart Living moves from 12 issues to 10
November 2014 - Meredith Corporation absorbs Martha Stewart Living
June 2018 – last issue of Martha Stewart Weddings published


June 2010 – Martha Stewart Pets launches at PetSmart
September 2010 – Martha Stewart Living launches at Home Depot
December 2010 - Martha Stewart Home Decorators (subsidiary of Home Depot)
July 2011 - Martha Stewart Fine Furniture with Miles Talbott Furniture and Lefa (debuts at Highpoint in 2013 but never launched)
September 2011 - Martha Stewart Yarn with Lion Brand
January 2012 – Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery and Staples (ends 2014)
January 2013 - JC Penney launches Martha Home, Martha Celebrations, Martha Lighting; Macy’s sues Martha and JC Penney and the court case is settled in 2014. JC Penney line shuts down in 2014.
November 2014 - Wall decals with Fathead LLC
January 2015 – Martha Stewart Collection Whim
March 2015 - Martha Stewart Café opens at Starett Lehigh
January 2016 - Martha Stewart Office launches at Staples
June 2016 - Martha and MarleySpoon
April 2017 - Martha Stewart Wine Co.
July 2017 - Martha Stewart Living Bath Collections at Home Depot
August 2017 – Martha Stewart on QVC


Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection
Published October 15, 2019

Martha Stewart's Grilling
Published March 26, 2019

The Martha Manual: How to do (Almost) Everything
Published January 1, 2019

Martha's Flowers (Deluxe Edition)
Published October 9, 2018

Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker
Published August 28, 2018

Martha's Flowers
Published February 27, 2018

Martha Stewart's Newlywed Kitchen
Published November 7, 2017

Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker
Published August 29, 2017

A New Way to Bake
Published March 28, 2017

Martha Stewart's Vegetables
Published September 6, 2016

Martha Stewart Weddings: Ideas and Inspiration
Published December 1, 2015

Martha Stewart's Appetizers
Published September 8, 2015

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide
Published December 16, 2014

One Pot
Published September 23, 2014

Martha Stewart's Cakes
Published September 24, 2013

Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids
Published June 18, 2013

Living the Good Long Life
Published April 23, 2013

Published January 8, 2013

Martha's American Food
Published April 24, 2012

Everyday Food: Light
Published December 27, 2011
Martha's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations
Published October 25, 2011

Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts
Published September 27, 2011

Martha Stewart's New Pies and Tarts
Published March 22, 2011

Power Foods
Published December 28, 2010

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts
Published March 30, 2010

Everyday Food: Fresh Flavors Fast
Published February 23, 2010


Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew, do you know what is available at HomeSense here in Canada? I have only found christmas wrapping paper.

Anonymous said...

Sadly the Martha Stewart Kitchens line has been discontinued

Anonymous said...

This is exhausting to read AR. Will your blog be a reference for a student of mis er Management and or public relations or who da thunk Advertising and the art of Branding?

Through the decades MS has jumped ship or had a deal reworked to be more beneficial it reads like how to milk a cow. Her humble start of thrift- tag sales and penny pinching flipped and she became a salesman for high ticket items i.e. Copper cookie cutters and bee hive cake molds. I marvel at the legions of willing customers. I guess I am soured when her web page reincarnated so many times and the chat rooms closed. Those chat rooms were a hoot --- the easiest way to waste time debating the usefulness of potato nails LOL


@Anonymous 1: I have seen the wrapping paper at HomeSense as well as some Christmas decorations. At one location here in Ottawa I once found hand soap. It is not an especially wide selection and it tends to vary from location to location.

@Anonymous 2: I knew they had discontinued here in Canada but I didn't realize they had stopped in the US as well.

@Anonymous 3: SOMEONE'S gotta do it!

PS: Don't be afraid to leave your actual names!

Dave O said...

Hi Andrew,

This was a great read and brought back some great memories of the past 10;years.

Do you know or have heard what we may look forward to this coming year, either with television or other merchandising opportunities? I heard that there may be something coming with Martha and California Closet. I would like to see more TV opportunities or a possible Pod casts.

Thank you