Since ceding control of her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in a merger with Sequential Brands, Martha Stewart has been undergoing arguably the most dramatic changes of her career — a challenge that has included adapting to a millennial audience and working for a CEO half of her age.
Stewart, 74, is now a significant shareholder in Sequential, a member of its board of directors, and the company’s chief creative officer. As part of the transition, Stewart has worked to reinvent her famously perfectionist TV persona into something Stewart says is more like her natural self — the kind of person who jokes about making pot brownies with Snoop Dogg live on air, Instagrams herself riding barefoot on a hoverboard after champagne, and appears on Comedy Central to make raunchy jokes about Ludacris’ need for birth control.
“Martha Stewart connects with people of all ages — from millennials to boomers — you name it … She’s here to teach smart, stylish and functional solutions to help everyone live better,” said Yehuda Shmidman, the 35-year-old Sequential Brands CEO.
Stewart, for one, thinks she has a lot to teach the younger generation. “I think everybody is trying to target millennials,” said Stewart. “But who are the millennials? Now we are finding out they are living with their parents. They don’t have the initiative to go out and find a little apartment … I got married at 19 and I immediately got an apartment and I fixed it up. I was very proud of everything I did. I got the furniture at auctions for pennies.” She said that Momofuku’s David Chang also encouraged her to reach out to younger viewers, saying, “‘Martha you know so much and the millenials have to know this stuff! They don’t know anything and they have to learn … They know how to make money and how to develop software, but they don’t know how to plant a tree.”
In spite of her duties as chief creative officer and her frequent celebrity appearances, Stewart has also started an original series on Amazon based on her online craft shop, American Made, adapted decades’ worth of her old content for online audiences, live-streamed classes from her home, and even launched a meal-kit delivery service business, known as “Martha & Marley Spoon,” which delivers prepared ingredients to young professionals who don’t have time to shop and prep meals at home.
Asked if there was a reason for showing a new side of herself, Stewart replied, “It’s just evolution.” Change, Stewart contends, is not only natural, but necessary. “When you are through changing, you are through,” said Stewart emphatically. “Change is good. Change is good for everybody.”
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