Martha Stewart Biography

Richest Woman or Fell from a Cliff?

Martha Stewart is a name that rings a bell every time someone mentions it. For some, it will be a reminder of a part of their childhood when they used to watch her on TV. 

For others, they might know her from way before and even own some of her products. 

However, for the new generation, Stewart is more or less a stranger to the public eye since everything is about the Internet, videogames, social media, and not many people focus on the entrepreneurs besides the big names like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. 

If you ask us, she is someone that is worth remembering and learning about since she is, indeed, part of many people’s memories and good times. 

In our case, we grew up watching some of her TV shows with our mothers and grandmothers in particular. But when we mention them to children today, they aren’t quite interested, and even teenagers or youngsters don’t seem to be that interested. 

If you are part of the latter group or someone who was never interested in her until now, allow us to help with the details you need. We promise she is quite the entrepreneur and inspiration for everyone who wants to take her as a role model.

Who Is Martha Stewart? – Childhood & Early Years

Let’s start with the basics and fill you up with what you should know, at least. 

Martha Helen Stewart, who was born as Kostyra as her last name, was born in Jersey City on August 3, 1941. 

She is the second child of six children to Edward Ruszkowski Kostyra and Martha Ruszkowski. She is of Polish heritage as her parents were born in the country. 

When she was three years of age, her family moved to Nutley in New Jersey and adopted the name “Grace” due to her Catholic confirmation. 

Her working phase started quite young since she was ten years old when she babysat children of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Gil McDougald, who were players for the New York Yankees showed interest in modeling during the same age.

When she was 15 years old, she was featured in a television commercial for Unilever and continued to appear on other commercials and in magazines that included Tareyton’s “Smokers would rather fight than switch”! Advertisement. 

Stewart graduated from Nutley High School and continued her education at Barnard College of Columbia University. 

During this period, she was able to finance her education by continuing to model for clients such as Chanel. She claimed that she was being paid about $50 per hour, and based on the inflation and even now, it was quite a lot of money. 

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She was planning to major in chemistry but decided to switch her career path to art, history, and architectural history in the end. Meanwhile, she also met Andrew Stewart, a Yale Law School student. 

He had finished his law degree at the time, and after dating, she ended up getting married to Andrew Stewart in July 1961. She graduated from Columbia University with a double major (History and Architectural History) the following year.

Going back to her childhood for a bit, Stewart learned how to sew and cook from her mother, while her father taught her about gardening, and these skills were further developed when Stewart visited her grandparents in Buffalo.

At the time, she wouldn’t have known they would be key for her future career. 

Career & Business: Becoming an Entrepreneur

Unlike what many believe, Stewart (now, officially) didn’t focus on history or her actual major.

Instead, Martha started her career as a stockbroker in 1967 with his father-in-law.

This was followed by moving with her husband to Westport, Connecticut, where they bought and restored an antique farmhouse. 

Stewart began a number of projects and jobs, including starting her own catering company and managing a gourmet food shop. 

On the other hand, Andrew was elected president of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., a New York City publisher. 

He decided to hire the service to cater a book release party with her wife’s catering company. This would change Martha’s life as she was introduced to Alan Mirken of Crown Publishing Group. 

Mirken was impressed by Stewart’s hosting and cooking skills, so he offered to create a cookbook together. 

This led to Martha’s first publication, “Entertaining,” in 1982, which Elizabeth Hawes ghostwrote. 

Her first book was a success, and she went on to publish several books through Clarkson Potter, a publishing imprint, as a result. 

Most of these books were released in the 80s before the decade finished and include “Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook” (1983), “Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres” (1984), and “Martha Stewart’s Christmas” (1989), among many others we didn’t mention. 

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Besides her work as a cookbook author, she got the opportunity to have her articles and columns published in newspapers and magazines. 

Martha Steward has also appeared on TV programs such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Larry King Live” during this time.

Moving on with the 90s, Stewart signed a contract with Time Publishing Ventures to create a new magazine. 

The magazine was under her name and known as “Martha Stewart Living,” which had its first issue published and a rate base of 250,000 at the beginning. 

Besides being the main writer, Stewart was also editor-in-chief of the magazine. 

The decade was also marked with the debut of her show in 1993, “Martha Stewart Living,” which was inspired by her magazine. It started out as a half-hour weekly program, but it was expanded to 60 minutes in 1999 until it finished in 2004. 

Martha Stewart Net Worth & Controversy

We would love to start this part with the usual details and current net worth, but there’s a lot to understand in the entrepreneur’s life before getting to the present. 

In 1997, Stewart and her partner, Sharon Patrick, secured funding for all television, print, and merchandising ventures that were related to Martha Stewart’s name or more like a brand. 

With this move, all of these ventures were consolidated into Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), which had Stewart as the chairwoman, president, and CEO, while Patrick served as COO. 

This was a strategic move to make MSLO become public on October 19, 1999, under the ticker symbol MSO in the New York Stock Exchange, which opened at $18 per share. 

Prices had risen to $38 by the close of trading, and this made Stewart a real-life billionaire at the time. In fact, Martha became the first woman to achieve the milestone in America. 

However, not everything went amazing the next few years as the stock price dropped to $16 per share by February 2002, which caused her to lose her billionaire status and many millions in the process.

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The company’s current status lies in its merging process with Sequential Brands Group in 2015, a deal in which Martha was able to remain as the major shareholder. 

Later on, Sequential Brand Group sold all the assets to Stewart in 2019 for $175 million. 

But before all this process of merging and buying the assets, Stewart had a hard time during 2001-2003.

According to the SEC, Stewart avoided a loss in 2001 of $45.673 when she sold all 3,928 shares of her ImClone Systems stock. 

She had received insider information from Merrill Lynch’s broker. The alleged tip was received while she was flying in a private plane, and she made the trade shortly after landing to make sure she wasn’t losing the bucks. 

This was investigated and led to her being indicted on nine charges, including obstruction of justice and securities fraud by the government on June 4, 2003, which led her to resign as Chairwoman and CEO of MSLO.

She was finally convicted in March 2004 on felony charges of conspiracy and obstruction of an agency proceeding. She also made false statements to federal investigators and was sentenced to five months imprisonment and supervised release for two years. 

A $30k fine was also included in her sentence. 

While her imprisonment would usually lead to the fall down of the company, it is interesting to note that instead, the MSLO stock price double, temporarily restoring her billionaire status. 

Unfortunately, Martha’s net worth fell to $500 million in six months following her release once more. 

When she was released from prison in March 2005, Martha launched a well-publicized comeback and led her to success once more. 

Stewart returned to daytime TV with “The Martha Stewart Show,” which ran for five seasons from 2005 to 2010. Six nominations were received for the show at the 33 Daytime Emmy Awards. 

In 2010, it was moved to Hallmark Channel, where it remained for two years under the name “Martha.” 

The books from the 2000s include “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook” (2005) and “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook” (2006). 

She also launched a high-end line of homewares at Macy’s, a 24-hour radio channel with Sirius, a line of carpet tiles with FLOR, Inc., as well as the Martha Stewart Vintage wine brand, E & J Gallo Winery.

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She has many business ventures, and although not many details are disclosed about how much she earns from each one, her current net worth stands at $400 million, based on the latest report in January 2021. 

However, it is clear her wealth came from the usual writing, entrepreneurship, television presenting, production, and latest businesses acquired and opened under her brand name. 

Another part of her money is invested in real estate. With a large number of homes around the country, her property portfolio is quite large. 

The money she has spent on properties reaches the $100 million mark, and this is bound to increase based on the real estate market and the value of each house or property. 

One of the most recent businesses related to this is with her one-acre oceanfront property acquired in 1991 when she finished her marriage with Stewart in 1990. The property is located in Easthampton, New York, and was sold for $16.5 million in September 2021. 

Other properties include many condos and apartments in NYC, which she rents to celebrities and anyone who wants to pay the price, and a quite mouth-watering house. In one of them, her daughter Alexis Stewart resides. 

Many people expect the next report to know how much Martha Stewart was able to amass during 2021, but we will need to wait until January 2022.

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Charity Work: Helping Others?

Despite her time in the federal prison and how she has been in the spotlight for quite some time, she has been quite the philanthropist since she started to earn enough money for it. 

She has been a continuous donator for charities associated with health, cancer, animals, sanctuaries, and children’s foundations. 

Make-A-Wish Foundation, American Humane Association, Aid Still Required, and the Farm Sanctuary is only a few of the main charities she often gives to. 

Back in 2006, she also opened the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mount Sinai Hospital located in New York, thanks to the $5 million donations she made at the time. 

The center is dedicated to geriatric care and allows adults to age successfully without any difficulties. 

Her main focus with this center and other donations made over the last decade is on a prototypical system to deal with the aging population and give them a better life. She believes this isn’t provided enough attention. 

Of course, she addresses many other problems like cancer research, mental health, and children’s education. She works with other celebrities to continuously work towards a better life for those in need.

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A Face = A Business Success

Martha is one of those entrepreneurs who lets you know something without saying a word: You don’t need a big name or store to start your journey. 

She is her own face and brand, so why can’t you start by doing the same? 

People always look for positive role models, and if we leave aside her time in prison and controversy, she is actually someone you can learn a lot from without even knowing her. 

In fact, we quite admire her, and yes, we also love her books. 

It is part of our guilty pleasure to go over all the ingredients, recipes, and each dish (especially a salad) included in her books. Let’s not talk about those recipes while using the oven for cooking; just amazing. 

Our point with this is that entrepreneurs encourage us to spend our time more efficiently and seek out new opportunities while also working with what we have, and just look at her, she made a career out of her cooking skills and took that to the next level. 

Besides, in 2021, there are way too many alternatives when it comes to business ventures and opportunities you can give a try, so why would you refrain yourself over and over again? 

If you’re having a hard time finding the best option, what about giving lead generation a try? 

This business model focuses on creating websites for small businesses or individuals who wish to generate leads via the Internet.

It is your responsibility to locate them and create their websites. This will enable you to generate leads, bring in clients, and make money while companies sign their contracts with the leads and potential clients you’ve generated for them. 

While it is possible to create websites for individuals or businesses, it can be tedious and time-consuming, and it is not as simple as sitting down at a computer and doing some work. 

It also requires some knowledge and more than simply using pre-set templates on some occasions. Though, we aren’t trying to scare you. 

Instead, we want you to look at the big pros: You don’t need an office or any talent, and you can use your own face to be the brand instead of coming up with one.

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A computer, some cash, Internet, and time will be more than enough to get started. 

Just make sure you take the proper training as well to learn about finding clients, building sites, and working around lead generation. 

Are you interested? All you need to know is right here with tips and tricks!

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Written by Dame Cash

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