Martha Stewart may be 74-years-old, but she has no plans of retiring any time soon. The lifestyle guru, who recently merged Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia with Sequential Brands, told Luxury Listings she is not the retiring type.
“No, it is not the time to slow down,” Martha told the magazine. “Not for me. I’m not the retiring type of person. I enjoy all the things I do. The only challenge I have is finding time to do as much as I want to do.”
In the aftermath of the merger. Martha Stewart is now chief creative officer at Sequential Brands Group, and she reports to a CEO half her age. Stewart is responsible for the creative direction of more than 15 branded product lines, including Revo sunglasses, Heelys, William Rast denim, Avia activewear, Emeril Lagasse, and Jessica Simpson’s brands, and more.
Sequential Brands Group CEO Yehuda Shmidman cited Martha Stewart’s appeal to people of all ages—”from millennial to boomers,” saying she’s the person to teach the world how to live better. But Martha is especially concerned about millennials, whom she thinks need some serious help.
“I think every business is trying to target millennials, “Stewart said. “But who are millennials? Now we are finding out that they are living with their parents. They don’t have the initiative to go out and find a little apartment and grow a tomato plant on the terrace.”
While Martha says she understands the plight of today’s younger generation and their grim economic circumstances, she encouraged them to “work for it” and “go after it.”
“I got married at 19 and I immediately got an apartment and I fixed it up,” Stewart explained. “I was very proud of everything I did. I got the furniture at auctions for pennies. Beautiful furniture. My apartments were lovely and homey and comfortable.”
Stewart said that her pal, celebrity chef David Chang, urged her to focus on young people with her revamped business venture because they have grown up without teachers.
“They know how to make money and how to develop software, but they don’t know how to plant a tree,” Martha said Chang told her. “They don’t know how to grow spinach.”
As for some of the youth-oriented brands she’s responsible for, like the wheeled shoes, Heelys, Stewart says she likes rollerblading and has always liked Revos because of “the clarity of the glass.” In other words, this is a woman who stands behind her products.
Martha Stewart has also stepped out of her own comfort zone in an attempt to appear hip to the younger generation. In the 1990s, she famously presented at the MTV Music Video Awards alongside rapper Busta Rhymes. Host Chris Rock introduced the unlikely duo by saying: “One knows how to make a really mean pot roast and one’s always roasted on pot.”
And speaking of pot, who can forget Martha’s own TV show, in which she teamed up with Snoop Dogg to make brownies. Snoop wanted “green” brownies, and the two joked about the secret ingredient they would add later.
Martha Stewart also gave a raunchy turn at Comedy Central’s celebrity roast of Justin Bieber, amid a cast of characters that included Snoop, Ludacris and Shaquille O’Neal–and they all got the joke. With culture clashes like that, it’s no wonder that Stewart’s life motto is to “learn something new every day.”
“When you are through changing, you are through. Change is good,” Martha told Luxury Listings. “Change is good for anybody.”
Martha Stewart continues to change and evolve. In addition to the upcoming publication of her 87th book, Vegetables, Stewart is launching a meal start-up kit that will definitely appeal to those millennials she was talking about.
But make no mistake, Martha likes working with the younger generation. In an interview posted by Business Insider at the Cannes Lions festival, Stewart touted the merger of MSLO, saying it has been a very good thing—and a learning experience for her at 74.
“It’s good, it’s very good,” Stewart said. “It’s taken some pressure off me…I now own parts of 20-something other companies, so I am learning more. And the new young management at Sequential, the CEO is 34 years old – I love working with a younger bunch. I think it was the exact right thing for me to do. So it’s a breath of fresh air. And I’m richer!”
Take a look at the video below to see Martha Stewart making brownies with Snoop Dogg.
[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund]