Martha Stewart, the doyenne of domesticity, is ready to make her mark on QVC.
The TV show host, entrepreneur, author and lifestyle expert made her QVC debut Aug. 13 with “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker” cookbook and is now about to roll out her first collections of apparel, gourmet food, beauty and garden tools.
“We were blown away by the tremendous response to Martha’s cookbook, which sold out in its first airing,” said Doug Howe, executive vice president of merchandising for QVC.
Stewart, who has over the years sold cookbooks on QVC, is throwing a media launch party tonight at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia headquarters to introduce the full range of products she will be selling on the shopping channel. “It’s the first time I’m selling a whole line of garden tools since the old Kmart days. I’m so excited because gardening is my passion,” said the 76-year-old Stewart. She’ll also introduce her first apparel collection on QVC Thursday night, which she described as “casual basics.”
“There are lots of beautiful tops, sweaters and bottoms, which are basically jeans. It’s the stuff that I wear. I’ve worked hard with our manufacturing partner to come up with things that are easy to wear, they look nice, the fabrics are good, they’re not just jersey pullovers,” Stewart said. In fact, she wore the denim jacket from her QVC line on Labor Day while horseback riding, which she posted on Instagram. The September apparel offering retails from $35 to $65.
Asked if she had a lot of input into the collection, Stewart said, “It’s all my input. I didn’t just put my name on it. It’s the first time I’ve ever done clothes so I’m excited about it. It’s a thorough but modest introduction into the world of my kind of casual clothes that I like to wear,” she said.
Stewart said she personally changes her clothes four times a day. In the morning after her shower, she’ll put on workout clothes, then she’ll change to morning clothes for the office, then if she has a lunch date, she’ll change for lunch and might change again for an evening event. If she has a Facebook Live, she will change again. “I need a lot of clothes that are easy to get in and out of,” she said. For now, she’s not doing eveningwear but plans to eventually. She’d also like to design accessories and intimate apparel.
Stewart will appear on QVC on Thursday at 10 p.m. along with models, to give a first look at select items. She’ll then show the entire collection on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.
Worldwide, QVC engages shoppers via 15 TV channels reaching more than 360 million homes, seven web sites and 195 social pages.
In addition to apparel, Stewart is working with her favorite vendors developing pastries and other gourmet foods. “It’s to help the home cook,” she said, noting that she’ll sell pie crusts that one can take out of the freezer and make a pie. She’s also working with “delicious meats, such as Pat LaFrieda, who supplies many of the great restaurants.” She’ll have hors d’oeuvres, a big bestseller on QVC, and will work with Stewart’s library of recipes. In the beauty arena, Stewart has a special arrangement with Mario Badescu skin care and will present what women need in their skin-care regimen throughout the decades. She has personally used Badescu products for 50 years. She plans to eventually add other beauty products as well.
As for why she’s excited about the QVC platform, Stewart talked about the complications that brick-and-mortar stores are facing with the onslaught on Amazon. “You can’t learn about skin care in a few minutes when you go to a counter at Bloomingdale’s. Why not learn why you’re enjoying television, and learn about something good? This is like my old TV show. It’s just like doing my informational television show. That’s what’s so amazing about it,” she said.
She said she looks forward to teaching women about new products and discoveries. “The Martha Stewart brand reaches about 100 million people every month with the television, with our books, with the magazine, with everything that we do. It’s a huge audience. They’re going to learn. Just how they learned from me in the past, they’re going to learn from me now about other things,” said Stewart, whose company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was sold to Sequential Brands Group Inc. in 2015.
In addition, Stewart said, it’s additive to what she already has at Macy’s, which is kitchenware and home. “This is additive, it’s not competitive,” Stewart said.
Stewart will design at least four apparel collections for QVC a year. With holiday and beach, it’ll probably be six. Most of the production is done in Asia.
With all these products and introductions, it looks like Stewart will be making a lot of trips to QVC headquarters in West Chester, Pa. “Oh gosh,” she said. “Maybe they’ll move the studio to New York.”