Watch out Delia; move over Nigella. Martha Stewart, the erstwhile disgraced diva of US domesticity, has designs on your kitchens. The American cultural icon and former jailbird, who has spent nearly three decades coaching women across the Atlantic on how to keep the perfect home, is preparing an assault on these shores, starting with a British version of her phenomenally popular Martha Stewart Living magazine.
The launch next month is part of a global plan to sow the Stewart seed, which is once again thriving despite the stint its procreator served behind bars in 2004 for insider trading. Her plans for the UK include four magazines that will dish out advice on everything from recipes to weddings; a kitchen-full of Martha Stewart-licensed products; and her own television show.
Stewart, 69, who controls all aspects of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, despite being barred from running it until 2011 because of her conviction, claimed she was feeding a latent British appetite for her take on domestic life. "Whenever I travel abroad, I meet many people who love our magazines and want them where they live. I'm delighted to be offering our informative and inspiring creative content to a new and growing audience of consumers who are passionate about cooking ... crafting, weddings and more," she said.
One potential flaw in her plan, which will pitch her head to head with our own domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson, in the pots and pans department, is that last time Ms Stewart tried to enter the UK she was barred. Her visa was blocked two years ago when she had hoped to come for a business trip to film a series of segments at the likes of the Wedgwood potteries in Stoke-on-Trent and Daylesford Organic farm store. Her British publisher, Michelle Grant, said yesterday that while broadcasting commitments would keep Stewart from coming to the UK for the launch of her magazine, she was planning to visit "within the next six months". Ms Grant added: "Judging by the amount of interest we've had so far she'll have to stay a long time."
It remains to be seen whether Stewart's apple-pie take on life will find favour in Britain. The first issue, out on 16 September, will be heavy on Halloween content. It hopes to hit a circulation of 50,000, some way shy of the 11 million copies it sells every month in the US, where it is hard to avoid Stewart's clutches. As well as her updates to her two million followers on Twitter, she recently extended her reach with the launch of a line for the pet-care retailer PetSmart. Even so, her firm sank to an operating loss of $12m (£7.6m) last year on revenues of $249m.
Among the gems of advice Stewart, who served only five months in prison, likes to dish out are tips such using a pair of nail scissors to snip around egg whites to create the ideal eggs Benedict. Then there's her tip for keeping on top of your house: "Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where it should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same."Reuse content