If you figured that Martha Stewart was in a hurry to start her five-month prison stint last week just to put this all behind her, you may be surprised to know that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
This week the company announced that it was expanding its line of furniture products, which are produced as part of a licensing deal with Bernhardt Furniture. While the new items won't hit the market until March -- just as Martha completes the jailed portion of her sentence -- it's as good a sign as any that the company won't be laying low.
That's the irony in all this. Despite the fact that Martha has been raked through the coals by the media -- many lacking a clear understanding as to what she did exactly -- her company's stock has been resilient.
When David Gardner recommended the stock in the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter back in November 2002, it was seen as a contrarian pick. It proved to be an excellent bargain in the single digits. While David went on to recommend the sale of the stock after some healthy gains, it has continued to appreciate. It has more than doubled since David's original recommendation as the company has navigated the storm with relative ease.
Merchandising has been the key. While a lot of that can be attributed to the revival at retail partner Kmart
That's why even though consumers haven't seen her at her best lately, her goods are still selling briskly.
It will definitely be interesting come March, as her company is working with Survivor creator Mark Burnett on a prime-time series for next year. If he was able to make the country embrace Donald Trump as an icon of wealth creation despite doom and gloom over Trump's own casino operations, one has to wonder what he can do to weave Martha even deeper into the pop-culture fabric.
As for Martha now, word has it that she's working on penning her memoirs while in jail. Can you come down with writer's block in a cellblock? Between the book and the furniture, I guess she's really going to take it out on trees in 2005. Her memoirs should be huge next year, but the way the company is moving along, it wants to make sure that it's even bigger.
Do you think that Martha Stewart will be more popular next year? Are you into arts and crafts yourself? Can you out-Martha Martha? All this and more in the Crafty Fools discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz sympathizes with Martha and he'll even buy her book if she actually writes it. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.