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Larry King Live

Marth Stewart Discusses the Business Ventures That Made Her a Billionaire

Aired February 2, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Martha Stewart joins us, her first live, in-depth interview since she became a billionaire. That's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's rare when someone becomes larger than themselves. We're back in New York tonight, and our special guest for the hour is Martha Stewart. We'll be including your phone calls. She is an entity. She is a business. She is a person. She is a thing. She is a -- what's it like to have waken up in the morning worth, according to -- on October 19 -- this is what we've learned, you woke up in the morning worth $250 million, went to bed worth $1.6 billion. What was that like?

MARTHA STEWART, CHAIRMAN & CEO, MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA INC.: Well, sort of exciting, and certainly rewarding, and certainly felt good that finally, you know, my company was worth what I thought it was.

KING: Did it change your life any?

STEWART: Oh, not at all. I've only worked harder since, and haven't had a chance, not even a minute, to spend any money, so.

KING: It is paper, though, right? I mean, it breeds off of -- you don't walk around with it?

STEWART: Well, as a shareholder in the company and restricted, I have not even been able to sell a share of stock, so it's like -- and I chose not to sell any in the offering. So it hasn't change one iota, Larry?

KING: Was this a goal of yours? Did Martha Stewart always want the a business?

STEWART: I always wanted to work toward a goal. I didn't know -- I wasn't working toward the goal of mine so much as the goal of a successful entrepreneurial venture that really serve and purpose. I've always said that to you. You know, I've always said that.

KING: At what age did this start? Were you thinking like this when you were a teenager? Did you do things in high school to...

STEWART: Well, I've always liked to work for the reward of satisfaction and the reward of some monetary gain, because you know, if you're going to work, you might as well get paid for your work. I feel that sincerely, and then you can always give back. But it wasn't always -- it wasn't driven by any specific kind of goal as much by a self-motivation to learn, and to teach, and to do, and to succeed, and to help others and create a lot of really great information that other people could use.

KING: Our guest is Martha Stewart. We're going to cut for a minute and go to Port Huenneme, California. Carl Rochelle is standing by with some late information on the crash of that Alaska Airlines plane -- Carl.

CARL ROCHELLE,CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Larry, the information is that the researchers, the investigators, those people looking in the water, have found the cockpit voice recorder, cockpit voice recorder recovered, one of the two black boxes as well there. There was optimism expressed by John Hammerschmidt, the National Transportation Safety Board member, earlier today that they would be, in fact, lucky and perhaps could find one of those boxes before the day was over. Well, in fact, they have done that. We believe it was recovered by the Kellie Chouest, the commercial diving ship that has been in the operation.

Recovered -- we expect the National Transportation Safety Board to come here a bit from now and give us absolute confirmation of what they have done.

Now here's what will happen: That box will be taken in its orange cover and transported back to Washington, to the National Transportation Safety Board's labs there, and the information that is on that will be recovered. It will be verbatim, and of course the investigators will listen to that for clues of what was going on in the cockpit, the conversations between the pilot and the copilot as that plane was in trouble with the horizontal stabilizer trim control jammed, and they were trying to deal with that.

So anyway, Larry, the cockpit voice recorder -- good news that it has been found, has been recovered, and it should be on its way back to the labs very soon, Larry.

KING: Thanks very much, Carl, a licensed himself, one of the best journalists in aviation.

You fly a lot, right, I guess?

STEWART: Oh, all the time.

KING: We flew today. We got a bouncy landing in New York. You've got to think about it. That has to be...

STEWART: It's scary, sure.

KING: ... the worst thing imaginable.

You've got a new thing, a flower service. We want to talk about that. Every time you read about you, there's something new. What was the thing that got you started? How did the country get to know you?

STEWART: I think by my first book, "Entertaining." That was in 1982. And I wasn't famous enough to be on the "LARRY KING" show at that time.

KING: The book was called "Entertaining."


KING: What were you doing up to that -- how did you get the book sold? How'd you get published?

STEWART: Well, I was a caterer, and I was doing a lot of parties in New York. The publisher was one of my clients, and he was also a friend of the family, and he believed in the fact that people needed a really good book about entertaining, and so that's how it started.

KING: And from there...

STEWART: Yes, once you write the book, even the first book, you are perceived as an expert, people start to listen to you, and it was -- it's been uphill ever since.

KING: You've gone way beyond catering, though.

STEWART: Oh, yes. I don't even cater anymore -- I can't. But no, it's much different now. It's a publishing business. It's a television show daily, a couple of times a day.

KING: You're on every day, got your own show.


KING: A new book out on weddings, right?


KING: You're an entity.

STEWART: Well, we try. We're a company.

KING: There's the cover of the new book. It is "The Best of Martha Story Living." This one is called "Weddings." This one what? How to plan a wedding? How to do a wedding?

STEWART: Oh yes. It's sequel to my 1986 book, which I did come on your show for, I remember, and this is the sequel. We now have a "Weddings" magazine that's published four times a year called "Martha Stewart Weddings," and this has a lot of the material that appeared in those issues for the last five years, and a lot of new stuff. Beautiful. And it's really devoted to the organization of a wedding.

KING: How do you get to know what you know? I mean, you know so many things about -- you know how to make lasagna, and you know how the put together a...

STEWART: Well, how do you know what you know? You know so much.

KING: No, I ask. I am curious about things.

STEWART: Well, I am, too. I am extremely curious, and I learn something new every day, which is one of our real mottoes. And to learn something new every day is a goal of mine. Today, we had this great guy on, and I learned all about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, and theology and all of the great stuff that has to go with the understanding of words. And so I try every single day to try to do something that is just kind of awe inspiring to me. We had the chef from the Four Seasons restaurant, and he was making his delicious cookies, which I've been eating for years and not really knowing how to make his particular kind of cookies. So every day I go from, like making cookies to talking about the dictionary, the great dictionary, to making a weddings bouquet, to talking about the right kind of house plants for the right kind of conditions. So it's a very, very varied business that I am in, and it's a lot of fun.

KING: By the way, what makes a good caterer?

STEWART: A good caterer is someone who pays attention to what the customer wants, what the customer likes, and then does a better job than the customer can imagine.

KING: The caterer brings food the customer wants, not what the caterer wants.

STEWART: Exactly.

KING: Some caters don't know that, right?

STEWART: Oh yes, definitely.

KING: You will definitely have this...

STEWART: Oh yes. That's why you have to know your customer, too, and you have to really pay attention.

KING: As we go to break, here's a historic moment in Martha Stewart's life. She rings the bell the day her company goes public. Watch.


KING: We're back with Martha Stewart.

By the way, what is -- your company is what? How is it listed?

STEWART: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, MSO on the New York Stock Exchange.

KING: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

STEWART: Right. KING: And you press a button, you don't ring a bell, right?

STEWART: Exactly, yes. I wanted to, you know, hit a bell.

KING: There used to be clang, right?

STEWART: Yes it was, and they actually give you the gavel, but then you press a button.

KING: Was that a hoot to do that?

STEWART: It was a big hoot. It was very -- we were all euphoric. It was really a very exciting day.

KING: Now let's discuss certain aspects. The Internet -- how do you use it?

STEWART: I use it every single day.

KING: You have your own Web site?

STEWART: We have Martha Stewart Living or, and you...

KING: People come in for what?

STEWART: Well, it originally started as a recipe guide for our television show, because we couldn't really tell you every ingredient. So we would have photographs on the Web site. We would have all the sources, the ingredients, the instructions; all the craft projects would be delineated really very clearly. Then we started to add other aspects of the -- to the Web site, and now it is a full Web site. We have our Internet commerce. We have a wonderful, wonderful "Martha by mail" business.

KING: Martha by mail?

STEWART: Yes, it's a catalog, a catalog that's a paper catalog and also an e-commerce business.

KING: So I can punch you up and look at the thing, or turn the page?

STEWART: No. You can get the catalog in the mail. We mail to -- 15 times a year, 15 million copies of the catalog, and we are also on the Web, 1,200 products right now. And more -- you know, that's growing very rapidly, and it's wonderful stuff, very unique and terrific things, everything from garden clogs, which we've designed, to kitchen kits and to -- and glassware, and dishes and things for the home, things that are very useful for the homemaker.

KING: Why do we -- and it's growing all the time -- like to buy either by a machine or a catalog? Just because it's convenient? Or is there some other kick to this?

STEWART: Well, I think it's -- first of all, it's -- e-commerce is new, so I think people are very intrigued that they can be at home and look at a screen, see the products, and order -- click, click, click --- you know, it's kind of nice.

KING: Credit card number and delivered in two...


STEWART: Right, right. Or quicker if you want. Sometimes FedEx will do it or UPS will do it much quicker.

but it's also that it's -- it's more of a convenience I think than anything else.

KING: Yes, but some people might -- my daughter is a catalog freak. There are catalog freaks.

STEWART: Well, catalogs have been around a long time. I mean, remember Sears catalog?

KING: Right. What is the kick of it? The ease? The turning the page?

STEWART: I think it's the immense variety, the immense ability to choose what you want exactly.

KING: All from a picture though?

STEWART: Yes, all from a picture.

KING: So it better work when it gets there, though.

STEWART: Well, If it doesn't work, then you can return; most catalogs and e-commerce companies allow you to return.

KING: What I invest -- if I have Martha Stewart stock, your company is doing what? Am I into everything you're into?

STEWART: You're into all of my Omnimedia yes, and so you're into publishing, you're into television, you're into the Internet, and you're into bigtime merchandising. Last year, we sold more than a billion dollars worth of merchandise to the mass market, through K- Mart and through other retail channels in America.

KING: Are you going to have a Martha Stewart line of clothing?

STEWART: We haven't decided yet.

KING: It seems logical.

STEWART: Well, it could be. We do our garden shoes. We do things that are useful for the gardener, for certain things in the kitchen, but I am not a fashion person. This is not about fashion, what we're doing. This is about usefulness, practicality, the things that you really need and things that you really want. So it's not about fashion. It's not about going out of date. Everything that we do is for evergreen use and never, ever going out of date. KING: If it's a recipe under your name, have you cooked it?

STEWART: Pretty much, yes.

KING: You can't have done everything.

STEWART: Not every recipe, but pretty much all of them. And if I haven't cooked them, unfortunately I've eaten them, I mean fortunately, but also unfortunately.

KING: Also unfortunately.


KING: Is it tough to have a private life when you're so entrepreneurially oriented.

STEWART: Well, it's tough to even have a telephone conversation.

KING: Do you date?-

STEWART: Yes, I go out. I have a very nice group of friends that I see. But I can't date every night. I can't go out every day. I have a lot of stuff to do. But we -- I have time for my friends.

KING: You're not a "What makes Martha run?" are you, or are you?

STEWART: What does that mean?

KING: Like "What makes Sammy run?" In other words, are you goal-oriented, that there has to be something new all the time, you have to be driven to something -- one billion would have to be two billion, two billion will have to be five billion?

STEWART: No, no, it's really I am task-oriented. I like being task-oriented. I like having something to do and completing a task, but I also like to think a lot, and I like to conceptualize, and those thoughts and those concepts usually turn into something good for us.

KING: Do you like running a company?

STEWART: I like running a company.

KING: Do you like the responsibility of being a public company?

STEWART: I've always wanted to be a public company, and it's -- I am not fearful of it. People say, oh, why did you want to be a public company? You're under such scrutiny, but really and truly, I think we are such a good company, and I think that we will follow that very, you know, important Wall Street credo of always under promise over-deliver; that's what we're going to try to do always, of course.

KING: How is the stock doing?

STEWART: Well, it's been doing well. Of course, it's not at its highest. KING: Well, it always levels off, right?

STEWART: Yes, it's leveled off.

KING: What did it open at?

STEWART: It open at 38, and it's now at about 23 or 24. I didn't look at it today.

KING: So it's down.

STEWART: Well, it's down, but it's up from the offering, which was was 18. So we're still just fine.

KING: We'll be back with more of Martha Stewart on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. She's got a new thing with flowers. Are you shocked? We'll talk about that. We'll take can your calls as well.

Don't go away.


STEWART: Molded pancakes like these were first popularized by maple syrup companies who created molds as promotional products in the '40s and the '50s. And these molds are made out of cast aluminum with wood handles. But look how easy it is to make real pretty pancakes, which have kind of beautiful designs in them if you look closely with a mold.

Well, before these get too dark, get them right on to a nice, warm plate. Sever with a little heart-shaped butter. These are very cute. And lots of the best grade A maple syrup.





There are a lot of charming traditions associated with Cupid's holiday -- fine Belgian chocolates, French champagne, and of course, these delightfully nostalgic candy hearts.

But today on "Living," we'll celebrate what I feel is the real essence of Valentine's Day: loneliness and shame. I'll show you some innovative ways to enjoy this holiday solo, by yourself, in the deafening silence of your own home.

A terrific way to combat Valentine's depression is to treat yourself to an erotic cake. I modeled this almond sponge cake after Michelangelo's David.

Now that's a sweet piece of ass.



STEWART: I hadn't seen that.

KING: Do you get a kick when they do -- you hadn't seen that?

STEWART: No, I hadn't.

KING: Do you get a kick when they do you, or not?

STEWART: Oh yes, my gosh, yes, if it's not too bad.

KING: It's flattering.

STEWART: Yes, it is. I mean, any kind of good parody is good.

KING: "Saturday Night Live," though, you're a frequent target, if that's the favored word.

STEWART: Yes, I know. They have never asked me to host. I don't know why.

KING: No. They should. Would you?

STEWART: Oh, yes, it's the greatest.

KING: They should.

STEWART: I have been watching "Saturday Night Live" for many, many years and I like it.

KING: Any danger, Martha, in I guess they call it the Pierre Cardin symbol where -- Pierre Cardin made socks, he made shoes, he made kneecaps, he made Dr. Scholl's living -- too much, too much?

STEWART: Well, really and truly I don't think we really risk that problem, because everything that we do put our name on is designed by us. It's not like just a licensing deal.

KING: You don't license yourself.

STEWART: No, no, we have never licensed ourselves. And it's a misconception in the public, people think that, oh, we just sign our name on a contract. But we could be much, much, much richer if we had done that, but we don't do that at all. We have a design team at Martha Stewart Living right here on 42nd Street in New York. We design everything that we sell.

KING: So I can't put out a Martha Stewart shirt?


KING: That you license me to make?

STEWART: No, no, because up until now -- and I don't know if it's going to change, I don't think so, we don't have any plans to change --nothing that we make, nothing that we sell has not been really designed by us.

KING: In fact, true, I know that the parent company of this company, Time-Warner. you bought your magazines back from them, right?

STEWART: I did, yes. I did, and that was two years ago.

KING: Why?

STEWART: Well, they didn't really want to go the whole route of Omnimedia with me. Really and truly they were -- my division of Time was a publishing division. They really didn't want to do all the product.

And yet, you know, two years later, many of their magazines are doing exactly what we were doing. They're doing spin-offs. They're doing product, they're done their Web sites. They're doing everything. They have used us as a very good example, actually, and I think that that's what we have been for a lot of other companies, media companies, a good example of what really you can do with Omnimedia.

KING: What do you make of the proposed AOL merger?

STEWART: Oh, I think it's a very, very excellent move. It's -- again, using -- if you want to think about it, what we have done with Omnimedia and content is exactly what now AOL and Time is doing, creating content with media.

KING: There's no telling where all of this is going, is there? Parts of it are unpredictable.

STEWART: It's terribly unpredictable. I mean, who knows who is going to be the big store on the Web. Who knows who is going to be the real success. It's very exciting. Every day something new happens, a new association, a new affiliation happens. I'm really excited about it.

KING: You like all of these mergers?

STEWART: I -- well, I don't know if I like all the mergers, but I do like all the action. I really like what's happening, the thoughtfulness and the unthoughtfulness -- it's exciting.

KING: More on Martha Stewart, more on her new flower business, an aspect of her business, and your phone calls as well. This is LARRY KING LIVE.

Tomorrow night, Steve and Cokie Roberts will be here, and Friday night it's Ronald Reagan's 89th birthday, family and friends pay a tribute. We'll be right back.


KING: Later we'll talk about the flower thing, but Valentine's Day -- now you always get hopped into a holiday, right? So I know you'll have -- there is a million Martha Stewart things, baking cookies and all the things you do. You can expand on that, right?

STEWART: Well, yes. Well, say -- take Valentine's Day. That's a single idea, maybe. But it could also be a gigantic idea, so on the cover of our magazine is a beautiful cookie heart, a wonderful recipe, and also the shape of a heart, and then we go with that into the magazine and we create all kinds of Valentine's desserts, then we go on the television program and we do a whole week of Valentine's ideas for your sweetheart, everything from the Necco (ph) -- little Necco candies, which I saw were on that "Saturday Night Live."

KING: "Saturday Night Live."


STEWART: Now I have to cancel that segment on my show. They're very prescient, those people over there, but it was very funny. But then we'll take it to television, then we'll do columns on Valentine's Day on our -- in our newspaper column, but not being repetitive as much as being interrelated.

KING: But very commercial, right? I mean, this is -- isn't it? I mean...

STEWART: What do you mean commercial?

KING: Valentine's Day is just supposed to be about love.

STEWART: Well, that's all it is. That's all we're talking about is love and the history of Valentine's Day.

KING: But buy the chocolates, buy the cards, buy the...

STEWART: No, no, we don't tell them to buy anything. We're not telling them to buy anything except flowers, flowers.

KING: The magazine. All right. Now what's this flower business? We'll see some later, but what is this?

STEWART: The flower business is just an amazing complicated business.

KING: How did you decide to get into it?

STEWART: Well, I have always wanted to do flowers, and I wanted to do them in a different way. With the Internet it really makes it very impossible to do...

KING: Because you can show them.

STEWART: Well, you can show them. You can show exactly what they look like if you get a really good digital photographer, which we have. You photograph the individual bloom, you photograph the arrangement, you create the containers, it's what everybody has been doing. KING: What is your business? What do -- how do I purchase your flowers?

STEWART: Well, it's -- OK. Well, you can call up on an 800 number or you can access our Web site and go to or

KING: And what -- you order like a dozen roses?

STEWART: No, not a dozen. The whole idea of it is to order growers bunches of the freshest most beautiful flowers. Growers bunches, depending on the kind of flowers, say roses come in bunches of 25 right from the grower. So in Ecuador, or in Columbia, South America, or in Holland, or in France, the growers will cut 25 roses.

KING: I order it through you?

STEWART: Yes. You will wrap them -- they wrap them beautifully. They package them. They keep them in a hydrator, they send them to our fulfillment center down in Florida to Miami. They go through customs. So they pick them yesterday, they're in Miami tomorrow, we send them out tomorrow to you and you get them on the second day.

KING: You're the middle man?

STEWART: Well, I'm the...

KING: You're never touching the roses?

STEWART: Well, no, but -- make sure they're the right rose.

KING: And then you show them on the Internet how to arrange them and...

STEWART: Oh, yes, and in the box, too. In these beautiful boxes you'll get all the instructions, but you have to take care of them. You have to learn how to nurture those roses. So you get this big bunch of roses, they're beautiful, 25 or 50. You have to cut them underwater. We give you the instruction. You cut them underwater because the first gasp that rose is going to get is going to be water. You don't want it to get air.

KING: But guys doing this for girls are just going to send them the roses, right?


KING: The women will do the cutting?

STEWART: Well, hopefully. But hopefully if the girls send them to the guys, the guys will learn about roses.

KING: How did you get this idea to go to the grower and have the grower come to...

STEWART: Well, I always like to go to the wholesale market myself. I always like to go and see what's really available, what's the freshest, what's the best? And I always would buy in quantity, because I was a professional. I was a caterer.

KING: Is it costing you less to do it this way?

STEWART: Definitely was.

KING: Because there's no flower store.

STEWART: Definitely was. Twenty five roses for $58.

KING: You're kidding?

STEWART: Or 50 roses for $98. It's not very much money.

KING: Whoa.

STEWART: Larry, and these are big 60 to 70 centimeter roses.

KING: We'll be back with more of Martha Stewart, we'll include your phone calls, she's our guest for the hour. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


STEWART: May I show you how to pipe some ginosh on to a finished cookie?


STEWART: Come. Come, come, I'll show you what it is.

Here's the cookie, pretty nice, don't you think?

THE ROCK: That looks great.

STEWART: Rather large. If you want to decorate it for Valentine's Day you could use ginosh, so it's really just a little bit of melted chocolate with a little bit of cream, so it's nice and smooth.


STEWART: And it hardens as it sits on the cookie.

THE ROCK: Quickly.

STEWART: Yes. Now what's your wife's name?

THE ROCK: Her name is Dany, D-A-N-Y.

Very nice ginosh writing you have.

STEWART: You just have to have a steady hand and take your time.

THE ROCK: Can the Rock do like a little ginosh line? STEWART: I want you to do the edge, do a nice little scalloped edge all around.


STEWART: Oh, beautiful. See, pretty.



KING: Our guest, the incredible -- there's no other word for it -- Martha Stewart.

Let's take a call.

Crystal Beach, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Martha. You have so much going on today. Are you worried about becoming overexposed anytime soon?

STEWART: Oh, Larry just asked me...

KING: I asked about marketing yourself (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Pierre Cardin. How about just being overexposed, even with all your own stuff?

STEWART: Well, I hope I am not being overexposed. I hope we keep giving you really good information, and that you respond favorably and communicate with us if you want something else, and that's really what I'm hoping.

KING: There is a danger, though, in that, don't you think? You've got to watch yourself. You can't be Martha Stewart everywhere, can you? Or can you?

STEWART: Well, I don't really aim to be it everywhere at -- Martha Stewart everywhere. But in the areas where we have really spent a lot of time and dedicated ourselves -- and we consider like eight core areas -- I think there's no real danger of overexposing, as long as you are being trustworthy, and giving good information, good advice, I don't -- I can't imagine.

KING: Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hello.


Hi, Martha.


CALLER: Good. How are you?

I just wanted to ask that with your busy business schedule if you still have time to do the everyday things, like cooking, and cleaning and stuff like yourself, or do you have a staff that does it for you? STEWART: Well, both actually. I still do at of gardening. This morning, I was ordering my roses. It was getting a little late, and I got a little nervous. So I got on my exercise bike and went through all my rose catalogs and ordered all of the roses. And you know stuff like that, which gives me the most pleasure is, of course, what I want to do. And I spend a lot of time with my animals, and I still cook a lot.

KING: You love animals?

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: Are you -- everyone says -- print material says that you're a very tough taskmaster. Are you? Are you a perfectionist?

STEWART: Oh yes, yes indeed.

KING: Would you say you would be hard to work for you?

STEWART: No, I have 450 people that work for me, and many of them have worked for me for a very long time.

KING: So you don't have large turnovers -- I am quitting today, Martha, you're terrible?

STEWART: No, no, not at all. If people really can't, sort of, do what they have to do, they know it real soon, and they're just not right for the company, but that's the kind of company we have.

KING: But you wouldn't say, if you do your job, you're tough?

STEWART: Nope. If you do your job, I love you.

KING: Windsor, Ontario, with Martha Stewart, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


Lots of Canada.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Hi, Martha.


CALLER: Being a former stockbroker, do you find yourself checking your stocks frequently during the day, and do you feel personally responsible if the stock declines at all?

STEWART: Well, it's funny, the first day that we went public, I didn't even look at the price of the stock. I kind of forgot, and I do not check every day. I am pretty hard-nosed about that, because I know how well we're doing, and I know how good the company is, and I don't have to check the price of the stock every day. There's lot of other factors that make stocks go up and down.

KING: Here's another critique of yours that our spies give us: that you recommend doing things most people would never have the time or inclination to do, like gluing buttons on light bulbs. You did that in a recent magazine. On a Web site now, there are tips on how to make your own tubes and pots of lip balm? This is a put-on right?

STEWART: No, people do that...

KING: Lip balm is 25 cents.

STEWART: No it's not. Have you checked the price lately?

KING: No, I don't buy it lip balm.

STEWART: It's much, much more expensive than that, and this is a very nice health...

KING: Make your own lip balm.

STEWART: Yes, health -- soap -- you -- we sell so many soap- making kits.

KING: Soap-making kits?

STEWART: It makes me smile, because when I...

KING: Soap is three bars for a what?

STEWART: Well, it depends on what kind of soap, not homemade soap, not beautiful...

KING: Is homemade soap better?

STEWART: Oh yes, definitely.

But, Larry, people love little tasks. They love little crafts. They -- not everything we suggest is difficult. We have a whole lot of things we call good things that are not so complicated to do. And a lot of people really get a lot of enjoyment really out of just understanding how things are done and not actually ever making them themselves, but there's a lot of people out there, including children, who are making a lot of stuff.

KING: By the way, the flowers, and we'll show you some later, are It's an online service; people order fresh roses. That's the newest thing from Martha Stewart, America's newest billionaire.

Mineola, Long Island, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Martha.

STEWART: Hi, how are you?

CALLER: OK. It's just an honor to talk to you, and I'd like to really congratulate you on all your success.

STEWART: Thank you very much.

CALLER: I've been watching you for many, many years, ever since your earlier cable programs, and I subscribe to your magazines, and I own all your books, and I even had a virtual tour of your studios on the Web site.

STEWART: That's great.

CALLER: And all that time, I've never seen nor have I even heard you mention a microwave oven. And I was wondering, do you own one, and do you ever use it?

STEWART: Well actually, I do own one. I think I own two. I don't use it a lot. I've never gotten into the habit of using a microwave. We use at the studio quite often for things like melting chocolate and quick tasks like that, but I would rather boil a pot of water actually for my tea than put a cup of water into the microwave.

KING: You're not a microwave fan?

STEWART: No, it's not that; I just don't do it.

KING: By the way, are recipes original, or do people steal recipes from other people?

STEWART: I think recipes are sort of evolved. You know, nothing is really...

KING: I mean, I can look at something of yours and say, gee, that looks similar to what Bertolo Bertoconni (ph) wrote in his New Orleans book 11 years ago.

STEWART: You could. You might.

Things evolve. I think that this whole thing about borrowing recipes from another is kind of passe now, with the advent of the Internet and...

KING: I mean, I can't copyright two pinches of salt?

STEWART: But you can copyright recipes.

KING: You can?

STEWART: Yes. And I don't think that anyone publishes recipes verbatim without risks of infringing the copyright.

KING: What's the toughest thing about the magazine business, which I'm told is maybe the toughest business in the world to start up? The odds are always against you.

STEWART: Well, what I think the toughest thing is, is just keeping up content with advertising. We have a very wonderful problem. We have a lot of fantastic advertisers in the magazine, and they all want to be in the magazine because they've had a very successful response rate from our readers. So keeping up editorial content, creating enough content to go with all of those ads is quite a big problem for...

KING: You have to know your reader, right?

STEWART: Oh, yes. You have to know your reader. You have to know what that reader really wants. We pay a lot of attention to our readers, to all our customers and every one of our businesses. To me, the very most important thing we do is respond to those customers.

KING: More with Martha Stewart on LARRY KING LIVE.

Tomorrow night, Steve and Cokie Roberts. He writes and broadcasts. She writes and broadcasts. They both write books. We'll talk politics and other things.

We'll be right back.


KING: Don't leave us, because before the show is over we're going to show you some of the things Martha does with flowers.

Let's take a call, Ellijay, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Martha, I would like to ask you how would you like to be remembered? And I have seen you cooking with your mother on television. What is the role of your family in your outstanding businesses?

STEWART: Well, mom is a regular contributor as are many of my nieces and nephews. Nephew Christopher has been on those Kmart commercials. He really is my nephew. He really is a Yale student, and he's a wonderful musician. We're very family kind of people.

KING: Your daughter involved at all?

STEWART: Alexis is on the -- but you don't know about her, OK? She's a big contributor, a very...

KING: What do you mean I don't know about her?

STEWART: No, no, I mean you don't see her.

KING: But she's involved?

STEWART: Yes. She's very private and she's...

KING: And how do you want to be remembered?

STEWART: I want to be remembered as a really good teacher and a provider of really good information for the home, the homemaker, for good living. KING: Were you split from your daughter for a while? I know some of the tabloids reported that you had a conflict with the daughter?

STEWART: Oh, no, never. No, no, no, never split from my daughter.

KING: So when the tabloids say that you fire people...

STEWART: I split from my husband.

KING: Your husband you split with, your daughter not?

STEWART: Never, no.

KING: Does it bother you when the tabloids go off on you?

STEWART: It did for a while, but now I am kind of used to it. I think it goes with the territory and I just don't read it anymore.

KING: Ever think of suing?


KING: You did. Lost or won or...

STEWART: We settled.

KING: Akron, Ohio, hello?

CALLER: Hi, Martha.


CALLER: I have read in a various magazine that you only sleep about four to five hours a night. How do you function all day with all your many activities?

STEWART: Well, I'm finding that I just don't need a lot of sleep.

KING: By the way, is that true?

STEWART: Yes, yes.

KING: Four to five?

STEWART: Yes. Sometimes less. But it's -- I don't need a lot of sleep. I also am very good at cat napping, so I can cat nap in the car if I am coming -- you know, tonight from Connecticut we worked all day in the studio and I came down here, I can cat nap sometimes if I don't have too many phone calls or things to read. So I'm good at that. But some people need a lot of sleep; some people don't.

KING: Are people always pitching you? I have got something to sell, here's a great idea. This is a product you ought to get on to. STEWART: Maybe between 10 and 100 pitches a day.

KING: For all kinds of things?

STEWART: All kinds of -- very interesting things sometimes.

KING: You ever buy any?

STEWART: Sometimes.

KING: I mean, if someone has something interesting you would be silly as a good entrepreneur to pass it up.

STEWART: Oh, yes. But it's not a question of just buying, it's also pitches for appearances on the television show, just like you probably get a million pitches to be on Larry King, wow, yes.

KING: The producers get them, yes.

STEWART: So we have all that kind of stuff coming in all the time, and it makes a big difference -- I mean, if someone who is on the show -- if a restaurant is on the show or a business, a small business, it's a big difference afterward for them, so I like to help people like that.

KING: By the way, when someone gets an image whether true or not of being tough, and hard and very -- by that I mean, you know, very stick-to-it-ivism and professional and perfectionist, do you find you intimidate people, do you think?

STEWART: I think probably because I am a perfectionist, I might make people nervous, some people who get nervous because of that. But in a business being a perfectionist is really important.

You just don't want to -- I mean, it's like if you're going to make a wedding cake for somebody, that better be the best wedding cake you can possibly create, because why disappoint? You know, make that perfect cake. You don't want to send something out that's kind of sloppy. When you're doing a television show the same thing. My -- I am not a comedian. I am a teacher. A teacher has to really put forth good quality information. You don't want to tell a lie, so you don't want to make something sloppy.

KING: Considering the wedding, by the way, and one of the more expensive aspects of the father of a daughter's life, can you make really good inexpensive weddings?

STEWART: Absolutely.

KING: Can you put together a really super wedding that doesn't cost $200 a person?

STEWART: Oh, yes. Oh, $200 is cheap, Larry. Where have you been? Yes, $200 is cheap.

KING: You can put together low-cost weddings? STEWART: Oh, you can, absolutely. A lot of things can be done by one's self, by one's family. You can create a very, very nice wedding for less than $200 a person, but that's modest compared to what a lot of people are spending these days.

KING: Like what's a typical big wedding cost?

STEWART: Oh, hundreds of thousands of dollars now some of these big weddings, but I would say an average -- an average wedding when I wrote my first book in 1986 was $30,000. And now it's way, way more than that, probably more around $80,000.

KING: You're right. I just thought of my daughter's wedding, hit it on the head.

STEWART: Eighty?

KING: Yes, right in there. Why didn't I know you better? We'll be right back with more of Martha Stewart. In a little while you'll see some flowers. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, in some circles it's reported that she has passed Oprah Winfrey as the most successful self-made woman in this country. Do you think about that a lot?



KING: You weren't born with anything, right?

STEWART: No, no. No family money, no borrowed money, no -- it's all been pretty much self-made.

KING: Do you have a lot of advisers?

STEWART: I have a real good team of executives working with me at Martha Stewart Living, and we work together to really create this amazing company.

KING: What have you had come out that didn't work?

STEWART: Oh, somebody asked me that the other day and we really couldn't think of a real good answer.

KING: No, you didn't have like a spatula no one liked, possibly a cheese board that just didn't move? I'm having a little fun with you.

STEWART: No, you know, products are -- yes -- products are kind of odd, because you can have them in the catalog. They may or may not sell. They may not be the hot sellers, OK, and then you put them on the Internet, and they're fantastic or vice versa. It's a very different audience both... KING: Your magazines all do well?

STEWART: Oh, yes, very well.

KING: Wooster, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hello.



CALLER: Hi, Martha.

STEWART: How are you?

CALLER: I love your smile. You're really...

KING: What's your question?

CALLER: ... good to look at. And I want to know do you advocate using pesticides on your garden, or do you do it naturally? And do you compost and recycle and take care of the environment that way?

STEWART: Personally I am a really good organic gardener, and I have been a big proponent of composting, of creating black gold for your garden. And our new line of Kmart garden products, too -- you know, this is a big thing we're launching next week.

KING: What?

STEWART: Kmart garden, it's a great big thing.

KING: Products like what?

STEWART: Wonderful products.

KING: Soil products?

STEWART: All kinds of seeds, all kinds of things to grow seeds, wonderful tools, wonderful pots, wonderful outdoor garden...

KING: You're a green thumb person?

STEWART: Oh, yes. I'm a green thumb person.

KING: And you hooked up with Kmart on this?

STEWART: On the garden, yes -- well, also bed and bath and also housewares, but the garden is an amazing thing and there we really have chosen to do everything organically. Wonderful things like arbor kelp for growing your trees, it's made out of seaweed, things like microbes for your garden that will -- little microbes that go in and break up the soil and make the roots grow better. This is all kinds of stuff that we're really involved in. KING: You are amazing. We are going to take a break and come back, and show you Martha Stewart's latest -- well, I thought it was her latest venture -- flowers was last week. Next week is garden supplies. In two weeks, what? Build a shuttle mission. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: OK, when you order the flowers, here's how they come in the box right from Ecuador or Holland.

STEWART: Absolutely. And then you get...

KING: Now we got in front of us?

STEWART: ... and then you get a rose like this. You get 25 or 50 of these.

Now, it looks, you know, smallish, the head looks....

KING: No bloom.

STEWART: No, but no, but look at -- they open up in one day. They --that rose looks like this, and you have to cut it. We give you all the instructions because this is -- this is what I'm all about -- is about step-by-step learning.

You cut underwater. The plant, the flower drinks water, not air. So then the head of the rose just perks up. And they're always shipped with these guard pedals. People say, oh, I don't want roses with that -- you know, when you go to the -- to the market.

But instead you -- we -- you can take these off yourself. But these protect the head of the rose.

So these are all the kinds of things that we're telling people.

KING: And these are the little arrangements?

STEWART: Oh yes -- well, but you don't buy...


STEWART: ... the arrangements. These carnations...

KING: I wore the right shirt tonight.

STEWART: Yes, oh boy, perfect.

These carnations are so beautiful and these are available too by Martha's -- And they're just an amazing, beautiful arrangement of -- of an unusual variety.

KING: This is nice.

STEWART: Yes, isn't that pretty? See, big roses and little roses. That's one of our Valentine's offerings.

KING: Yes.

STEWARD: So these are the kinds of things...

KING: And this is like tiered.

STEWART: Yes, I know -- that vase -- do you see that vase?

KING: I like that.

STEWART: I found the original in Holland a year ago, an antique 17th century vase, and we had it reproduced. And now that's the biggest seller right now on our Web site.

KING: This vase?

STEWART: That vase -- to go along with the gorgeous flowers.

KING: And of course there'd be no session with Martha Stewart complete without -- cookies...

STEWART: The giant cookies.

KING: ... that come out of your head. The giant cookies, all right.

Now, these obviously have butter and fat?

STEWART: Well they're gingerbread, you know...

KING: All right.

STEWART: Come on -- you -- you know...

KING: I'll take one bite.

STEWART: ... cookies are cookies.

You don't -- you should take one home to your wife.

KING: Oh, I will.

STEWART: Oh yes.

KING: Look at these.


KING: We'll give some to the crew here.

STEWART: And these are all with the cookie decorating kit. So you see you can -- and you can buy the cookies, too, now, undecorated and decorate them yourself.

KING: I tried that once with you... STEWART: I know. You were a disaster.

KING: ... and I made a mess. I was a disaster with the...

STEWART: But I bet your wife's not a disaster.

KING: No, she's a -- she's a whiz in the kitchen.

STEWART: You're lucky.

KING: So yes, I'll take these. These travel well, right?

STEWART: Oh yes.

KING: By the way, how long do cookies like this last?

STEWART: Oh, well, if it's gingerbread, it'll last a few weeks. It'll still be delicious.

KING: Why?

STEWART: Because it's full of spice. That's what spices do to dough. They -- it -- it's really is a preservative. Butter cookies like the one on your other hand, on your right hand, really won't last that long, maybe a week. but keep it wrapped up.

KING: So I can give one to my producer, and then...

STEWART: Definitely.

KING: ... one to the other producer...

STEWART: Definitely.

KING: ... and my lighting guy who kind of likes this.

STEWART: OK. And one's for you. That's from me...

KING: Ted likes this.

STEWART: ... to you right there.

KING: And this is from you to me, right?


KING: So I treasure this.

STEWART: It matches your shirt.

KING: This I give for the wife. And this -- here.

STEWART: OK. So even Larry King gets turned on by Valentine's day, don't you?

KING: Well... STEWART: I -- I hope you're going to...

KING: Well, I'm really not supposed to eat this.

STEWART: ...I hope you're going to order flowers. Now, can I tell you one complication about Valentine's Day? .

KING: Complication?

STEWART: It falls on a Monday.

KING: Correct.

STEWART: So you can't get flowers on a Monday that are the freshest flowers. I mean, I learned all of this. This is an amazing thing.


STEWART: So I would suggest that you...

KING: Get them Saturday?

STEWART: ... order your flowers for Friday delivery or Saturday delivery. You prepare them

KING: 11th or 12th?

STEWART: On the -- before -- yes, on the 11th or the 12th, because if you're going to get them on Monday, they've been sitting around someplace in a refrigerated or frozen truck.

KING: Good tip.

STEWART: Yes. So it's real complicated, this flower business and perishable business.

KING: Another thing about it, right...


KING: ... it dies. If it don't sell Monday, Tuesday it's gone.


KING: I mean the flower's...

STEWART: Yes, but I would rather -- wouldn't you rather your sweetheart have these roses opened like this on Monday and she got them and enjoyed them all day Saturday and Sunday?

I would. So it's a hint.

KING: No one -- so that's a hint. And the number to call to get them is...


KING: All right. What's going to follow Kmart?

STEWART: Oh, oh...

KING: What are you going to do after garden materials?

STEWART: We're doing housewares, and that's a launch in this fall, Many, many wonderful things for your kitchen. And...

KING: You mean like knife-fork things?

STEWART: Oh, yes. And pots and pans and dishes.

KING: Now what can you do different with a pot?

STEWART: Well, all...

KING: A Martha Stewart pot?

STEWART: All kinds of things. I mean, it has to do with what kind of pot, what kind of price, what kind of quality, what kind of color, all those things, and that's why having the design capabilities, you know, we do that, it's really important.

So we can change your -- the look of your whole kitchen by these --great -- this great stuff.

KING: You're an amazing woman, Martha.

STEWART: Well, thank you.

KING: I mean, you really are -- you keep on keeping on, don't you? I mean -- I mean, you're always thinking of something.

STEWART: Well, what's more beautiful than flowers? It's just the greatest thing. But then I think: Oh, what's more beautiful than vegetables from the seeds, you know? It keeps going on like that and like that.

KING: Now what did you just say? What's more beautiful than...

STEWART: What's more beautiful...

KING: ... vegetables from the seeds?

STEWART: Yes. Growing yourself.

KING: You don't think there are things more beautiful than vegetables from the seeds?

STEWART: Oh, a beautiful tomato? No way.

KING: How about a string bean?

STEWART: Delicious. KING: Nice, with the peas and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

Thank you, Martha.

STEWART: Thank you, Larry...

KING: And again...

STEWART: ... it's great to see you.

KING: ... for my wonderful crew, we will give them each a heart...

STEWART: Definitely.

KING: The flowers are beautiful we'll distribute. She's into everything. This is from you to me.

STEWART: Yes indeed -- no, no, the plaid one. That's...

KING: No, this is from you to me...

STEWART: ... yes, that's -- that's mine to you.

KING: This is me to the wife.


KING: And this for the crew. OK, guys, you like this?

Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND." It's next. We'll get you up to date on the goings on in California and the story offshore on that air crash and of course keep you up to date on the movements of politicians as well.

Steve and Cokie Roberts tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.

Thanks for joining us.

From New York with Martha Stewart, good night.



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