She is the iconic entrepreneur who built an empire out of one main focus — turning everyday life into an art form. Her name is Martha Stewart. From cooking dinner for the family, to entertaining a large crowd, to remodeling a home or ironing a shirt — to her, the differences are in the details. She created the first true lifestyle brand with her books, magazines, TV shows, products, and furniture, all centered around everyday living. She inspires all of us at HighStreet to fill every aspect of our customers’ lives with beauty.
When we were asked to host the event for Martha, along with executives from her company and Procter & Gamble, the pressure was on to make sure everything was perfect. Hosting an event like this wasn’t new for us; HighStreet has hosted a number of celebrity guests, including Frederic Fekkai and fashion editors for Vogue and other magazines, but this time was different — it was Martha, the queen of entertaining. In a shroud of secrecy, our creative team pored over every detail spending tireless hours to get ready for the event.
We didn’t hesitate in enlisting one of the city’s top catering companies, Eat Well Catering, based in Newport, Kentucky, to plan the four-course meal for twelve. Chef and owner Renee Schuler used several ingredients that were locally raised or grown, including the arugula, which was picked directly from her home garden.
We worked hard moving furniture, arranging new products, and hanging light fixtures in hopes of wowing one of our great influences, who we know has seen quite a bit of design in her day. The long table and twelve chairs were draped in luxurious textiles and set with vintage place settings. The hanging floral arrangements above the dinner table were designed in conjunction with Cincinnati-based Sprouts Floral Design, as were the smaller bouquets peppering the rest of the store. The end result was spectacular. We were ready for the big event.
During the cocktail hour, Martha took some time to browse the store with her executive team. We were totally caught off guard when within the first few minutes, she whipped out her own camera and began to snap photos of the displays and vignettes we had created. We breathed a sigh of relief to know we had Martha’s approval.
It was exciting to see Martha and her Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Gersh, spending considerable time in the fashion section shopping for jewelry and handbags. We were pleased to hear that both had high praise for the store, comparing it to one of our favorite stores, ABC Carpet & Home. Gersh said the store had a level of sophistication you just don’t see anywhere else.
During dinner, Martha told stories of making her own raspberry jam and inquired about what makes Cincinnati special. She asked about the ingredients in goetta and sought recommendations on where to find the best goetta in town. She also wanted to know more about the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in greater Cincinnati.
Before leaving, Ms. Stewart signed a few copies of her books, posed for photos and then came down to the front desk to make a purchase. We now can very proudly call Martha Stewart our customer.