Martha Stewart goes window-shopping for inspiration in the Philippines
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart made several Instagram posts about the successful brioche she made from a recipe by chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manske of Republique restaurant in San Francisco.

Martha Stewart goes window-shopping for inspiration in the Philippines

Therese Jamora-Garceau (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is considering the Philippines a possible source of ideas and items for her omni-media empire.

“One of my objectives is to see things and get ideas for production,” said the lifestyle legend, who went window-shopping at Kultura yesterday. “We haven’t really shopped yet, we’re just looking. Our shopping day is Thursday. I love the textiles, the rattan work, the weavings, the pearls, and some of the metalwork is so beautiful.”

At ANC’s “A Conversation with Lifestyle Legend and Entrepreneur Martha Stewart” at Sofitel’s Philippine Plaza’s Grand Plaza Ballroom, Stewart said she read the whole history of the Philippines on the plane coming over. “I was brought up that way: research, research, and do more investigation.”

She revealed that the editor for her daily The Martha Blog, Jocelyn Santos, is a Filipina. “She works on the blog with me, uploading all the beautiful photos and editing. She’s Filipino! And she hasn’t been home in 20 years.”

Before coming to the Philippines, the avid baker had posted about trying her hand at a Filipina pastry chef’s recipe. Stewart made several Instagram posts about the successful brioche she made from a recipe by chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manske of Republique restaurant in San Francisco.

On Monday, the first day of her Philippine visit, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat hosted a lunch for Stewart at the National Museum of Natural History, attended by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Philippine lifestyle luminaries like chef Margarita Fores and designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

Stewart was served Filipino dishes like Cebu lechon, a cornucopia of tropical fruits, and chocolate and coffee from Filipino artisans.

“We’ve been entertained so beautifully in the Philippines at the National Museum of Natural History with a spread of fabulous food,” Stewart said. “It was so incredible.”

After the lunch, her dinner was hosted by Robbie Antonio of Century Properties. Last Tuesday after the ANC event, Stewart’s dinner was hosted by Doris Ho. Today she is slated to go to Pampanga via bus with Ricco Ocampo and Thursday will be Del Monte day for the gardening guru hosted by Butch Campos.

At the forum Stewart said she is currently on vacation, leaving her favorite summer home, Skylands in Maine, to come to the Philippines. She owns three other properties she’s rebuilt, restored and decorated, all on the East Coast of the United States. At one of them, a 150-acre farm in Bedford, New York, her neighbors are Ralph Lauren, Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis, “and ordinary people like me,” Stewart joked.

Director Steven Spielberg once congratulated her on elevating housekeeping into “homekeeping.” “Steven said, ‘I think you’ve made homekeeping an art form,’ and I said, ‘Thank you.’ It’s a chore but I love to iron and make things pretty.”

Forum moderator Karen Davila asked Stewart how she turned her hobbies into a billion-dollar empire. Stewart was the first self-made female billionaire in America; when her company went public in 1999, it was valued at P1.6 billion.

“I was lucky because when I started lifestyle, it was not an industry yet,” Stewart replied. “You have to ask, ‘Is an idea going to stick and appeal to a very broad audience? That’s why I’m successful, because it was a big enough idea to make a good business out of, much tinier than Steve Jobs and Apple, though as far-reaching. Being a self-made entrepreneur and idea person, your idea has to be good to start with.”

Filling a void is another thing an entrepreneur must do, Stewart said. “What doesn’t exist yet that you can fill that void? ‘Need,’ ‘want’ and ‘void’ — think of those three words all the time then make a business plan.”

She also advises embracing technology and social media and to keep enlarging new ideas. “My mottos: when you’re through changing, you’re through. Change is good; don’t be afraid of it, and learn something new every day. Flexibility and curiosity are so important in today’s world.”

She says she has no regrets, even about the time she was convicted of insider trading in 2004 and spent five months in jail. “Not everybody survives a debacle like I had to go through. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time; people were sent to jail for infractions that were not really infractions, but it was a very, very tough time.”

She said her belief in herself and the support of her family pulled her through. “My company didn’t really suffer. Advertisers pulled out but came back because I had the best products. I didn’t have coffee, luxuries (in jail) but it was not life threatening. I had good family, my health, and that’s what matters.”

She is now in the process of writing her autobiography. “One chapter is called ‘Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda,’ but you can’t dwell on those regrets at all. You get in a trap.”

She says the secret of how not to get into a rut is “Do not start your day after 7 a.m. My workers at home, housekeeper, my garden and farm guys are all there at 7 a.m. And I can’t be in bed if they’re there. My trainer comes at 6:30 a.m. Don’t relax. Ever.”

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