Martha Stewart Looks to Complete Comeback

Photo: An Exclusive Interview with Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart often rises before her roosters; she confessed on a recent "Nightline" visit that she sleeps only three or four hours a night. And getting sick? Nonsense. "I'm never sick," said Stewart. "Why get sick? It's a waste of time."

Stewart seems to have only one speed: fast forward. And that, to use the phrase she made famous, may be a "very good thing."

In her most-revealing television interview since serving five months in prison in 2004 for lying to investigators about a well-timed stock trade, Stewart gave "Nightline" unprecedented access to her daily life and her business empire, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, (MSLO). It is a critical moment in the company's evolution. The world's most famous homemaker gamely agreed to answer all questions and had some surprising reflections on her legal troubles and on one of her TV competitors, Rachael Ray.


Martha Incorporated
2009: Martha Stewart Incorporated

The interview came at a particularly sensitive time for Stewart, as business analysts say the next eight months are crucial to her company's long-term success. Does she agree?

"[It's] fair to say that this is our growth period, that's what it's fair to say, we are growing," said Stewart. "We are, I think, going to do very very well."

And that is more than a wish; it's a necessity. The company lost nearly $16 million last year and has posted a $35 million loss so far this year. If this is a make-or-break moment, Stewart is facing it with a flourish. She claims 37 million people follow her various enterprises, from her cooking show (in its fifth year) to her books -- all 69 of them, and counting.

PHOTO: Martha Stewart attends the South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2013 Grand Tasting Village on February 23, 2013 in Miami Beach, Fla.
2009: A Day in the Life of Martha Stewart

Stewart's latest publication, "Dinner at Home," hit the bestseller list the first week it was out. Her fans can't get enough of all things Martha, and legions of them show up at book signings around the country. A few weeks ago she signed 600 books at a Williams-Sonoma in Philadelphia.

There are also, of course, the magazines -- a variety of titles, led by Living. But most important to the bottom line is the "stuff" -- the products Stewart sells in more than 5,000 retail stores in the United States and overseas: everything from dog dishes to glitter kits. She told us she sold three million jars of glitter after she taught Jay Leno how to "glitter by number."

VIDEO: The domestic diva invites "GMA" into a sprawling ranch and talks crafts.

'I Plan to Be No.1'

This is Stewart's second year selling crafting products, including crafting tools, stickers and paper goods. It's a business she sees as important to her company's future.

"Crafts are a $32 billion industry," said Stewart. "There is no one standout brand in crafting, and we are aiming to be that brand with this amazing assortment of fantastic crafts. And I plan to be No. 1."

Of course, Stewart herself is a famous "crafter," and says she gets a kick out of creating things that eventually end up in her books, magazines and television shows. So is there any difference between the woman, Martha Stewart, and the brand? Does she try to separate the two?

VIDEO: Martha Stewart says jail time probably cost her over $1 billion.

"No," she replied, laughing. "I don't try to separate it all. I -- I try to do as much as I can, wherever I am. So, at the farm, I'm always thinking of some new project, some new thing I can do."

We pushed: Is there nothing she keeps just for herself?

"There are pieces, but they're concealed at work. And they're concealed at home. Does that make you feel better?" she asked, with the merest hint of annoyance.

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