University of Tennessee, Knoxville - Interior Design 420

Interior Design Internship

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    Erin McLevey • Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. • New York, NY • Week 9

    Erin McLevey
    Jul 29, '15 10:20 AM EST


    This week I did my usual tasks such as working on the social media project and sorting through our book and magazine library/inventory. I had to contact people about ordering new books and magazines and continue to update our database and library with what we have and what we need. At this point, we are only missing 36 issues of Martha Stewart Living and around a dozen for Martha Stewart Weddings. In addition to this, I had to get advertising agreement forms signed for the October 2015 issue.

    Emeril was in the office this week. Meeting him was a highlight of my internship since I grew up watching him on the Food Network with my dad. Also I got to try a pumpkin-cheesecake-crumb cake square (unofficial name) from the test kitchen, it was delicious.


    Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. is often times a large proponent of new ideas and reinventing old ones. People often have a preconceived idea about what Martha Stewart’s brand is, but what people don’t realize is that her company is so multifaceted. Kevin, my supervisor goes to meetings with various vendors and companies to pitch ideas and show new concepts. The people who aren’t familiar with the brand say ‘that isn’t Martha’. This always frustrates employees because what does this really mean? To one presentation for another company Kevin set up a number of torn out magazine pages and images on a wall. Kevin asked the people in the room to choose this images that they thought were from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. They chose the safe, stereotypical images that people associate with the brand. What they didn’t know what that all of the images were from Martha.

    Martha is known for her expertise is crafts, cooking, decorating, gardening and so much more. Through her marketing/merchandising and editorial sides her brand is promoted through magazines, televisions, podcasts, radio, books and advertising. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. is all about promoting lifestyle and culture in people’s lives.

    Some of the words used to describe the brand are, informative, inspirational, fun, creative and so many more.

    For more information on the brand:



    This week I’ll talk to you about a variety of people, including some people from the Design Directors Panel, which is made up of a group of people who are in charge of different areas of the company.

    Marissa Brown, VP, Design Director – oversees furniture (anything wood & metal).

    • Went to RISD for Industrial Design
    • They use CAD to design
    • She’s been at the company for 9 years
    • Previously taught at RISD & Parsons
    • Previously worked in a factory in Brooklyn for 13 years
    • Also owned her own furniture company for a few years in between jobs
    • Has 3 daughters

    Jessica Davis, AVP Deputy Design Director – Textile team director (bed, bath, tables, linen, home textiles etc.)

    • Studied Fashion Design at Cornell University
    • She’s been at the company for 5 years

    Hosanna Houser, AVP Deputy Design Director – Holiday/Merchandising team

    • Studied Photography
    • Started at the company doing editorial freelance work for crafting
    • Now works in Merchandising and oversees all of Holiday

    Dan Grossman, AVP Deputy Design Director – Kitchen and Dining Department

    • Studied Industrial Design

    They all work together and have to create a products and lines that are cohesive. In order to do this they go to each others team's presentations to learn about what one another are doing and make sure they are all on the same page. Kevin Sharkey is helpful in this process because he oversees them all and he helps to coordinate and compile information. Kevin also helps ensure that the Editorial team is informed so they can promote the design teams new products.

    What are some expectations and challenges?

    • The design team has to promote and extend the brand through all of their products. They all work with very different categories, but they all have to look and feel the same, while still be innovative and evolve. They have to maintain the integrity of the company while still creating and growing.

    This week I also met Hannah Milman, SVP, Executive Editorial Director of Crafts. Hannah went to RISD, after she graduated she worked in film/production in New York City. She has now been at MSLO for 25 years, so basically she has been with the company since it started. Hannah showed us work from her career, such as magazine covers she arranged and shot (not all from MSLO), various crafts she’s made, Christmas wreaths, photographs and much more. Hannah loves to learn and discover, she’s always exploring and trying new things.

    For the holidays how do you get inspiration in July?

    • Holidays begin with family and friends and gift giving, this is what life is made of. Easter, Halloween and Christmas are all made of memories. She is constantly at trade shows looking for inspiration, always learning and talking to people.

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This will be the community Blog for IDS 420 Summer 2016. Students will post their responses to weekly Journal Assignments here as well as view posts/comments from other participants.

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