Name: Martha Stewart.
Age: 58 yrs.
'Foolish' Idea: Instead of buying designer clothes, buy cheaper clothes that look like designer gear. To entertain as if rich, but provide meals which are not expensive. To pass these tips onto other housewives.
Start-up Capital: Unknown.
How Idea was Launched: Martha passed her tips on through writing books. Entertaining, in 1982, and later, Menus for Entertaining. Started up her own company, 'Martha Stewart Living'. Also publishes own magazine.
Sales: Through her own company, which has become a television and publishing empire.
Earnings: 1999, Martha Stewart Living was launched on the stock market for 750 million. Martha already has a vast personal fortune, is also paid, 1.85million a year in bonuses and salary.
Mrs Stewart grew up as part of a large family, living in New Jersey, which struggled to make ends meet. A modeling career, gave her the taste for a better life and she learned how to choose clothes that looked like expensive designer items. She was enthusiastic in sharing her knowledge of how to make substitutes and she became a role model for many housewives in America who looked to her for guidance in being self sufficient and creative.
In 1982 she wrote her first book, Entertaining. Today, her company is a television and publishing empire, which was floated on the stock market in 1999 for 750 million.
Editor Note: The cutting I had on Martha Stewart was so negative I found it difficult to piece the relevant facts together - she was accused of plagiarism and of working so hard, that no time was available for family life. However, I persevered, because her idea was such a good small businesses success that it was inspiring, and anyway, who hasn't borrowed the odd good idea and worked a little late in order to bring home a few extra dollars?