As Meghan is touted as next Martha, stars who tried lifestyle brands
2nd December 2023

Meghan Markle has been touted as the ‘next Martha Stewart’ by Omid Scobie, but these stars failed miserably when they tried to become lifestyle gurus

  • Omid Scobie says Meghan Markle wants to create something ‘more accessible’ 
  • Read More: The One Where Taylor Swift Morphs into Rachel Green! How songstress is channelling Jennifer Aniston in wardrobe, work and friendships 

Since starting her catering business in the basement of her home in 1976, Martha Stewart has gone on to become a business mogul to be reckoned with. 

With 48 books and several TV shows under her belt, the mother-of-one, 82, from New Jersey, has also built a hugely success website and writes a newsletter, which reportedly has a readership of 12m.

So it’s hardly surprising that the Duchess of Sussex would be looking to the media mogul for career inspiration – as Omid Scobie suggested this week. 

Ever since Meghan Markle shut down her lifestyle blog The Tig in 2017, rumours have swirled about the Duchess one day picking it back up again.

The hugely popular website – which the Duchess ran when she was starring in Suits – documented Meghan’s travels and featured food and fashion recommendations alongside guest posts from her celebrity friends.

According to royal author Omid Scobie, Meghan Markle (pictured in LA this month) is more likely to follow in Martha Stewart’s footsteps than Gwyneth Paltrow’s

Martha Stewart, pictured at the 2023 CFDA Awards at American Museum of Natural History, has an estimated net worth of $400m

However, royal author Omid Scobie – who has been dubbed the Sussexes’ ‘cheerleader-in-chief’ – has now claimed Meghan has no plans to return to The Tig – and suggested she might try to emulate Martha Stewart’s career.

Speaking to The Independent, the author rejected comparisons with Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle business Goop – insisting that Meghan is focused on being more ‘accessible’.

The author of the new book End Game claimed Meghan is focused on creating ‘something more accessible, something rooted in her love of details, curating, hosting, life’s simple pleasures, and family’. 

Omid added: ”I’m not being deliberately mysterious. My mind always goes to Goop, but when I suggested that to someone with some knowledge they said, “Oh, no, this isn’t going to be about selling products.’ So who knows? The next Martha Stewart?”‘ 

If Meghan does decide to go down the lifestyle route, she certainly wouldn’t be the first celebrity to try to do so.

Over the past 10 years, multiple stars have tried to create a lifestyle empire to rival Martha Stewart’s and failed to compete with such a household name. 

Here FEMAIL takes a look at the celebrities who tried to come for Martha’s lifestyle crown and lost. 

Blake Lively – Preserve  

Blake Lively pictured at the Age of Adaline in 2015, around the time she was still running her lifestyle website Preserve

In July 2014, Blake Lively launched her lifestyle website Preserve – which sold items that had been hand-picked by the actress and her team.

The website was panned by critics for selling expensive items, such as a $95 wooden crate.

The description read: ‘Built to last a lifetime from reclaimed local wood sealed with natural tung oil, each beautiful Brooklyn-made piece is imbued with its own unique character. 

‘Caboose it onto your bike to carry the day’s produce, impromptu flowers for your sweetheart, or whatever you need to transport in a stylish manner—emission-free!’ 

The website also sold a crystal bowl for $450 by Jon McCoy designs that Blake assured shoppers would impart ‘beauty, imagination and warmth to those who welcome these captivating crystals into their home.’ 

Blake’s website also branched out into food too – included a $40 Laguna Salt collection, $18.50 jars of pickles and a $25 jar of BBQ sauce.

The website was panned by critics for selling expensive items, such as a $95 wooden crate and a $25 jar of pickles

‘Oh the crunch of a punchy pickle!’: Dill pickles on sale for $25 on Preserve – and the $95 wooden crate

At the time, Martha Stewart spoke out against comparisons with Blake Lively and criticised Preserve.

She said: ‘I mean, it’s stupid. She could be an actress! Why would you want to me when you could an actress?’ 

The duo became firm friends when the couple moved into Martha’s neighbourhood in New York, and she thinks they’re ‘very friendly, very nice people.’

She told the Huffington Post: ‘She moved into my neighbourhood a couple of years ago with Ryan — before they got married, they bought a house right around the corner from my house. And they started to come over, not to borrow sugar, but just as friends.’

Blake pictured in the website’s ‘editor’s letter’. She said of its failure: ‘We launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way.’

Sadly, Blake’s dreams of creating a lifestyle brand to rival Gwyneth Paltrow or Martha Stewart didn’t last long – and she confirmed she was shutting the website down after just over a year.

In an interview with Vogue in 2015, she explained: ‘I know what it’ll look like, what I’m facing publicly, that people are just going to have a heyday with this. But it’s so much worse to continue to put something out there—to ask my team to put something out there—that isn’t the best we can do.’ 

Discussing some of the teething issues they’d face, the star added: ‘We launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way.

‘I never thought I would have the bravery to actually do that, to take the site dark and to say, ‘You know what? I haven’t created something that is as true and impactful as I know it can and will be. And I’m not going to continue to chase my tail and continue to put a product out there that we, as a team, are not proud of.’ 

Explaining how she had her friend Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off on repeat, Blake added: ‘The only way I can prove all the negative reactions wrong is to come back with a plan that will rock people.’ 

Despite pledging to revive the website in 2015, Blake never appears to have returned to the project.

Sarah Michelle Gellar – Foodstirs

Sarah Michelle Gellar – best known for playing Buffy the Vampire Slayer – co-founded the brand FoodStirs in 2015. Pictured with husband Freddie Prince Jr in 2015

She’s best known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer – but in 2015, Sarah Michelle Gellar was another celebrity who tried to jump on the lifestyle guru train.

The mother-of-two – who is married to her Scooby Doo co-star Freddie Prince Jr – co-founded the brand FoodStirs, which produced ready-made baking mixes with less sugar.

On the official Facebook page, they outline their brand mission: ‘Whether you make it yourself or we make it for you, we are on a mission to clean up your favorite treats by providing the best tasting, highest-quality, sweet baked snacks without the compromise. If you can’t pronounce it, we’re not making it.’

Within two years, the company was being stocked in 8,000 stores across the US with Sarah as the face of the brand.

Speaking to AOL in 2018, Sarah explained: ‘Foodstirs developed out of a need for a product.

‘Our kids were really interested in baking, and they wanted to have this baking championship, and my knowledge of baking [was] all eating, and I was not going to do something from scratch. 

Sarah Michelle pictured with her daughter Charlotte Grace and son Rocky James at their home in 2015

Sarah Michelle Gellar pictured at a FoodStirs event with actress Selma Blair in October 2016 in California

‘I don’t have the time to get 30 million ingredients, so I went to the store, and we were shocked that in 2015 when you go to the store, the only things were the traditional legacy boxed brands […] where the number one ingredient was salt. 

However, the company struggled to stay afloat in the pandemic and Sarah sold off her remaining shares in 2022. 

Although Foodstirs never officially announced its closure, the brand is currently unavailable to shop on Amazon and their last social media posts were in April 2022. 

Lauren Conrad – Blog and Beauty Brand

Lauren Conrad pictured at Fashion’s Night Out with Paper Crown in September 2011 – two years after she left The Hills

After leaving The Hills in 2009, ex-reality star Lauren Conrad was well on her way to becoming the millennial’s answer to Martha Stewart. 

During her time on the MTV series, the star had released the books ‘Lauren Conrad: Style’ and ‘Lauren Conrad: Beauty’ – which sold over 1.5m copies.

She also partnered up with Kohl’s in 2009 for her first clothing collection – which is still running today.

In the years following her departure from reality show, the star decided to focus on her lifestyle blog – which included beauty, fashion, interiors and hosting tips. 

A large part of the blog featured recipes created by the ‘LC Team’ – including ginger pear pie, rose chai lattes and fall fruit ambrosia salads.

On the platform ‘Bloglovin’, the Lauren Conrad blog amassed almost 120,000 followers. 

Lauren (pictured) amassed over 120,000 followers for her blog on BlogLovin’ and has worked with Kohl’s since 2009

In an emotional statement, Lauren said her blog had been a ‘very special place’ to her and somewhere she shared her personal life milestones

The star said she was closing down the blog to focus on raising her two sons and spending time with her husband

In 2013, Lauren launched The Little Market – an e-commerce sustainable platform allowing women in business to sell their products.

After documenting her late teenage years and early 20s on reality shows, Lauren started to share less and less of her personal life online.

In August 2020, Lauren pivoted again when she launched her own eponymous vegan, cruelty-free beauty range.

However, the launch was shrouded in controversy when influencer James Charles – who boasts 21m Instagram followers – went on a rant about celebrities launching beauty brands who have ‘no business’ in doing so.

Although James didn’t name Lauren’s brand, he did show an empty liquid highlighter which hadn’t been sealed and an empty eyeliner pen. 

He said: ‘Like, stop, stop making makeup brands. Stop. Stop.

Pictured: Lauren Conrad’s blog after she left The Hills in 2009. The website offered fashion, cooking, crafting and book recommendations 

In 2020, the star launched the range with five products, all of which are vegan and made with clean, ethically-sourced products  

‘I truly feel tested by the universe, I feel like reality show cameras are going to walk out and say “Gotcha” any minute.’ 

Although the influencer later apologised to Lauren, it seems as though the damage was done – and the star discontinued the range in 2021.

At the beginning of 2023, Lauren officially closed down her blog after 11 years.

In an emotional statement, the mother-of-two said: ‘The truth is that being a designer has always been my first love. And as that business has grown for me over the years, I’ve had less time to devote to this blog.

‘I always strive to have a healthy work life balance, and when I’m not designing for LC Lauren Conrad and Little Co., I prefer to spend most of my free time with my husband and kids. 

‘It’s been a tough decision and a long time coming, but it’s time to say goodbye to the blog here on Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to keep up with my current projects.

‘The editorial archives will be here for you, so you can still access your favorite recipes, DIY tutorials, and more. I am forever grateful for all of the support you’ve shown this site over the years.’ 

Since shutting down the website and closing her beauty brand, Lauren now refers to herself as a designer on Instagram thanks to her ongoing Kohl’s partnership, which produces womenswear and accessories and children’s clothes. 

Shay Mitchell – Amore & Vita 

Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell (pictured in New York in July 2023)  ran a blog called Amore & Vita with her best friend in 2014

In 2014, Shay Mitchell – who was best known for her role as Emily Fields in the hit series Pretty Little Liars – launched a lifestyle blog with her high school best friend Michaela Blaney.

Amore & Vita covered food, fashion, beauty, wellbeing, books, culture and crafty tips. Like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Martha Stewart’s website, it also allowed customers to shop a range of products picked by editors. 

Speaking to People around the time of the launch, Shay explained: ‘I’m sharing everything, from my experiences sitting at home checking out a new bikini line to having fans weigh in on a red carpet look. I want to get feedback, have help selecting what dress to choose [for an event].’

Shutting down comparisons with Goop, she added: ‘The shopping on our site will be more reasonably priced than Goop, because my demographic is younger.

In 2016, Shay teased her followers about a rebrand to the blog – which sadly never materialised for devoted fans

‘But Gwyneth’s site is such a huge inspiration. I always go to her app when I’m traveling and look up restaurant suggestions. 

‘I love that she’s been to all those places and it’s about her real first-hand experience. It’s very aspirational.’

The blog amassed over 34,400 followers on Instagram and even featured guest posts from Sir Richard Branson and vegan chef Jessica Milan.

However, the blog appeared to become less of a priority as Shay pursued other ventures when Pretty Little Liars started winding down.

In 2016, the pals removed their blog and teased fans about a redesign. 

Sharing blogging tips? Shay Mitchell pictured with Meghan Markle at a event in New York in 2014

They wrote at the time: ‘Who’s excited for the new Amore & Vita?? So excited to share this with you all soon!!’ 

However, the Instagram account has not been used in six years and disappointed fans complained about their plans never materialising. 

One moaned: ‘Two years and nothing.’ Another added: ‘What happened to this website???’

Tori Spelling – EdiTORIal

Tori Spelling (pictured in LA in June 2023) was another celebrity who launched a lifestyle blog in 2011

90210 actress Tori Spelling is another celebrity who jumped on the lifestyle blogging train back in 2011.

Speaking to Look to the Stars, Tori – who was pregnant with her third child at the time – outlined her plans for the website – which overlaps with a lot of Martha Stewart’s content pillars.

She explained: ‘The idea for this site came from my desire to share ideas and inspiration for elevating your everyday life.

‘From Fashion, Crafting, Home Decor, Cooking, Parenting, to Relationships I will be sharing ideas, tips, advice and how- to’s on living a more inspired life.’

Alongside this, Tori also launching a shopping site called InvenTORI – where readers could buy items that she had in her home.

The most recent post on Tori’s blog was in August 2018 (pictured) – where she shared some of her favourite parties she’d thrown in recent years.

In the first year, Tori documented her fourth pregnancy on the blog – but later told People that she had glossed over some of the complications she faced when expecting her son Finn. 

In 2012, Tori was diagnosed with placenta previa – a a condition where the placenta covers the cervix and causes internal bleeding – at the 20 week mark.

The star was rushed to hospital, where she spent 10 weeks receiving treatment followed by four months of bed rest, and she was even close to having her pregnancy terminated to save her life. 

She explained: ‘It was hard because [blogging is] such a personal thing and I’m so open with everybody. 

Tori Spelling pictured with her ex-husband Dean McDermott and their four children at Disney On Ice in December 2019

‘I’m writing about Stella’s fourth birthday, but no one knows that I’m in a hospital bed.’

Although Tori was at the forefront of celebrity blogs, ediTORIal has wound down significantly in the past few years.

Currently, there are no recipes available under ‘cooking’ and the ‘home’, ‘style’ and ‘entertaining’ sections have also been wiped.

The most recent post on Tori’s blog was in August 2018 – where she shared some of her favourite parties she’d thrown in recent years.

Zooey Deschanel – Hello Giggles

Zooey Deschanel (pictured at the Trolls: Band Together in November 2023) launched the lifestyle website in 2011

The same year Tori Spelling launched her blog, actress Zooey Deschanel also founded the lifestyle website Hello Giggles with producer Sophia Rivka Rossi and writer Molly McAller. 

The blog – which covered beauty, fashion, entertainment and love – was described as a ‘happy space for millennial women’ and had a strict ‘no gossip’ matra.

As well as creating the content themselves, the trio hired professional writers and online bloggers – including a 12 year old Canadian blogger Mikaela Foster

Speaking to Cosmopolitan in 2013, the star, 43, explained: ‘We started Hello Giggles  for fun, but now I feel like I’m on a mission to make it a thing that helps other women.

‘If there had been a place like that for me when I was 13, I would have felt so much less alone.’

Pictured: Hello Giggles masthead when Zooey Deschanel and her co-founders were still involved in the running of the website

At the time, Forbes wrote of the website: ‘HelloGiggles is bridging the gap online between celebrities and ordinary bloggers by having them work side by side, to create the kind of content that they are looking for as well as a new kind of fame and name for themselves in the blogosphere.’ 

In 2015, Zooey and the original founders sold the website to Time Inc. Zooey said at the time: ‘With Time Inc. as our partner, we’ll be able to expand the HelloGiggles mission and inspire and support even more young women with a safe and positive media platform.’ 

Three years later, Time released the first ever print version of Hello Giggles – after Coe Nast successfully launched quarterly ‘Goop’ magazine.

Since then, it seems as though Hello Giggles – which had offices in LA and New York – has ceased operations entirely, as the most recent articles on the website were in April 2023 while the brand’s Instagram has not been updated since February 2022. 

Jessica Simpson – Jessica’s World 

Jessica Simpson (pictured in November 2023 in New York) launched a blog on her website in 2018

Alongside her singing and acting work, Jessica had made a name for herself on the MTV hit series Newlyweds – which also starred her ex-husband Nick Lachey.

However, Bloomberg credits her as the original ‘influencer’ as a result of her hugely popular fashion range in the noughties, which was the first celebrity line to make $1bn in sales. 

Describing how she knew they were on to a winning formula, Jessica said: ‘People would be coming in a shawl [like the one she wore in Newlyweds].

‘And everybody was definitely wearing the Juicy sweats.’ 

In 2018, Jessica Simpson made the leap into lifestyle blogging when she added ‘Jessica’s World’ to her website – which hasn’t reached the same success as her fashion range.

The star’s posts included highlights from family gatherings and events she attended in her local area of Nashville.

Like Lauren Conrad before her, the singer also employed a team to write most of the blog’s content – including TV recommendations, gift guides and beauty posts.

Coming after Martha Stewart’s cookery crown, the star also shared guest posts from food bloggers and has created a shop for her readers to browse.

But unlike Martha and Gwyneth’s website, Jessica’s blog is updated once a month on average and the star has made little effort to promote the posts, instead focussing on her clothing range. 

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