Martha Stewart started her first business in 1972, a small catering company located in Westport, Conn. Prior to that, Stewart worked as a stockbroker for the New York firm of Monness, Williams and Sidell from 1968 until she and her family moved to Connecticut in 1972.
Martha Stewart trained herself how to cook using the book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by famed chef Julia Childs. Within 10 years of starting the company, Martha Stewart, Inc. was already worth more than $1 million. Stewart also released her first book, "Entertaining," in 1982, which quickly became a bestseller and spawned a number of other cookbooks.
In 1991, Time, Inc. began publishing the Martha Stewart Living magazine, though Stewart bought Time's shares in the company, worth approximately $53 million, in 1997, keeping the magazine under her ownership. She then changed the company's name to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which went public two years later. This move led to Stewart becoming the first self-made female billionaire in U.S. history.
Stewart was forced to step down as CEO of the company in 2003, after she was charged and subsequently convicted of a number of crimes, including conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements to police. She was eventually forced to step down entirely from the company, although she rejoined its board of directors in 2011.