SFERRA: How did you begin your career as a designer?
KEVIN SHARKEY: I have always been interested in design and in beautiful things. I studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and started my career working at Parish Hadley, which was a very well-known interior design firm at the time. Shortly afterward, I went to Martha Stewart, and I’ve been at Martha now for 27 years.
S: What was it like to be part of Martha Stewart Living, the magazine, in its early days, and in what ways have you seen the Omnimedia empire grow since then?
K: I was employee #66 and I worked from the ground up as an assistant in the style department. I cleaned up after photoshoots, took lunch orders, and when I was lucky enough, I would assist in content creation.
The subject matter of “living” is endless, so I was never bored. You could fully immerse yourself in a new project like “decorating with red,” or “making curtains,” or “setting an Easter table.” There was always something new and exciting, and I got to work with the absolute top tier talent in the industry.
I have watched the brand go from a publishing magazine to building an omnimedia empire. The reason that I have stayed so long is that Martha is always ahead of the curve. She has great foresight, enthusiasm, and embraced technology very early on. For me it has been a fascinating experience to watch how the worlds of e-commerce and communication have evolved.
S: What is the working dynamic between you and Martha? How does the work you do complement hers?
K: Martha has tremendous curiosity. It is such a luxury to be with someone who is always curious, asking questions, and exposing herself to new things. I never forget how lucky I am to be in an environment where I am learning something new every day. With Martha, you never know what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet, but you just know it’s going to be exciting.