If ever there was a woman that fully embodied the true meaning of the word FABULOUS…Laura Martella is that woman! Her style and wit coupled with her luxury pet brand GENTLEMAN NORMAN are a force to be reckoned with. It’s a force that’s been divinely guided, and a brand built on a strong spiritual connection. Since the inception of the Gentleman Norman brand, Laura Martella has been driven to see her vision become a reality. She’s a doer, she gets things done, and it all comes straight from the heart…well, two actually, the Lady’s and her Gentleman’s.
I first met Laura a few years ago at a Polo Match, I met her through our mutual friend Joan Burton who is the CEO of Polo-A-Go-Go. Through Joan I had heard wonderful things about Laura and her Gentleman Norman. Our first meeting was brief, but she made a lasting impression. I started following her brand and was extremely impressed by her drive and her open heart, her willingness for truth, and her candidness with her spiritual beliefs. I was inspired as I watched her transition take hold and her strength as woman blossom into pure unadulterated conference.
A year later we were celebrating my partner Seth lewis’ birthday at Cicconi’s in West Hollywood and we ran into Laura, she was so sweet to come sit down with us and celebrate. We had been following each other on Facebook for a year and now we had the chance to connect on a very personal level, it was then that I really felt her heart. Laura Martella in my view is an extraordinary woman, and with Gentleman Norman by her side, through their unbreakable spiritual connection, she has been able to forge a path for herself and her brand that no one thought possible.
Laura Martella is the mastermind entrepreneur behind Gentleman Norman, the luxury pet lifestyle brand that promotes the importance of style, manners, and charity. Martella has orchestrated the rise of the popular duo: Lady Laura and her devoted celebrity Pomeranian, Gentleman Norman. A savvy businesswoman, Laura has built an executive team that can enact her vision to perfection, and at every turn aligns herself with promotional partners that help accelerate the business. A star in her own right, Laura is equally comfortable on the red carpet among her socialite peers and in her active support of important social causes. She has single handedly built the brand of Gentleman Norman from inception to a rapidly growing business.
The spiritual connection Laura has with Gentleman Norman actually started before he even came into the picture. Laura had just finished her first year of sobriety when her longtime Pomeranian companion Walter fell ill. It was a situation Laura was having tremendous difficulty dealing with. The night she was in the emergency hospital making the agonizing decision to let him go, she told the veterinarian that Walter had been through hell with her, he had seen her at her worst, and he was there for her unconditionally always loving and always connected. Walter had seen Laura through one of the most difficult times in her life…getting sober. The veterinarian told her that Walter was her angel and his work was now done. It was okay to let him go…Walter had loved you into sobriety. That night was a pivotal night for Laura, she realized that all she had been through, all the pain, and all the struggle… she got through with the help and support of her angel…Walter. She knew that her sobriety must continue otherwise it was all for nothing. That night gave her the courage and strength to continue on her road. This also meant for the first time in a very long time she would have to endure and feel the pain of grief in a very real, sober way…she would have to get through this as a sober woman and let herself feel the pain and move through it with grace. She did, she has, and it began with a Pomeranian named Walter.
Not even a week after Walter’s passing Laura knew she wanted to begin the search for another companion. She knew she wanted the same breed. After contacting a Pomeranian breeder which she was not accustomed to doing since Walter was a rescue animal, she was told there were no puppies, but the breeder told Laura she did have a male that was a year old and had become much too spoiled for him to be a show dog, Laura said yes, and the connection was immediate. Gentleman Norman had arrived and Laura became his Lady.
The pair quickly became a team and it became evident that something special needed to be done. There was a purpose that needed to be fulfilled. While the two were on a trip to San Francisco staying at the Fairmont Hotel, Laura had an epiphany…a book. She always joked that Norman was such a gentleman, if only her men friends knew as much as him. She went straight up to her hotel room and worked through the night, by morning she had created the complete storyboard for the book and gave it the title, Gentleman Norman: How To Be A Man. That night in San Francisco a dream was born, inspiration came knocking, and a relationship that developed out of a divine spiritual connection became a brand. Be still…listen…God has a plan.
When I was visiting with Laura over coffee the other day she said to me: “I am a late bloomer. So what. It doesn’t matter when you bloom, it only matters that you bloom. I feel like at 50 I’ve gone off to college. This is the first time I’ve ever lived on my own. I got sober at 35 and even with ten years sober I thought I needed someone to take care of me. By following my heart and wanting to share my dog Norman with the world, it changed me. It got me out of the housewife box. Publishing Gentleman Norman changed my life. It showed me who I am. I’m creative, I have a sense of humor and most of all I love connecting with people and encouraging them to follow their dreams. I shot a short film titled ” If you’re still breathing…” It’s my mantra, because if you are still breathing there is hope for a better tomorrow.”
The beautifully photographed coffee table book, Gentleman Norman: How to be a Man, was both conceived and produced by Laura. She coordinated the project in less than six months, culminating with a launch and book signing at Neiman Marcus in June 2012. Though the book started as a labor of love, Laura immediately identified the viability of a celebrity based business built on Gentleman Norman’s persona. Recognizing a niche market for high end pet and companion lifestyle retail, Laura put her talents to work.
When Laura decided to get divorced and move from San Diego to Beverly Hills to build her brand she did a major life edit. Her tag line has become ” I only have room for fabulous “.
People, clothes, even her coffee mugs have to bring her joy if they are going to be in her life. She realized she had to get over herself to get happy. She left a safe life to build the life she has today.
Having built and cultivated strong alliances and partnerships with businesses such as Gump’s San Francisco, Neiman Marcus (San Francisco, San Diego and Beverly Hills), Saks Beverly Hills, Kyle by Alene Too (Kyle Richards), and Pussy and Pooch, Laura and the Gentleman Norman brand are becoming synonymous with the luxury pet lifestyle that couples fine living with responsible social consciousness.
I love the heart and spirit behind this brand…the heart is all Laura and the spirit shines through Norman. Laura is very open and bold about her spirituality and what it means to her. She starts everyday by writing a Dear God letter. She says, “ Inevitably it starts with Thank You for my life, my recovery and my health. I have 16 years worth of journals. I have a tradition on New Years Day to go back and read and see how God has lead me through things in my life. Every year seems to be getting better.”
Due to Laura’s efforts, her media appearances with Gentleman Norman continue to cover a wide range, with outlets as varied as Beverly Hills Pawn, Good Morning America, and TMZ, and the pair have been featured in publications such as Riviera San Diego, Ranch & Coast, and Fine Magazine.
Gentleman Norman has become a luxury lifestyle brand that offers stylish, sophisticated pet products and media properties for dog lovers who appreciate elegance and fine living. The company is committed to promoting quality in all aspects of life. Accordingly, its products integrate and promote the highest standards in good taste, good manners and good works.
With a little help from his Lady, Gentleman Norman went from canine confidante to established author, Norman has been sharing his well-bred secrets with the world since 2012. Full of wisdom, panache and confidence, Norman’s beautifully photographed coffee table book draws upon his own life experience.
Accustomed to the VIP list, a stint on Good Morning America, a cover model for the iconic Gump’s holiday catalog, and a beloved regular at San Francisco’s prestigious Fairmont Hotel , Norman has charmed his way into the hearts of Americans everywhere.
From accompanying Laura on shopping trips to helping her through tough times, the pooch full of personality and compassion, knows how to work a room, lend a thoughtful paw and has table manners better than most people. This mini mogul realizes big isn’t about the size, but rather the attitude and heart.
I’ve only known Laura for a short time, but what I can tell you for sure is this…she’s all heart, a breath of fresh air, and about as fabulous as they come. Her openness and kindness have inspired me on my own journey, I love witnessing success stories, and I just adore that little giant Gentleman Norman. The Lady and her Gentleman are proof to me that if you remain open to receive divine guidance and if you truly listen…God can do magical things with our lives.
I wrote something awhile back that I feel is the perfect way to close this article. “There are times we think our lives are such a scrambled mess, that nothing could possibly fix the mess we’re in…and it’s true, you can’t unscramble eggs, but let me tell you, God can take those scrambled eggs and make an unbelievably fabulous omelette. Be still…have faith…believe.”