2007 State of the Blog Address

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The Launch Party - March 2004

A year ago in May we wrote our second State of the Blog Address. As opposed to the previous year, this past one has cruised by in a flurry of activity, bringing with it a tremendous amount of growth.

• In May 2005 AT was one blog (NY) with 10,000 readers a day.
• In May 2006 AT was five blogs (NY, LA, Kitchen, and newly born Chicago and San Francisco) with a daily readership of 40,000 across all five sites.
• As of today, April 30th, AT is seven blogs with over 98,000 daily readers, with the biggest jumps at our newest site: Home Tech.

On our side, we've been bumping up the coverage, posting more, reaching out to new talent (always readers) and growing the AT team from 17 to 31 bloggers, each of whom is paid for their good work...

Why?

1. Because, we believe that a calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness.* [see mission below]

2. Because we love blogging and get a lot of pleasure knowing our blogs reach, help and inspire people all over the country.

Last year we made a list of the things we wanted to achieve in the year ahead, and we were able to get three out of the four done (the Main page is actually built and ready to go, but just not good enough to pass muster). This year we have a new goal, which is much bigger:

To make Apartment Therapy the the most active, useful and inspiring place on the web for interior design.

But first, some background.

Interest in interior design is now growing rapidly, in the same way that interest in food and cooking grew during the past half century.

After World War II, the typical American meal consisted of hamburgers and beer and no one even knew who the hottest chef in New York City even was. Since then, our taste for and curiosity about good food has completely changed.

We are now a "gourmet" culture. We've heard of Mario Batali, Alice Waters and Nobu. We watch movies like "Sideways," about two guys talking about wine, and words like "wild salmon," "mesclun greens" and "pinot noir" are commonplace. If it's burgers and beer, it's Bison or Wasabi burgers with Monterey Jack and the beer is a micro brew with a funny name you've never heard of. Naked Chef, anyone?

Now, if you're that smart about food, let me ask you this:

Who designed the chair you're sitting in?
Who's Kelly Wearstler?
What is DROOG?
And - just as cooking used to be - is "decorating" only for women (as the shelter magazines still think it is)?

Chances are that if you're reading this blog, many of you know the answer to these questions, but then, you're on the cutting edge. While most people might be able to answer one and would still agree with the shelter mags on the last one, this is changing before our eyes - especially in our four cities: NY, LA, Chicago and San Francisco.

Interior design and decorating is broadening from a niche luxury market to a widespread pursuit for the masses. And folks don’t just want it done for them, they want to understand and do it themselves.

All of you are a part of this.

And now with the convergence of blogs and the web, we're taking Apartment Therapy's ship, putting up a big sail and getting ready to make the most of a strong wind. While shelter magazines focus on their luxury advertisers, we're focusing on our readers, traveling light and looking to create the future of interior design media right here.

Therefore, for the next twelve months, this is our to do list:

• We're raising money to hire all the people we need to do all the work we want to do.

• We're giving all the sites a redesign to make them more beautiful, useful and easier to navigate.

• We're building out our Community Pages to create a full-on Interior Design Social Network. This will give amateur and professional readers a full page with customized tools for bookmarking, image-upload and self posting options.

• We're launching our Main page with will have a quick snapshot of all of our sites, search capability for every site at once (including comments), and real time display of the top posts and top commenters on each site.

• And yes, two new blogs....as yet to be decided (we have five ideas).

Finally, we want to thank all our readers for helping us to grow this dark horse idea, and specifically to thank those who have sent us emails, given us tips and even put together an amazing, formal business evaluation to help us see the project more clearly (Thanks, Wende!).

We are now here full time, blogging, emailing, Skyping, IM'ing and getting out into the city to provide you with some of the best damn blogs in town.

Best, Maxwell

*Our Mission Statement:

• We believe that a calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world.

• AT stands for reconnecting and enjoying your own home....however you want to do it. It stands for simplicity and modesty, but it also stands for a bit of decadence as well. It stands for doing-it-yourself and working within a tight budget, but it also stands for hiring people to help you and splurging every now and then. AT stands for finding the balance between simplicity and luxury.

• AT’s goal is to raise awareness, weed out the crap, connect people to a community of resources and to inspire them to aim higher, while reducing their reliance on stuff.

• AT is therefore a cross between CNN and Zagat’s, providing constant news, reviews and how-to’s so that you are informed and inspired and can find whatever you need for your home, when you need it.

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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