Happy Birthday, Apartment Therapy!

May 2004 - May 2014

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Dear Readers,

In honor of our tenth birthday, I want to share with you all my remarks last night at a little party we had here in NYC. What I said last night is even more for all of you, because you made us what we are today:

First of all, I want to say how grateful I am to everyone who is now a part of our websites on a day-to-day basis. The story of these two sites is very personal, and an inspiring one for me to share...

I started off life as an elementary school teacher, where I saw that environment had a huge impact on the children. As teachers we were taught to care as much for the classroom as the lessons we were teaching. I visited the children at home each year and saw that the children who did the best in the classroom came from the best homes. Not rich homes - just homes that were calm, organized and well cared for. Having the parents home for dinner made a difference. Who you are and what you do is also a part of what makes the energy of a home.

But I found myself reading the business section more than any other, and reading books like How to Grow a Business by Paul Hawken. I came to have a strong feeling that business could be a bigger engine for change in our country in my lifetime, and that I might be better suited for it. Business could be fast, flexible and creative. And a business, to be successful over the long haul, had to be honest.

I started Apartment Therapy because I thought that there were many people who wanted their homes to be better, and knew - somehow - that it had an affect on them. I started Apartment Therapy because I saw a city of well-dressed people — proud, successful and hard-working people — who were embarrassed to invite friends home for dinner, but really wanted to.

I didn't think that television, magazines or retail stores were really solving those problems, and there was no service that was affordable to the many.

There still isn't!

I thought there was a huge opportunity to improve people’s homes by connecting them to inspiration and resources that came, not just from me, but from within our own community. Our neighbors are our biggest inspirations and the most authentic referral sources we have. Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn are ultimately connectors and conduits from one person with a problem, to another with a solution.

While I started out alone, it has never been about me alone. It is not my story as much as it is a shared story. We have been as many as five separate sites; we are now two large sites: The Kitchn and Apartment Therapy, devoted to inspiring and helping people with home cooking and home design. But beyond this, we are a lifestyle with a distinct style and point of view.

Today, ten years later, we are the two largest independent editorial sites in the world for home design and home cooking. We're bigger than Martha Stewart, Epicurious, Cooks Illustrated, This Old House and all the other shelter magazine sites.

From a few hundred readers in 2004, we now reach over 18M monthly readers and 58M pageviews (10.3M on Comscore) with a global reach (we are selling advertising in Europe as of this past January). We write in English, but we touch people and take submissions from around the world.

From two brothers, we are now 30 full-time employees and over 175 freelancers. I am so proud that we are very much a team with multiple intelligences, many strengths, and one goal.

We believe that your home - whether you rent or own - is the most important space you have in the world, and taking care of and cultivating it will have a hugely beneficial effect on your life. To do this you need to cook, clean, organize, decorate and entertain. In other words, you need to LIVE at home.

The good life starts and ends at home everyday, and we’re here to help you everyday.

Best, Maxwell

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(Image credits: Maxwell Ryan)

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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.