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Apartment Therapy

Ten years ago, Maxwell Ryan was known as the “apartment therapist,” traveling by scooter to his clients’ homes to help them make their spaces beautiful, organized and healthy. Part interior designer, part life coach, his touch points were simplicity, comfort, and lack of clutter. Unlike typical designers, Maxwell didn’t want to dictate where things should go or how people should live; he wanted to arm them with the tools and the confidence to decide for themselves.

GOING DIGITAL

In April 2004, Maxwell, with his brother Oliver Ryan, launched Apartment Therapy, turning the weekly email into a daily blog post, reviewing stores, offering tips, posting photos of Maxwell’s design projects and answering readers’ questions.

As the readership grew, so did Apartment Therapy. Between 2004 and 2008, the site launched sister sites, including The Kitchn (created in 2005), devoted to cooking, family, technology and green decorating. Maxwell hired full-time staff, and an expanding pool of contributors.

In early 2012, Apartment Therapy re-launched in order to better serve its readers. Because family, technology and green living are integral parts of modern life, these separate sites are now absorbed into a more comprehensive site that focuses on the two centers of life at home, living and food: Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn. Defining a new approach to the good life, The Kitchn is a resource dedicated to those who care about the quality of their food, kitchen design enthusiasts and those who embrace the joys of a basic human need: food, cooked at home that nourishes bodies and households. The site covers all facets of the kitchen from recipes to cooking lessons, product reviews and kitchen design and renovation advice.

FROM BLOGS TO BOOKS

Maxwell also wrote two bestselling design books during this time, Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure in 2006, and Apartment Therapy Presents: Real Homes, Real People, Hundreds of Design Solutions in 2008. In 2010, Clarkson Potter published his most successful book to date, New York Times best-selling Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces. The Kitchn plans to release its first book in October 2014.

Maxwell has been a regular commentator on the House & Garden Television show, Small Space, Big Style. He also appeared on HGTV’s Mission Organization and NBC’s American Dream Builders and has been interviewed in various publications including The New York Times, The New York Observer, The Wall Street Journal and House Beautiful. He is also a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens.

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Placements

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Case Study

Ten years ago, Maxwell Ryan was known as the “apartment therapist,” traveling by scooter to his clients’ homes to help them make their spaces beautiful, organized and healthy. Today his site, Apartment Therapy, a blog that began as part of his design service, has grown into a celebrated design website, helping millions “save the world, one room at a time.” As a result of the website’s rapid growth, Maxwell’s brand story was lost and few knew he was the visionary behind Apartment Therapy.

The Brooks Group was charged with enhancing Maxwell’s platform as an expert design guru, taste maker, style icon and founder of the world’s most influential home website. We also wanted to expand Maxwell’s TV presence for future projects, as well as increase awareness of Apartment Therapy outside of its niche online design community.

To ensure Maxwell had a strong sense of his on air persona and key brand messages, we engaged in a series of media training sessions. We then implemented a variety of unique communication strategies to elevate Maxwell’s platform and solidify his expertise. Through a series of key editor meetings and innovative pitch tactics, we generated numerous profile stories across a number of genres. Highlights included a fashion feature with Men’s Health, an at home story with New York Times and trend articles with Newsweek and Instyle.  We also secured regular columns with Parents and Better Homes & Gardens. To build on Maxwell’s TV presence, we garnered multiple broadcast segments with Better TV, NBC’s Open House and Huffington Post, resulting in regular appearances on GMA Live.

To increase the brand awareness on the business side, we crafted various creative deliveries that highlighted Apartment Therapy’s growth and influence in the design space. These initiatives generated stories in Wall Street Journal, Success, NewsWeek, and Entrepreneur.

Through strategically placed coverage in both the lifestyle and business space, Apartment Therapy’s visibility has dramatically increased. Within a year, readership numbers and revenue from sales reached an all-time high.

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