media | Nov 8, 2019 |
Galerie makes some big hires—what's next?

When asked about the ideal Galerie article, editor in chief Jacqueline Terrebonne described a recent feature on the home of a blue-chip art collector. The client had hired award-winning New York–based architect Deborah Berke to oversee renovations and Sotheby’s executive Lisa Dennison as a consultant—and this was all before leading New York design gallery Maison Gerard came through on a custom fireplace by glass artist Kiko Lopez. It was a fitting answer for a publication that seeks to cover the luxurious intersection of two worlds: art and design. No surprise then that the title’s two most recent hires are neatly divided between two of its biggest beats.

Galerie makes some big hires—what's next?
Beth Brenner

One will be familiar to Business of Home readers: Beth Brenner, the longtime chief revenue officer of Domino Media Group, who left the brand in July and this week joined Galerie as president. (She’ll be stepping into a suite of responsibilities occupied by former CRO Mara Gredick, who left the quarterly to pursue opportunities outside of publishing.)

Brenner brings deep experience in design media—and in growing and repositioning media brands. She spent 11 years at Self, starting in 1993, broadening its focus from fitness to wellness; she then became founding publisher of the original Domino, as well as a force behind the brand’s relaunch in 2013—two iterations of the same mission: access to good design.

“My focus wasn’t on staying in the media business,” admits Brenner of her post-Domino plans. But the opportunities presented by the role at Galerie recalled the challenges she’d embraced in previous posts. “It’s a way to stay in the design world, learn a lot about the art world, and join while the energy is startup-y to take it to the next level,” she tells BOH. “They are coming off a great year in terms of ad growth and brand awareness, they have a clear point of view, the magazine is beautifully produced, people are talking about it—there’s a lot of momentum there. My role is to bottle that enthusiasm and monetize it.”

What will that mean for Galerie? It’s early days (BOH spoke to Brenner before she even had her desk set up), but there are hints of where she sees the publication headed. “I’m thinking about the brand’s editorial platforms and how to make them bigger, more multi-platform, more exciting for advertisers, and how to take people beyond the printed page,” she says. “The overarching plan is to stay the course in terms of editorial mission, but introduce new ways to drive revenue through collaborations, partnerships and events.”

Brenner also emphasizes the key role of the brand’s digital platforms in the company’s overall strategy. It’s a shift in step with the book’s other new hire, Mark Rosen, who joins Galerie as head of digital after five and a half years at Artsy.

Scale for the sake of it is not of interest.
Mark Rosen, new head of digital at Galerie

Rosen’s tenure at the art world site came during a time of explosive growth. When he joined, the startup consisted of 30 people on one floor. When he left, it employed over 200, and the brand’s social following neared 4 million across channels. As associate director of marketing, Rosen was responsible for a variety of duties, including helping to shape social and content strategy.

He also played a key role on luxury brand partnerships, including a multifaceted initiative with Dior that included an online editorial feature, an IRL display in the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, and a tie-in with Frieze New York. In other words, precisely the kind of omnichannel opportunity that appeals to today's advertisers—who Rosen observes “are getting smarter and more discerning with their dollars. … They’re wanting both the brand buy and the performance marketing buy at the same time.”

Galerie makes some big hires—what's next?
Galerie's Emerging Artists issueCourtesy of Galerie

On the content side, Rosen plans to dig into the metrics and make the site more analytics literate, and to grow the brand’s reach without losing its insider cachet. “We need to be very aggressive with scaling, but thoughtful, and acquire the right people,” he tells BOH. “Scale for the sake of it is not of interest.”

What does that look like in practice? For starters, Rosen is hoping to leverage Galerie’s robust network of insiders for content with a strong perspective. “Our target audience is likely already going to major art and design world events, they’re tapped in, they travel,” he says. “Sure, we could go and write ‘The Top 10 Booths at Art Basel,’ or we could tap someone who is a really interesting, insightful character who is an insider and create content that gives people a peek into their mind. … The ‘Top 10 Booths’ angle is done by everyone. We’re in a prime position to disrupt that and try something entirely new.”

Galerie is no stranger to blue-chip hires, though it has struggled to find the perfect mix of talent. Founded in 2016 by art collectors and spouses James and Lisa Cohen (James is also CEO of Hudson News; Lisa is editorial director of the magazine), the book’s first three issues were led by longtime design journalist and author Suzanne Slesin; both Slesin and her team were replaced in November 2016. Former Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell was soon named editor at large, then editor in chief of Galerie, only to exit 18 months later. In May 2018, Terrebonne was named editor in chief, and design journalist Rozalia Jovanovic was appointed to a senior editorial role—she’s since left the company.

Despite the media musical chairs, Galerie has built a robust audience and an upmarket brand in a short amount of time. Backed by an engaged private owner, and supported by Sandow’s infrastructure (the Cohens and Sandow share a stake), the title is a tantalizing growth opportunity—one both Brenner and Rosen are excited to seize.

Galerie is trying to own a very interesting intersection of disciplines, which puts it in a really exciting place to be able to scale with a really qualified audience,” says Rosen. “We’re not going to be competing with Buzzfeed tomorrow, but that’s OK, that’s not the business that we’re in.”

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