Terri Winter is a curator of great design. The co-owner and founder of retail store top3 by design, she explores the world online and on foot, ensuring that the products her store carries are deemed to be the top three in the world: in their product category, by design experts and by winning awards.
Before opening the doors of the first top3 by design in 2001 with her husband, Creative Director Bernd Winter, Terri Winter was a graphic designer. “My graphic design background and passion for digital media has proven a great asset in my current role,” she says. “An online and in-store synergy is imperative in today’s retail world, and being able to control this ever-changing environment keeps us up to date and at the forefront of our industry.”
top3 became one of five gia Global Honorees at the 2009 Global Innovation Awards, with the store also winning the Martin M. Pegler Award for Excellence in Visual Merchandising. Among other things such as product display and promotions, the judges were incredibly impressed with the innovative concept behind the store’s creation – the offering of an edited choice of the best products in the world for homes and lifestyle.
Winter is heavily involved in the design scene in Australia. She also regularly travels the world, attending design and retail trade shows, exploring an endless emergence of new retail concepts and checking out the established stores, always gathering new ideas and products for top3.
“I am also a judge on the Australian International Design Awards Panel,” says Terri Winter. “And through that, I was recently part of a three-day design debate with professionals involved in all aspects of design from all around the world. It is always a wonderful experience, and being able to witness the caliber of new design hitting the market is always so exciting! Just like my involvement in the Discover Design panel for the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, the process unearths some great ranges for me to pursue for top3.”
Winter’s ongoing pet project is designbank.com.au. “Recently, we supplied around 40 designers and artists around the world with the classic streamliner car from Playsam, in its raw state, and they customized the toy. The diversity of results is astounding! Each of these cars will ultimately be auctioned off to raise funds for Australia’s first contemporary design museum for small objects.”
This museum is a good fit for Winter, as design and how it affects the little things in life is her passion. “I love design that changes the everyday, rather then the ‘wow – look at me’ kind of design, and I have a particular soft spot for design that unfolds to reveal its cleverness.”
Winter finds these clever designs and inspiration everywhere. “Blogs and design sites are a daily inspiration,” she says. “International trips and downtime often provide the best time for me – for very broad thinking about the business. Removal of the day-to-day pressures of running a business can change my focus, and so some of the best overall business decisions stem from my ‘time-out’ in January. Running your own business and having a genuine passion for design means there is no such thing as real ‘time-out’ though!”
Terri Winter’s advice to others striving to make a difference in retail, or any chosen field, is a simple mantra. But it’s something many of us forget as we move through life, chasing our dreams: “Celebrate small achievements, keeping in mind that everyone else sees what you have done, not the list of things you wish you had done!”