It was a simple idea yet highly innovative. The inspiration came about when Terri Winter and her husband Bernd (who owns a Sydney-based advertising agency) went to a club in Frankfurt, where only the best-in-class acts were to perform – from cabaret performers to comedians. Over a bottle of wine, the performances sparked an idea – why not apply the same methodology to design? An edited choice of the best products on the market? Do the research and choose the top products available, according to design experts and awards, in any chosen category and display the edited choice of design in a store and online. The idea was then streamlined to a choice of three products in each category, hence the store’s name top3 by design.
The exclamation of a loyal customer to top3 by design sums up why the store was chosen as Australia’s gia winner, and why it went on to be one of the world’s five best: “I’d have to pay to see a museum-like collection of design like this in New York!”
Winter now has three stores – two in Sydney and one in Melbourne – and a strong, solid presence online. There is nothing else like top3 in Australia, or the world for that matter. The store sticks hard and fast to its innovative concept, thus making it an ideal hot spot for people who truly appreciate great designer products and honoring their creators.
“The gia win was a significant turning point for the store,” says Winter. “The win itself was very rewarding, but to have international recognition as well was incredibly significant – and meant more to us than the recognition found at home in Australia simply because it spread the word of top3 further afield and into other new markets.”
The process of entering gia meant that top3 had to take a really close look at the business and at what Terri and her team wanted it to be moving forward. “The application process demanded we assess where we were, who we were and where we wanted to be,” says Winter. “And that has helped us to develop the strong brand that we now are.”
Terri and Bernd have always harbored a passion for extraordinary products. This passion, combined with 18 months of housewares product research, cemented the future of top3 by design.
“top3 by design was one of the first businesses to offer an edited collection of products – a reduced offering in retail, to provide more benefit for customers. They know that what they are looking at and buying is up there with the best in the world,” explains Winter. “We continue to research and edit the collection, and a signature style has developed that customers have come to expect. This gives us a distinctive element that is not trend- or fashion-driven.”
Owning a store that maintains its incredibly distinct style and philosophy is something that the Winters have every right to be proud of. Now their personal lives and working lives are intrinsically entwined, and they love it.
“Now heading into its 12th year, top3 is a very large part of my life!” exclaims Winter. “Both my husband and I have our own businesses – he has had his advertising agency for 25 or so years, and we both enjoy working hard. But we can also enjoy the flexibility that having your own business affords.”
Winter works seven days a week during the busy Christmas period through November and December, but she tries to spend most of January overseas taking a break. Even if that does mean checking out what other people are doing in the world of design and wondering what they can do next. “That time is a great opportunity every year to look at things from a more external perspective, and it is a huge part of each year’s planning – as well as a much-needed break. top3 has provided the vehicle for me to indulge my passion for design as part of my ‘everyday life’ – and that is a huge reward.”
To learn more about top3 by design, visit www.top3.com.au.
Terri Winter’s Pinterest account: http://www.pinterest.com/terriwinter/