SME brands I like: Temple & Webster

Members-only online shopping ‘clubs’ have been around for a while and have become known as places where you can find the odd great thing amid piles of stuff you would never buy at any price. Then there is Temple & Webster.

If beautiful quality homewares are your thing (yes), but many of them are out of reach at their usual prices (yes), then this might be the best website you’ve ever stumbled across.

In fact, stumbling across it is exactly how I originally found the site while looking around online for the oh-so trendy Turkish towels to add to my beach bag last summer.
Times have changed and with a recent feature article in BRW it seems the secret is out. So what encourages the hordes to flock to Temple & Webster’s site (great prices being an obvious drawcard)?

From the beginning Temple & Webster were choosy about suppliers they listed on their site. Just having some stock you want to move isn’t enough. You have to request to be a supplier. The stock on the site is sometimes well-known names, sometimes not, but it is all good-quality Australian and international designers.

The Temple & Webster website doesn’t look discount. Like the stock they carry, it is beautifully presented, but unlike lots of sites that are great to look at and hell to use this one manages to be easy to use as well. It doesn’t shout at you (too much).

And the investment in photography pays off with carefully curated props offsetting the products and amping up the ‘must-have’ factor – all adding to the overall sense of polish and luxe living it presents. While (sometimes significantly) lower than retail price is a key, things never feel cheap.
And while good products and a good site are a great start there is always room for improvement. The only proverbial bone I would pick is the internet-only customer service. And judging by online reviews even delivery of that is a mixed bag of timely and helpful and dismissive and tardy.

I am sure there are operating cost reasons for the internet-only customer service model and they are far from alone in going that way. However, people still like someone to talk to when things don’t go as planned. And when things aren’t handled in a timely fashion, review websites provide a handy outlet for frustration potentially impacting a future customer’s view of what you’re trying to do.
Personally, I have had no problems at all with my orders. I got the products I ordered as ordered. The price was great value. They arrived to the delivery expectations that had been set and have been lovingly enjoyed ever since.

You can learn more about Temple & Webster here, but I’d hide the credit card before visiting.
Here are three takeaways for other SMEs:

  • Price can be an important part of your strategy, but it is rarely, if ever, the only thing. Don’t forget the other pieces and make sure they align.
  • Customer service always matters – think hard about the hidden costs of only having online methods of contact and if you go that way be especially conscious of clearly setting expectations (and meeting them).

  • Once you get who you are and what you stand for sorted out and your operations are aligned with that, make sure your website (or any other marketing and communication) presentation reflects them too. Make it visible – and yes, here is where investing in good writers and designers can pay dividends.

As a note – anyone I mention in these blog posts is here solely because I like what they are doing and think others can pick up a tip or two from them.

If you like a brand and think I would like it too post it in comments or give me a shout out on Twitter with the name and I promise I’ll look at them – can’t promise I’ll talk about them though.
See you next week.

Michel is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments