It’s Q&A time with some of our favourite bloggers – editorial director Karen McCartney & editor Victoria Baker, who both blog for online homewares shopping site Temple & Webster, and Caroline Walsh, who is head of buying at T&W. templeandwebster.com.au
Real Living: How did the three of you end up working at T&W?
Karen: “I have spent all my career in magazine publishing. Interiors have been my personal and professional passion. In my last couple of years at News Limited I worked on digital projects such as launching the body+soul website and developing a news-based digital offering, which sadly never happened. So I had made the mental jump from print to digital already before T&W approached me to work with them.”
Victoria: “For me it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time! I joined the T&W team in the early days and worked on everything editorial, from sales copy right through to the blog. We’re really building on our editorial strengths now, and I’m thrilled to be working with Karen.”
Caroline: “I was working at Coco Republic when a couple of the T&W co-founders contacted me. We had crossed paths at News Magazines whilst I was managing advertising and they knew I had a passion for interiors and the industry.”
real living: Karen, you work on so many varied and interesting creative projects – what in particular drew you to the T&W blog?
Karen: “I love the idea of helping grow a relatively new brand into something much more significant through editorial engagement. T&W is a homewares site with daily sales and the editorial piece gives the audience something interesting to read as well as shop. We can tell the back story of many of the people behind the sales events as their story is often really fascinating and it helps make a connection between the objects for sale and the people behind the brands. We also create stories that are independent of the sales to showcase trends, creative people and inspirational images.”
real living: How do you collaborate together to choose/edit and create content – what’s your work process?
Victoria & Caroline: “We’ve always worked closely together to make sure our editorial dovetails with what’s in our sale events - we catch up regularly to review what’s coming up, and think about how we can tell a story around it that’s interesting and inspiring for our readers.”
real living: Do you think having a blog is important for online businesses?
Karen: “I think it’s essential to create a personality for the brand and to talk, and listen, to our audience, not just sell them things, but hopefully they will do that too.”
Victoria: “Yes! Australians are avid online shoppers and consumers of content, and we want to add the storytelling layer via the blog to make the whole T&W experience really engaging.”
Caroline: “Absolutely. Consumers have such a desire for information and the more educated they are about brands and designers, the more comfortable they feel about making those important purchasing decisions.”
real living: Often blogs are a source of inspiration for readers – how do you want to inspire the people who read the T&W blog?
Victoria: “Our aim is always to inspire our readers to create beautiful spaces in their own homes. We do that in a few different ways – telling the stories behind our brands and the creative people behind them, talking about why a particular ‘look’ works and how to style it yourself, and also providing access to some of the top stylists and industry experts to learn about what inspires them, and their personal style. Pictures are always inspiring too, so we like to show off the beautiful images styled and photographed by our creative team.”
real living: Caroline, you also worked for a magazine publisher before this role – how has your work life changed and what do you enjoy most about working at T&W?
Caroline: “My work life has completely changed. Rather than admiring the products on the page, I now get to touch and feel them every day. Some would say I just shop all day, but it’s actually really important to get to know each and every product as we need to ensure that the products we offer are of great quality and continually delight our members.”
real living: Are there any features you’ve posted that you found particularly amazing to work on – any incredible people or places you’ve come across?
Karen: “My favourite is a post we did on Cassandra Karinsky of Kulchi because she is an inspiring woman with great style and is a global entrepreneur in her chic, low-key way. We photographed her at home and the images are beautiful. I also bought a Beni Ouarain rug from her, which I love.”
Victoria: “I loved meeting Martyn Lawrence Bullard while he was in Australia, and having a sneak peek into the completely over-the-top world of an LA decorator. His clients include Elton John & Cher – people not exactly known for their restraint – and he shops around the world for their homes.”
real living: What has been the highlight of your time at T&W so far?
Karen:”For me it is the relaxed atmosphere, the people I work with and the ability to get things done quickly.”
Victoria: “I have loved the contact with designers, stylists and creative people, and having the chance to see the world through their eyes.”
Caroline: “It would have to be taking the concept of T&W and building it into what it is today. Hand-selecting product that truly makes a difference to members’ homes and seeing them buy it is an absolute thrill.”
real living: We’d love a sneak preview of what’s coming up on T&W blog! Are there any exciting plans in the mix? Can you share anything with us?
Victoria: “We have recently launched some new regular series – including ‘My week in pictures’ for the Instagram crowd and ‘These are our friends’, showcasing the homes of some of the people in our world. We’re making new plans all the time and the great thing is that we can work quickly, so there’s always something new.”
real living: What sets the T&W blog apart from other interior blogs?
Karen: “We are different in that Temple & Webster is primarily a sales site, rather than a pure content site, but we are free to cover editorially whatever will excite and inspire our audience. As it is a members-only site we know that people who have signed up that are passionate about their home and so it gives us a very open brief. We can profile the most interesting people the industry and show a slice of their creative world.”
Victoria: “What I love is our ability to show you something beautiful, then give you access to it straight away for your own home.”