This is what it's really like inside an e-commerce start-up


Judith Treanor is a Sydney-based entrepreneur who spent years travelling through South East Asia. She enjoys a few things about the various different cultures that have pulled her back time and time again but above all, Treanor says she’s passionate about the creativity and talent of so many people she’s met along the way. So she turned that into a business venture. Merging her passions with the years of experience Treanor gained sourcing products for large UK department stores, she started the online retailer Temples and Markets which sells artisan products from South East Asia. And the best bit – it supports the local communities that have inspired her for years. So there’s the inspiration, but here’s what Judith has to say about the real experience of starting and running a business in the e-commerce space.     

What are the best and worst parts of your experience?

The most fun is when the orders come in. I get a kick out of every order I receive as it’s so rewarding to know consumers love the products I love.

Sourcing product is fun if I'm travelling in the countries that I love – Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Singapore.

The most boring part is creating and editing email campaigns through Mailchimp – it’s something that has to be done but can be so time consuming. 

When do you feel most challenged?

Working out the best ways to get traffic to my website and convert the traffic into sales. There are so many different strategies from all Social Media platforms to PR to SEO to digital marketing that as a one woman band it can be daunting to try to work on all of those. I have taken the sensible option though and only concentrate on those that seem to be working and provide engagement from consumers. 

The biggest surprise so far?

How up and down e-commerce can be. There have been weeks when I really thought the business was taking off... daily orders for significant amounts and then the next week it all goes quiet again. This is all part and parcel of any business and I try not to let it get me down.

What’s the reward?

Being able to make a tangible difference to the life of the artisans whose products I sell. I call it a Win-Win – showcasing beautiful jewellery, home decor and so on and being able to improve lives at the same time. I'm also contributing to an ever increasing circle of women - those who buy a gorgeous bag or a bracelet and by doing so they are positively affecting the life of another woman in a country like Vietnam or Cambodia through trade, empowering them and their families.

Does it pay well?

Not yet, I hope it will but at the moment all funds go directly back into the business to buy new stock or pay for marketing.

Your next goal?

To become Australia's Go-To online curated store for unique gift shopping. I have high hopes for this Xmas and have to keep getting the message out there that I am showcasing unique gifts made by unique people from unique cultures.