The brainchild of Kaety Thompson and her co-founder Marc Reid, Oliver Thom is celebrating its fifth anniversary, marking a significant milestone for the business which has carved out a niche in the world of luxury bathroom accessories. Since the launch, it’s become the go-to place for chic soap pumps, posh toilet brushes, designer towels and more.
Despite launching just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and navigating the current cost of living crisis, Oliver Thom has not only survived but thrived. “We opened what was supposed to be a pop-up shop in Sydney’s Woollahra just before lockdown hit but our online business boomed during COVID. Our best year was 2021,” says Kaety, whose business partner Marc owns bathroom ware store Candana. The brand did so well in fact that its sales tripled in that period with Kaety attributing its success to people redirecting their travel funds towards creating beautiful living spaces.
The brand, primarily catering to the bathroom, emphasises the importance of making that space as stylish as the rest of the home. With this directive, it sells a super stylish line-up of quality brands including Baina, Tina Frey and Frama, that Kaety sources from across the globe.
And while she couldn’t travel internationally to source during COVID, since the world has opened up again, Kaety has attended the Paris trade shows where she has found some exciting new brands to add to the mix. “We picked up a stylish non-stick shower curtain brand from Brooklyn called Quiet Town as well as Hetkinen which is a beautiful range of fragrance and soap products inspired by the Finnish forest.”
As for navigating the current cost of living crisis, Kaety admits that Oliver Thom’s store location in Sydney’s well-heeled eastern suburbs has insulated it somewhat. “We do have quite an affluent customer base so we’ve been lucky, but we also like to offer discounts and sales.” Kaety explains that many of her customers are willing to save up to buy quality wares that are set to last a very long time. “There is such a thing as ‘fast’ homewares and we try to offer the opposite of that – we sell products that will stand the test of time and should last as long as your bathroom.”
Oliver Thom’s top five best sellers
Baina Josephine hand towel, $49: Australian brand Baina has developed a cult following since its inception a few years ago and Oliver Thom has supported it from the beginning. “It’s been so nice watching the evolution of that brand,” says Kaety.
Orris Le Botaniste soap, $35: Made in the South of France from quality botanical infused ingredients, these face and body cleansing bars smell great and look fabulous too.
Oliver Thom x TF Designs bath tray – limited edition Amber, $550: A collaboration with US designer Tina Frey, this resin bath tray is super chic. It’s designed to sit across the bath and hold all your bath items on a stylish, minimal platform.
Hetkinen scent diffuser, $59: Made in Finland to smell like a pine forest, we love the timber ball design of this diffuser. It’s much more stylish than the usual sticks!
Quiet Town Home Sun Shower curtain – Squeeze, $160: Who says a shower curtain can’t be stylish? “We’ve had a lot of customers use these in older home renovations but some designers have used them in new projects too,” says Kaety.