Sarah Timmerman admits she’s never been the ‘fashion girl’ type, but she knew she always wanted to create and run something for herself, that offered a fun shopping experience - and that just happened to see her falling into fashion.
Sarah began her e-boutique seven years ago (2008) and with her entrepreneurial vision, determination and hard work has successfully navigated the Brisbane based brand through e-commerce and technological hurdles to the world, with the brand now worth in excess of a six figure dollar value.
She says she started Beginning Boutique when she was 21, after visiting a retail store Colette in Paris that inspired her through their product, amazing interior and their customer service. While it was her first substantial job, she felt adept to deal with the trials and tribulations of business, as she had watched both her parents be successful business owners, learning from an early age that cash flow was paramount and saw first-hand the highs and lows of running a business.
“The biggest challenges for Beginning Boutique have been around technology, for example when we changed our E-commerce platform our website was down 200 times and we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sales. Breaking even was both a memorable moment and a turning point for the business,” Sarah says.
Sarah’s perseverance through these hurdles have seen the business grow stronger in the marketplace, with Beginning Boutique named as Australia’s No.1 Social Media Brand last year (2014) and most recently being named Telstra Queensland Business of the Year (2015).
When accepting her Telstra award, she didn’t sugar coat what it takes to run a successful business: “Small business and any business is extremely hard, and if it wasn’t so hard there would be someone else standing up here… there are smarter, faster, better financed people out there, but I just keep going.”
And that’s exactly the type of business people and entrepreneurs we’re looking for as part of the Style+Substance campaign, and Sarah is on the panel to help us choose the businesses worthy of the $10,000 kick-start! (Find out more here)
“I think Brisbane breeds so many aspiring entrepreneurs because there is an opportunity to go for it here. Brissy lacks the big business employment so it allows people to really hit hard at going for themselves. However, being based in Brisbane comes with its positives and negatives. The best bits are the amazing community we have here that loves to talk business - the chilled business atmosphere, and the creative vibe we have. Worst is the lack of fashion (stock, suppliers, etc) and celebrities,” Sarah adds.
It’s not all business for Sarah though, as she starts most days with exercise, whether it's a run along the river in West End, or boxing with friends. She then checks social media for something funny or inspirational to share on Beginning Boutique’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. She says most days consist of organising social media content, replying to emails, phone calls, then of course the fun stuff, like buying and forward planning... and coffee... always coffee!
When asked what 3 bits of advice she would give to anyone wanting to start their own business, her response was that, “It’s going to be really hard, so;
1. Make sure it’s what you want;
2. Make sure you are prepared to never give up;
3. Make sure you are prepared to lose it all - because that is a true possibility.”
Sarah describes herself as happy, driven and excited, and rarely has an unenjoyable day, but when one does strike, great music (her fave track right now is Sundream by Rufus) podcasts, and coffee gets her through it. And at the end of every week, you can find her with a wine in hand at the Boundary Street Markets with her laptop uploading BB’s new arrivals.