Smart50 Awards 2016

50 Beginning Boutique

Revenue

$5.2 million

Growth

35%

Founder

Sarah Timmerman, 29

Head office

Brisbane

Year founded

2008

Employees

11

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

beginningboutique.com.au

Just the beginning: How Sarah Timmerman grew online fashion site Beginning Boutique into a seven-figure businessFounder of Beginning Boutique Sarah Timmerman, has never been afraid to push the boundaries of her business, telling SmartCompany in 2015 that she was always “looking forward, chasing and hustling”.

This hustling has brought online fashion retailer Beginning Boutique annual revenue of $5.2 million in 2015-16 and a three-year growth rate of 35% – not to mention landing Timmerman a spot in this year’s Hot 30 Under 30.

“All business-owners will tell you the same thing: you cannot be afraid to ask or do something new. There’s a whole lot of truth behind these words,” Timmerman told SmartCompany.

“Life is what you make it, and if I hadn’t have pushed myself to the edge of my limits, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.”

Getting to that position hasn’t been easy though; starting the business in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis meant affordable retail spaces were impossible to find. It was for this reason that Beginning Boutique started life as an online-only retailer, which Timmerman says “proved difficult”.

“I had to then convince people to sell their products online, which was all still very new at the time!” she says.

“None of it was easy, our website crashed 50% of the time and we lost a huge amount of money my husband Maarten and I had invested into this dream of mine.”

Social media has been one of the keys to Beginning Boutique’s success, with the business attracting fans on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Timmerman believes being active across social media channels is “key to making it in the industry”.

“You’ve got to get your name out there, and social media, particularly with our demographic and industry, is a no-brainer!” she says.

“Not only is it an imperative way to build up your own media following, but it will give you an understanding of what it is your target audience wants and needs.”

Looking forward, Beginning Boutique is expanding into bricks-and-mortar retail stores to increase its customer base, and is considering a potential international expansion.

“We’ve got our eyes on the prize and the sky’s the limit!” Timmerman says.

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