Before ASOS started shipping to Australian shores, or Zara set-up shop in Melbourne and Sydney, Sarah Timmerman launched Beginning Boutique: An online store that packed its virtual shelves with trend-led, affordable fashion. At the time Timmermann was just 22, and created the company after being inspired on a holiday to Paris.
Today, Beginning Boutique has a whopping 514,000 Instagram followers, and a dedicated online community of shoppers who hang out for the brand's daily deliveries.
This year, Timmerman's reached another impressive milestone and is a finalist for the Queensland Young Business Woman gong at the Telstra Business Women of the Year Awards.
It's all pretty inspiring stuff, so in the hopes that a little of Timmerman's career success might rub off, we chatted with the startup queen to find out her application and interview tips, what's involved in launching a startup, and her experience working in fashion. Let's go!
Did you study at university before launching Beginning Boutique?
I did start a few degrees and am halfway through a Bachelor of Business at University of Queensland but deferred when Beginning Boutique started growing so quickly.
What did you want to be when you were a student?
I first studied physiotherapy at university however when I moved to Holland to be with my now-husband the curriculum was too different and I didn't continue.
What was your first “proper” job?
My first proper job was Toscanis. I had no hospitality experience so I told them I would work for free for a week and if they liked me they could hire me! I got the job!
What made you decide to launch Beginning Boutique?
The dream of Beginning Boutique originated after I went on a trip to Paris for my 21st Birthday and visited a retail store that had the most beautiful interior and their customer service was amazing. This inspired me to start my own company as I believed there should be an online store for shopping every day, an alternative to the mainstream way of shopping.
How many people work in your head office?
We currently have 13 full timers and around 8 casuals working at BB.
What does an average day look like for you?
My role as Director of Beginning Boutique is non-stop. I start most days with exercise whether it's a run along the river in West End, or boxing with friends. I then check social media and post something funny or inspirational on Beginning’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for our followers. Most days consist of organising social media content, replying to emails, phone calls, project work then of course the fun still like buying and forward planning... And coffee... Always coffee!
What’s the dress code at your office?
There is no strict dress code at BB. Most staff dress quite casual and are free to express themselves in whatever way they like!
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is working with my amazing team to make incredible decisions and events happen. We are evolving continually and that is amazing!
And the worst?
The worst part of my job is when we get it wrong and we have to make it up to a customer. But then when we do it makes it the best part!
You're advertising for a marketing coordinator right now. Can you sum up an ideal applicant in one sentence?
Our perfect marketing coordinator will have an interest and experience paid digital marketing and customer database segmentation and automation.
How would you describe the company culture?
BB has a family-oriented company culture that all team members are encouraged to be involved in.
Do you take on interns? How can people apply?
We do take on interns and advertise all opportunities here:
What is the interviewing process like at BB?
I will usually grab coffee with successful job applicants and interview them assessing for culture first and skills second.
Who do you consider a mentor and how did you develop a relationship with them?
I have several mentors but the most recognisable would be Steve Baxter from Shark Tank. We met on a bus on the way to a panel discussion hosted by pedestrian.tv.
Where does BB advertise new jobs?
All our jobs are advertised on our website and are often promoted on our social media.
Do you have a favorite book?
My favourite book is "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz.
Do most full-time positions at BB require a specific degree?
Different jobs will have different skill requirements but a lot of jobs at Beginning Boutique don't require a specific degree.
What makes an résumé stand out to you?
A résumé stands out to me when applicants tell me awesome things they have achieved in previous roles and how they will do the same or better for BB.