Media Release, 31 July 2015

From French fashion to Queensland couture, a pioneering online retailer has tonight been named the 2015 Telstra Queensland Business of the Year.

Sarah Timmerman launched Beginning Boutique from her Forest Lake home in 2008 after a trip to Paris for her 21st birthday and has since built a powerful social media presence to sell its in-house designed garments, designer labels and wholesale stock.

With an entrepreneurial streak inspired by her business owner parents, Ms Timmerman started her business after visiting a shop in Paris. She says: “It had the most amazing interior and their customer service was amazing, something that has always stuck with me.”

“From an early age I knew cash flow was paramount and saw the highs and the lows of business - this prepared me for the trials and tribulations.”

Ms Timmerman posts daily content to make customers feel part of the Beginning Boutique community and boasts almost one million followers across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

“I identified social media as a promotion goldmine, and used it as a cost effective online growth opportunity. I took full advantage of being one of the first in on the business Facebook page revolution. Social media has been a great driver for our success,” she said.

Beginning Boutique’s signature packaging - a purple branded dust bag, a hand written postcard and a holographic post bag – is designed to build the brand and generate further social conversations.

Targeting women aged 16 to 24 for its fashion, accessories and homewares products, Ms Timmerman says the exclusive in-house label garments and above-and-beyond, fast-response customer service sets Beginning Boutique apart from rivals.

Other winners of the 2015 Telstra Queensland Business Awards named tonight at the Sofitel Brisbane include eco disposable nappies business Ecoriginals, fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog Styling You with Nikki Parkinson, interior fit-out specialists Tú Projects, and tourism business Cape York Camping Punsand Bay.

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, said: “The five Queensland winners are brilliant and inspiring businesses that are being celebrated for innovation, industry leadership, creative use of technology and their contribution to the local economy.

“Beginning Boutique is a very innovative online business with a strong marketing plan and impressive real-time analytics.

“The Telstra Awards judges said the business has a huge opportunity for growth, great market knowledge and strong financials.”

Winners of the 2015 Telstra Queensland Business Awards are:

Start-up Award
Ecoriginals, Murarrie
Ecoriginals founders Lachlan and Lisa Laing launched their eco disposable nappies in 2013 after 2.5 years’ research and development. The nappies are sold through 150 retailers and online with home delivery. The Ecoriginal nappy is mostly biodegradable made of a wood pulp/corn starch combination and uses 100 per cent compostable packaging. Ecoriginals has also developed baby wipes and compostable bin liners. The Telstra Judges praised its innovation, marketing and growth plans and the passion of the owners. They described it as a very scaleable business with all processes and procedures in place and strong finances.

Micro Business Award

Styling You with Nikki Parkinson, Paddington
In 2008 fashion editor Nikki Parkinson-Hubbard left a 20-year journalism career to start a business as a personal stylist for busy women. She also launched fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog Styling You with Nikki Parkinson. The blog’s popularity exploded and in 2012 and Nikki ceased personal styling appointments to grow her online audience of women aged 25 to 55. Attracting 130,000 unique visitors a month, it attracts a stream of advertising and sponsorship revenue. Telstra Judges said the owner took a great risk to start the business and her execution in the online environment was phenomenal. They said the business has a good community focus, impressive marketing and growth plans and strong financials with low costs.

Small Business Award

Beginning Boutique, West End

Medium Business Award
Tú Projects, East Brisbane
Interior fit-out specialists Tú Projects was launched by Rob Rowe in 2004 and has gained a reputation for on-time and on-budget completion of high-profile shop fitouts in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and other parts of Australia. Tú Projects plans, designs, builds and maintains tailored fit-outs for a range of sectors including hospitality and food service, retail, commercial and medical. Telstra Judges said Tú Projects was a well-structured, growing shopfitting business with solid finances, a very strong sense of purpose and plans for a future IPO. They described the business as ‘amazing’ and a ‘game-changer’ compared to its competitors.

Regional Award
Cape York Camping Punsand Bay, Cape York Peninsula
Offering beachfront accommodation and camping at the most northern address in mainland Australia, Cape York Camping Punsand Bay attracts adventurers, anglers, beachcombers, birdwatchers and history buffs. Owners Rod, Anne and Jack Colquhoun extensively transformed a former fishing lodge early in 2013 and poured their tourism experience into its operations. The business offers boating tours, pearl farm visits and helicopter flights among a range of activities in one of Australia's most untouched, wildlife-abundant wildernesses. Telstra Judges said the business has a very strong customer focus and offers a world class product. They said the owners have great values and impressive marketing and business plans.

Telstra Queensland Business of the Year
Beginning Boutique, West End

Winners of the Telstra Queensland Business Awards will now proceed to the 2015 Telstra Australian Business Awards that will be announced in Sydney on 20 August.

For more information about the Awards or to nominate for the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Awards, visit or call 1800 AWARDS between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday. The Awards were established in 1992 to celebrated brilliant Australian small and medium businesses.