Young female entrepreneur wins Microsoft SMB video competition for inspirational small business story

 |   Bob Glancy

Microsoft New Zealand has announced the winner of the inaugural Microsoft SMB inspirational video competition is Emily Jean Waterson, Founder and Director of La Maison Boutique, a supplier of French inspired antique reproduction furniture.

The Microsoft SMB competition was an initiative created to support and celebrate small businesses, recognising the most inspirational small business start-up story, to help inspire other entrepreneurs, new or existing, and motivate them to excel.

Heather Gordon, SMB Sales and Marketing Manager for Microsoft New Zealand says La Maison Boutique’s inspiring story about a young woman who followed her passion after many setbacks and learnings created a strong emotional connection with all of the competition judges.

“The honesty of Emily’s story is inspiring because she kept going when others would have given up. We always said from the start it was the best story we were looking for, not necessarily the best video and Emily nailed this. She is a very well deserving winner.”

Emily won the grand prize including a $5000 cheque, three Surface Pro 3 devices, a specialised business support package worth $5000, Office 365 Small Business Premium and a Business Growth Support programme from business incubator company The Icehouse.

Here is La Maison Boutique’s winning video:

About Emily and La Maison Boutique:

La Maison, Vintage & French country inspired furniture
Emily Jean Waterson, Founder and Director of La Maison Boutique

Emily originally had aspirations of becoming a lawyer and was studying at Auckland University and AUT, but during a particularly boring lecture she decided to search online for bedroom furniture, as there was nothing that suited her taste in New Zealand. Eventually she found a supplier in Indonesia but there was a catch, she had to order a whole container of furniture.

Emily and her friend saved up and bought enough to fill a container (around 50 pieces of furniture), then sold whatever they didn’t need on Trade Me. The Trade Me sales attracted a surprising amount of interest, so after saving more, Emily decided to order additional furniture and continue to sell it online – thus La Maison Boutique was born.

When she graduated from Law, La Maison Boutique was getting so busy that Emily decided to take the business on full time instead of pursuing a legal career.


About the competition:
Microsoft invited New Zealand’s small businesses to share their stories via inspirational videos for the chance to win business support tools to promote their enterprise.