WORDS: Corrine Barraclough PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
Lauxes Grates is all about problem-solving. Having worked hard to develop a product designed by trade, for trade, with ease of on-site installation, it’s now going from strength to strength.
ESTABLISHED in 2010, Lauxes Grates (trading under Lauxes Products) is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most exclusive designers and manufacturers of elegant water drainage solutions for indoor and outdoor applications.
Like many thriving businesses, there’s a compelling back-story spanning many years of experience which has led the company to this point. A great deal of time and energy has been poured into developing a product that’s designed by trade, for trade.
“We’ve become a popular builder’s choice for durability, functionality and affordability,” Tim Dawson, who was named as one of the Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs of Australia in 2019 and 2020, tells ORM. His extensive experience spans cabinet making, electrical, real estate and construction.
“I know what it’s like to be using material that’s not up to scratch. Over the years I’ve often worked with products knowing that the person who made it has never used it. That’s one of many things that makes us different.”
Tim was born and bred here on the Gold Coast.
“People think of the GC as being a sleepy town – far from it! This is a phenomenal hub for business and we want people to know we’re a local success story,” he says. “The GC has the capacity to achieve great things.”
Busily renovating their new Global HQ based in Ashmore to take the company to the next level, Tim’s energy is infectious. With personality, focus and drive like this, it’s hardly surprising he scooped the Gold Coast Business Excellence Award in 2020.
“It’s a great honour to be recognised by those I look up to for inspiration,” he says. “It’s only several years ago since I sat in awe of these people – that award (2020 Annual Category Winner for Retail, Wholesale and Distribution) was a turning point for me. Business can be very lonely until you find a network of people who have experienced similar challenges and really understand.”
Rewind 13 years, Tim took a trip to China to see for himself where a lot of materials are being made.
“I saw first-hand that they’re not made for our market and they’re not suited for our country. I wanted to put a stop to that,” he says. “Everyone blames China. They just scream that they should make things better, but they haven’t bothered to show them how. Now, our product is perfect, and their business is flourishing as a result.”
But it’s not all number-crunching. This truly is a business with heart. Dawson has built this from the ground up.
“It was very lonely at the start. I would tell my mates I had the beers in, get them ‘round and they’d find there was a whole container to unload,” Tim says, laughing. “Now I’m in a position to pay it forward. For instance, one of those friends has a son who I’m now sponsoring, as he is an up and coming race car driver.”
There was a lot of sacrifice and, unsurprisingly, a lot of long hours.
“I was away from my family a lot. I missed milestones and I remember clocking up a 132-hour week at one stage. I was working seven days a week. My diet was appalling. I was living off baked beans and eight cans of V energy drink per day. I was in survival mode.”
Tim credits ProTrade United with helping him turn his mindset around.
“Now, I have a personal coach and a business coach. They’ve been a big part of our success story,” he says. “What I’ve learned from them is incredible. They basically train a tradie out of a van and into a business.”
Lauxes Grates is also a business that genuinely values its people.
“The product has been the vehicle of our success, but the best part of our business is the team,” Tim says. “It is, without doubt, our best creation. It’s a fun and inspiring company to learn and grow in. That’s what it’s all about to me. I genuinely enjoy being a leader – not being a boss just telling people what to do but really leading.
“My mantra and my goal is to unlock everyone’s full potential. My business success is a result of all the mistakes I made. In former businesses when I was younger, I didn’t appreciate people the way I do now. I kept a lot of secrets and it didn’t serve me well. I was broken when I went bankrupt. Without that bankruptcy experience behind me, I wouldn’t be here.
“Now, at Lauxes Grates, we’ve built a company culture I’m incredibly proud of. We work on total transparency and always tell the truth. I’ve found that the more I tell the truth in business, the more successful I’ve become. We come together as a team every Friday to check in on the business pulse, review the week and discuss what the next week looks like.
“Ego doesn’t drive the business here – I learned the hard way and I’m so grateful for that. Experience is the best teacher.”
Careful, ORM says – you may get a flurry of CVs coming through your door.
“Fine with us,” Tim says. “We’re hiring!”
Visit www.lauxesgrates.com.au or call 1300 214 510 for more information, tech talks and product news
- Lauxes’ head office is on the Gold Coast, with warehouses in Western Australia, Victoria and expanding.
- Available through more than 1600 wholesalers (growing daily).
- 14km+ of grates sold every month.
- In-depth product knowledge has kept Lauxes ahead of competitors.
- Lauxes Grates has received awards including ProTrade United awards for Team Leadership, Student Engagement and Business of the Year and the Gold Coast Business Excellence Award 2020 for Retail, Wholesale & Distribution.