Local Business Meets Grate Expectations In The US
WORDS: Ocean Road Magazine PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
Grate indeed – it was an epiphany.
Tim Dawson was sitting in an airport in the US as the threat of COVID-19 loomed, about to lock down the world.
It was there while anxiously awaiting a return flight from a trade fair home to the Gold Coast, that he had an epiphany.
“I was sitting at the airport and it struck me – the world actually needed what we had to offer,” says Tim of his tearaway manufacturing success Lauxes Grates.
“The building industry across the globe was encountering problems but no one had fixed the problem or found a solution. That’s when I changed focus and opportunities started to open up for us.”
The company is now on the cusp of US expansion with the largest plumbing chain in the country, Ferguson, stocking Lauxes Grates across its 2132 outlets. The ‘mum and dad’ independent wholesalers are connecting customers to the Gold Coast brand in staggering numbers.
“The opportunity in the US is huge and we have only just scratched the surface,” says Tim.
“We start with the independent stores first, they are our bread and butter, and then the larger chains come on board. It’s a model that has worked for us very well in Australia.”
With more than 2,500 distributors Australia-wide and 50 employees, Lauxes Grates is achieving impressive year-on-year growth of 41 per cent. Not bad for a local company that toiled away for years in the Molendinar Industrial Estate.
By staying in its lane, Lauxes Grates has developed an award-winning product that is taking the industry by storm.
Tim established the business in 2010 with more than 1000 product lines but decided to concentrate his efforts on refining a single product – an anodised aluminium linear drainage grate.
The grates have become a must-have for the plumbing and tiling industry, taking a stylish and innovative approach to water waste drainage in showers, bathrooms, swimming pools and anywhere else water needs to be drained.
The business has come a long way from its original customer base of 24 distributors just over a decade ago. With a manufacturing plant in China and a UV stabilisation anodise factory in Taiwan, the company is on target for revenues exceeding $20 million this year.
“We want to change the world, one grate at a time. The beast keeps on moving and we have had to adjust and make some changes along the way, but there’s no stopping it now,” says Tim, beaming with entrepreneurial spirit.
Last year the company received a branding boost after making the Australian Financial Review Fast 100 list. The initiative recognises the growth of Australian companies with more than $5 million in revenue in the last financial year.
“We are super proud to be held in the same esteem with household names that started out as Fast 100 list members including Boost Juice, Cellarmasters, RedBalloon, Seek, and WebJet,” says Tim.
“The brand is now so well known and we are very proud of what it has achieved. I never really understood the value of it, it was just this thing that we made and people bought it. Now it means everything to us and its recognition across the industry continues to soar.”
Winner of numerous Gold Coast Business Awards, Lauxes Grates prides itself on quality. It is also proudly Gold Coast – an element that Tim does not take for granted.
“Each time I fly back into the Gold Coast, I’m reminded how lucky we are to live here. It has everything going for it and I get overwhelmed by the sense of being home. I want to put the Gold Coast on the world stage with our product and it’s pretty exciting to see that happening,” he says.
The company might be going global, but it has local community at its heart. Supporting sporting organisations and local athletes is forged in its DNA.
It proudly supports the NRL franchise Gold Coast Titans following a three-year sponsorship deal inked in 2021.
Each time the side hits the field, it’s another reminder for Tim and his team about the teamwork that has brought the business to where it is today.
It also sponsors local FMX rider and Director of Airtime Freestyle Motocross team Brad Birch, a ‘mate from the old days’ when Tim’s previous venture, Sloth Industries, was being backflipped into extreme sports stores around the country.
“It’s the people that make the brand so great. The people who dedicate their time and energy to Lauxes, do it with the same drive and willpower as me,” says Tim.
“The people of the Gold Coast and the communities we support are also part of our success story, so we try to give back whenever we can.”
One of the company’s many ‘grate’ monikers is ‘grate things are coming’.
The saying could also be flipped to ‘grate things are going’ given the booming offshore opportunities on the horizon.
Adding to its US expansion, the company will soon export to seven countries, including New Zealand, Dubai, Canada, South Africa, the UK and Germany.
Changing the world one grate at a time? With its current trajectory and forecast growth, ‘one shipping container at a time’ might be a more apt way to describe the aspirations of this grate Gold Coast success story.
Visit: www.lauxesgrates.com.au for more information