Business award winner Maddison Lawrence has leapt straight from school into business success, but she has some news for anyone tempted to think she got there by chance.
As the Australian distributor for FlexiShield, an automotive paint protection film, Ms Lawrence, 24, said she was happy to take home the Aspiring Young Business Woman award at the Women in Business Awards last week.
Her company, Slick Azz Protective Coatings, specialises in supplying hi-tech film, which “selfheals” and protects vehicle paintwork from stone chips, scratches and oxidisation.
“I saw it at an international trade show and begged them to give me the Australian rights,” Ms Lawrence said.
“I was delighted to win the award because you don’t accidentally get there...a lot of people think I must have fluked it — but I want people to know my brain built my business, not anything else,” she said.
Ms Lawrence finished school at Cannon Hill Anglican College in 2011 with a successful car detailing business already on the map.
“I cleaned cars, and that was the start of it,” she said.
“I did that for a long time, hands-on, it was the way to learn business.”
Deciding that university looked like “wasted time”, Ms Lawrence instead forged ahead becoming an employer and winning major fleet contracts.
But she already knew that what she wanted was a bigger opportunity, and she recognised that Australians had been slow to pick up on the benefits of vehicle paint protection.
“Eight out of 10 cars in Canada have paint protection,” Ms Lawrence said.
She sold off the car cleaning component of her business, which she had started at school, to concentrate on the paint protection business.
“I have distribution with 26 dealers across Australia, and our shop at Wacol is independently doing well,” Ms Lawrence said.
At Wacol, expensive new trucks and luxury cars line the driveway at her business, as owners discover the benefits of protecting expensive paintwork.
“On my radar now is a mentorship program to get more women into this male-dominated industry.
“We need more people who are skilled because it is so new.
“FlexiShield is a very impressive technology, massive overseas but super new in Australia.”
Despite having no regrets about skipping university, Ms Lawrence is now learning the basics of business management through a business learning program.
She is also quite excited about the prizes she won as part of her award — some more business courses and a diamond pendant necklace.
“The business courses are about the best prize I could possibly have won,” she said.
“Although, it’s the first diamond pendant I have owned — that’s good too.”