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Career Story – Lauren Havelaar (POW Campaign)

As part of the POW campaign, Lauren tells her...

Career Stories

Lauren Havelaar
Business Owner, Saltburn

Sector: Creative
Growing up on a farm is where Lauren Havelaar learnt the skills to get her where she is today.

Where do you call home?

I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Saltburn. Luckily, when I was growing up my dad had this amazing workshop. There, he taught me to use everything from lathes and milling machines to welders, all before the age of 15. Together we got stuck into every project we could, rebuilding motorbikes and restoring vehicles! I now own a home in Thornaby, where I run my own business and work part-time.

Tell us about your role?

To continue my journey, I started a business called Riveting Designs. The business is environmentally conscious and uses old scrap to create new products tailored to specific tastes. Instead of buying new, unworked metal, I strip broken engines that are full of history and work that into my designs and products, from lamps and tables to coat racks. I love to get stuck in. Every piece I make is truly unique! I never know what engines or architectural salvage I am going to get.

How did you get to where you are today?

At the age of 17 I completed my college diplomas in mechanical engineering and welding and moved on to Teesside University where I completed a BA in product design and a MSc in advanced home futures. As well as being in full time education, I bought a house when I was 22 and renovated it myself. I demolished walls, fitted RSJ’s, tiled and plumbed my dream kitchen and bathroom. Despite having little experience, I taught myself along the way and gained a solid foundation of trade-skills. In 2021, I started working as a boat builder in Stokesley, thanks to my background in welding and engineering. Despite never previously working on boats, I thrived. I am now the only woman from Hull to Newcastle who is a certified mercury mariner engineer and is able to officially service outboards. From my year of working there however, I realised that my next step in both personal and career growth, was to work for myself and I took the plunge in setting up my own business. And that’s what I’m doing today.

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?
There have been many challenges along the way. From being the only woman in mechanical engineering course, to working in a male dominated industry as a boat builder. I have always loved working with my hands in a practical way and being in these male led environments only pushed me to work harder to prove myself. The part I found the hardest was finally taking a leap of faith in myself to leave a 36 hour a week job with a steady income and concentrate on myself, and my growing business. Self-funding and building my workshop and other business start-up costs were another hurdle I had to cross. My husband helped a lot, always motivating me and telling me not to worry and having more faith in me than I had in myself at times.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?
My lightbulb moment was when I realised only, I was in control of what I do, and only I could change things. I didn’t want to work for anyone else, I saw other people start businesses from nothing and that’s what I wanted to do. Make something of myself, something I can be proud of. I turned my passion for practical mucky work into a business. If others can do it, so can I!

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?
Only you can make a future for yourself, get out there and do what you want. I love the saying, “If you love your work, you never work a day in your life.” And don’t be daunted by a male led industry, be confident there are always a way to be able to achieve your goals. You have just as much ability as a man!

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell myself to stop worrying, keep on being you and that everything works out in the end with determination. Everything happens for a reason and you made decisions for the better.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?
Trust, Passion, Smile.

Trust in the world and yourself, passion in everything you do, smiling is me!

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