Mining is one of Utah’s leading industries, including the extraction of iron ore, the base element for making steel.
You’re interested in investing in the fabricated metal industry, which is a sub-sector of the manufacturing industry. You can be a supplier of metal for construction companies and builders. Would supplying metal components for gates, fences, railings, staircases, or building structural components be the one for you? What are your other options?
Background and Support Group
Professionals and businesses form associations to pursue typical missions. Typically, the goal is to provide benefits to members or to pursue advocacies, like the creation of higher standards, skills improvements, or advance education.
The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FAMA) was founded in 1970 and has 2,500 individual and company members in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. You can investigate what they have to offer.
With all the expenses of setting up a new business, membership fees might not be a priority. But know that they can be an essential resource if you are looking for support in, for example, identifying contacts or potential business leads.
Associations like FAMA also hold events. Participation usually requires a fee. If you can’t afford monthly membership fees for a year, perhaps attending an event would suffice. Do your research and know the topics and the resource persons that fit your needs. Some say that networking is overrated. But if you believe that you can get information about your customers and ideas on how to improve your product by having a cup of coffee with someone, then why not?
The Blacksmith Option
If you’re not a blacksmith yourself, then you’ll need to be working with one. The specialization varies. The industrial blacksmiths make items, like grills, doors, staircases, and fire escapes.
But there is a special kind of blacksmith that you can consider: the artistic one. An excellent resource to get more information is the Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America (ABANA). Founded in 1973, they started with 27 members and now has 4,000 members.
Ragnar Forge is one of the leading artisan blacksmith shops in the state. It was initially founded as, J.M. Wilber Blacksmith Shop in 1895 in Eden. Jesse Wilbur operated the place until 1951. His son Glen took over until 1971. The shop shut down following Glen’s retirement. Aaron Richardson took over the area in 2014. The shop is now registered at the National Register of Historic Places since 2017.
Why do you need to know this story? Because this could be your story, too. Ragnar Forge makes knives, axes, and tomahawks. But they also make pendants, cooking implements and hardware items like drawer handles, brackets and coat hangers. From these items, there are enormous business possibilities.
Forging in the Digital Age
It’s not only the iron that you need to strike while it’s hot. Take advantage of the buying and selling conventions in the digital age. Consider building an online shop focusing on customized items or jewelry. Turning old coins to a wedding ring isn’t the same as forging a Bowie knife or a Japanese katana. But you attach particular meanings to the items that you reproduce.
Operating an artisan blacksmith shop will undoubtedly bring the heat, but you can have fun and earn cash as well.