The story behind Forge-Aprons
Have you ever had plans backfire on you? Well then, you know what I mean when I say, “This is not how it was supposed to go.” Late in 2014 with three and a half years invested in college, my advanced achieving son quit school. Great! Now we had to find a way to keep him out of the bars. I should mention that he worked in a bar. (Sadly, he made more money working there part time than some people with college degrees make working full time.) All that money and free time was a recipe for trouble so we encouraged him to start a business. That’s how Forge-Aprons was launched.
Here's where it backfired. The website was up, word was getting around and orders were starting to roll in when one of my son’s buddies told him about a great paying job traveling the country climbing 300 plus feet in the air doing audits on cell phone towers. About a month later he gave me notice. “What? You can’t give me notice, it’s your business! I was just helping you get started.” Now running Forge-Aprons keeps me out of the bars!
That's okay with me! Ever since meeting my husband, George Witzke, I have been passionate about the art of blacksmithing. George has been a professional blacksmith since 1994. We met shortly after that and he graciously allowed me to meddle in his business and help it grow. My background in retail was a valuable asset when we did art shows and it helped transition us into custom work garnered mostly from a website I built. We have moved on to production ironwork that we sell through gift shops and galleries. Half of our year is spent in Utah where George entertains tourists with blacksmithing demonstrations just outside the east gate of Zion National Park with his partner and friend, Gordon Williams. The other half is spent in New Mexico building inventory.
Though I haven't been able to refine my hammer skills hammering metal, I have become pretty good at hammering rivets on aprons. I also do marketing work for the metal working community; building websites, creating newsletters and advertisements as well as providing business guidance. I adminstrate a facebook page called Blacksmithing Classes which connects those interested in learning or furthering their blacksmithing skills with instructors and schools. I am a past board member of the Arizona Artist Blacksmith Association where I served one term as President. I enjoy the people involved in blacksmithing and am always amazed at the creativity and passion the art of blacksmithing evokes. Forge-Aprons is just one more way to connect me to the community of smiths.
As for my son, he is still involved in decisions about Forge-Aprons and may one day return to it but for now, he enjoys seeing the world from 300 feet up. He has a lovely bride and they are building a life together. We anxiously await grandchildren from them. George could use another blacksmiths helper and I could always use help whether in the leather shop or the kitchen. ~April Witzke