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Meet Katey Sommers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katey Sommers.

Hi Katey, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I started That’s So Metal art back in 2019. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew I wanted to do something! The name That’s So Metal Art stems from the phrase “THAT’S SO METAL!!!” (basically saying something is super cool). I also love Metal Music and LOVE to weld! Thus: The play on words – That’s So Metal Art – came to be.

I have been welding for years and always loved to mess around with scrap pieces. The first thing I have ever made was a dog made from nuts and bolts. No, not my best seller… this was a super ugly, non-proportionate, creepy-looking thing. I still have it, next to all my projects from when I was in Welding school.

I run this shop by myself, but I couldn’t do it without the help of all my local businesses in my town that help me with supplies – The sticker company, shirt company, metal suppliers, and all the kind people who have donated scrap pieces for me to use. A majority of my customers are welding students, and they have reached out to me, telling me their story. It inspired me to give back, so I started a program where I sponsored 20+ students with kits that have basic necessities for welding classes. This has been my biggest project yet and I am so thankful to everyone who helped out.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Definitely not. I did temporarily stop taking orders at the beginning of 2020. Before the pandemic even hit, I was struggling with work, school, and keeping up on orders. I then decided to reopen around October 2020 for the Holiday season, and I made more sales than I ever would have thought.

Even now, I struggle sometimes with finding motivation. It is extremely stressful doing a business on your own. But I always find a way and make sure my customers are happy and that I am happy with the products I am putting out.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My two best-sellers are vastly different. I try to appeal to two main groups: welders and those who enjoy metal art. 45% of my sales are the dog made from nuts and bolts, and 35% is my welding stickers with catchy/funny phrases. The rest is custom work that people order. I am most proud of my custom pieces I make for people, more specifically, the scenes with people made from nuts and bolts. I have customers tell me the story behind the piece, so I can really make sure to add the little details in there. They tell me the most beautiful stories and some are tear-jerking. I made a piece for a stepson and stepfather, in which the son was gifting it to the stepfather as a thank you for stepping in when he needed him.

What sets me apart from other scrap artists is that I really try to be diverse in my products while still creating things that I want to make and are proud of. I feel like nowadays, people want a “get rich quick” outcome; they want to make product fast, cheap, easy, and make big money. I try to really just let me mind run free, make something, and if I feel like someone else can really appreciate it, I post it for sale.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Instagram has been huge. That’s where I have met the most caring and inspiring people in my field. I stepped out of my comfort zone and reached out to businesses and people alike, different, anything to try to get my name out there. A huge thing for me also has been trading with people. I trade my art for theirs, trade some stickers, trade making posts about each other; it is really great and I have made a lot of new friends through it. For my sponsorship program, I am doing, I reached out and networked with, I want to say, 25 different people and businesses. Although I did not get a response from everyone, I was confident, made my point and left it in their hands. A majority reached out back to me and I made a great connection with them and hope to be working with them in the future.

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