Meet Edenbridge blacksmith Henry Rogers

Henry Rogers

Henry Rogers - Credit: Archant

Teenage blacksmith Henry Rogers on running his own business while still at school, and being the youngest-ever winner of Young Start Up Talent

Tell us about yourself

My name is Henry Rogers, I live in Edenbridge, I’m 17 years old and in the sixth form at Sackville School in East Grinstead.

How did you get into blacksmithing?

I started my blacksmithing business four years ago, when I was 13, after I completed an evening welding course at Hadlow College. That got me thinking of what I could do with my newly found skills and I thought of blacksmithing.

I contacted a family friend who is blacksmith and got some work experience with him to learn the basics, to see whether I was any good and if I liked it.

I found out that Plumpton College was holding a taster day for blacksmithing and after two taster days, I got the bug and knew I wanted to take it further and possibly make a career in it. I also had a weekend course at the Quinnell Forge.

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Last year I bought the basic tools and equipment to work from home and started my blacksmithing company, Hot Iron.

Tell us about Young Start-up Talent

In October last year a school assembly was presented by Matthew Tyson, Director of Richard Place Dobson, the accountants, who sponsor Young Start Up Talent and also one of the judges, encouraging young entrepreneurs to start a business.

After the assembly it dawned on me that I could enter into Young Start Up Talent so I filled in the application form. In January this year I received an email from Lorraine Nugent who, along with Matt Turner, is the driving force behind Young Start Up Talent, saying I had been selected to go through to the next stage of the process, a one-to-one speed interview with the sponsors and judges of the competition. After this they discussed who would make the final six.

For the final each company had to present a Dragons Den-style pitch to the six judges. Young Start Up is open to 16 to 25 year olds and I won when I was just 16, making me the youngest-ever recipient.

This means a tremendous amount to me and the company as this has opened up so many opportunities and helped me in developing and establishing my business.

Any tips for young entrepreneurs?

Keep going and bear in mind that success won’t happen overnight, so stick with it!

Your favourite pieces to make?

I really like my heart hooks, because seeing a symmetrical flowing heart shape fills me with an enormous sense of achievement and completion.

For Christmas this year, I have designed and made log ends to keep logs neatly stacked in the fireplace.

What do you do in your spare time?

There is not too much spare time at the moment, what with school course work, running Hot Iron and working on new ideas that I could produce for the business. I am also learning to drive, so when I do have time to relax I like to spend time with my family and friends, maybe doing some archery with my brother.

What are your future ambitions?

I would like to gain an apprenticeship with a blacksmith to further develop my skills and knowledge of blacksmithing.

What’s best thing about living in Kent?

I love the countryside and being so close to London and Gatwick n