COEUR D’ALENE — At 24-years-old, Autumn Weppener is a full-time industrial welder and runs her own side business called “PRETTYNSTEEL Metal Art.”
Weppener uses standard horseshoe and metal art designs, as well as original PRETTYNSTEEL designs in her inventory.
Some of her original designs include a horseshoe horse rack, scented metal roses, horseshoe coat/key rack and horseshoe shelf brackets.
Weppener grew up on a farm in northern Idaho and considers herself a “small-town country girl at heart.”
She started welding in a high school elective class and using the skilled trade she learned there, she was able to go straight into the workforce without debt.
For the past seven years, she’s specialized in structural and heavy equipment welding and is now trying her hand with the Tungsten Arc Welding (TIG) process.
Throughout her career in welding, Weppener has had a long list of opportunities, including welding core-drilling assemblies, leading crews building heavy equipment for the mining industry, balancing on sky-high steel beams as an ironworker, constructing contract jobs for companies like Rolls Royce, Caterpillar, the government and, eventually, starting her own metal art business alongside her professional career.
“It all started in a single-car garage as a way to stay busy while I waited for my next contract working with the Ironworkers Union,” Weppener said. “I started selling locally, upgraded to a two-car garage, made my first online sale in January (2018), started shipping globally, then hit the rodeo trail for our first show season this summer.”
Weppener said her 2018 rodeo circuit included the Idaho Draft Horse & Mule International show, the Caldwell Night Rodeo, the Ellensburg Rodeo and the Pendleton Roundup.
“It is solely a one-lady operation,” Weppener said. “Navigating the shipping, accounting, licensing, marketing, vendor shows and sales that go along with the welding has been quite the experience, but I’m getting there. I try my very best to get to all of the orders as quickly as I can, but there is only one of me — so be sure to order early during the busy seasons.”