An Interview with Laura Suen, CEO of Fire and Steel
By Dan Watt
I met Laura Suen, CEO of Fire and Steel, at the 2018 Kitchener Comic Con. She was extremely busy but gracious enough to let me take a few pictures. I’ve wanted to interview her ever since…
Where did the creative idea to start Fire and Steel come from?
Well firstly, I always loved geeky things! My family didn’t have that much money growing up, so I remember taking so long to save up to go to Fan Expo – a comic convention — as soon as I could afford it.
My older sister is a huge geek and I really looked up to her as a kid. We would spend so much time gaming, reading fantasy novels, and watching sci fi TV shows. I of course was the generation that was raised on Saturday morning cartoons too, which included a lot of Japanese anime. Personally I also loved martial arts and do kung fu on the side, so Fire and Steel was just the perfect way to combine my love of martial arts with geeky things.
For legal reasons I can only use weapons designed or created by Fire and Steel on covers, such as the one for the weekly blogged story A Motley Sisterhood Of Pirates! However, Fire and Steel has a large assortment of weapons from a variety of styles and sources. Could you tell us about Fire and Steel’s own weapons?
So I use to work as a physicist and from that, I learned how to 3D model. It’s funny how programs that would be used to design laser ion traps can be used to design swords too. Not everything we carry is modelled by myself of course, but there are a few things that we’ve designed in house! I feel so honoured you’ve featured several of them on your book covers.
Fire and Steel has all sorts of weapons including ones we see in cosplay, magna, comics, TV shows, movies, and traditional. Could you talk about the Japanese katana?
We sell Japanese katanas of all types and quality levels, so we hope you will be able to find something that suits your needs! We sell wooden training swords called bokken and bamboo practice swords called shinai. These are traditionally used to train with and you’ll see those items showing up in anime all the time. From there, we have carbon steel katanas, which can take some light impact but are more made for display purposes because it is a softer blade. Beyond that, we also carry high carbon steel katanas, which are typically sharp (battle ready) in several different grades. The higher the number, the harder the blade. These blades can typically take a lot of impact and are what you see in a lot of our “Will It Cut” YouTube videos.
I was watching some of the video clips on Instagram and Facebook and saw something very intriguing.
You have the exact same weapons in different grades from metal to foam. This would be perfect for making a movie or TV show. Have any of your weapons been used in movies or TV shows?
Yes! Actually I’m so honoured to say you can see some of our stuff in the background of shows like American Vandals, In the Dark, The 100 and Power Rangers just to name a few.
Your foam weapons look like they’re made of metal. Great for cosplay, LARP, or if a young person wants one of the weapons. Could you tell us more about the foam weapons and their uses?
Foam weapons are great as safer alternatives for people who want to train with swords but don’t want to hurt themselves. In addition, they’re great for cosplay since many conventions and festivals, for safety reasons, do not allow steel swords to be carried around as a part of a costume, even if they’re blunted. For this reason, many people see foam as a great alternative and it saves people a lot of time since you don’t have to make your own sword anymore for your outfit!
Fire and Steel can also design specific weapons for customers. How would a customer go about ordering one of these weapons?
We do take custom requests normally, but COVID has thrown a bit of wrench in schedules and timelines. Please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote if you want something made – but who knows? We might already have it made and you don’t even realize it!
Fire and Steel is on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Are there are any other links you want to mention?
Our social media handle is @RealFireNSteel for TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We also are active on TikTok as @RealFireandSteel too! Find us there. Also of course, check out our website for updates:
Fire and Steel will be at the
November 19-21 2021