Where are you from?
Sirius Hounds’ shop is located in the vibrant Vestergade, more precisely in number 56a, 8000 Aarhus C.
· What is your background?
We are a family business, founded by Thor Las Holtet and his oldest daughter Astrid Holtet. Thor has a PhD in Biochemistry and Astrid is a Veterinarian and dog-trainer. The family’s youngest daughter also works for Sirius – Emma Elisabeth Holtet, who recently came home from Northeren Greenland where she owned and drove a pack of 21 sled dogs.
· When did you start working with Dog accessories?
We have always had many dogs in the family, and naturally, through Astrid’s work as a Veterinarian and dog trainer, dogs have always been a popular topic around the dinner table. Astrid was distressed by the number of dogs that came to her surgery with plastic and other anomalies in their stomachs. This was often the result of dog toys made from unnatural and potentially damaging materials. To avoid this happening to our family dogs, we started to look for toys made from natural and safe materials. Failing to find this anywhere, we decided to make our own, and this is how we started creating our range of all-natural chew toys. The Company was officially founded 3 years ago when we opened the shop in Vestergade.
· What was the project/product that you enjoyed working with the most?
It’s always exciting to create new toys, leashes or collars, but we really enjoy dealing with the customers – like when we are creating harnesses for dogs – it’s a job that requires tailoring, so the dog must come to the workshop and have a fitting – this means that you meet the dog and its owner. It’s also rewarding if a customer comes in with a problem that we can help them with – people care so much about their dogs – they’re like a family member, so it means a lot if you can improve their quality of life in some way. Mostly, it’s just great to know so many dogs in Aarhus – we can’t take a walk in the area without meeting one of our four-legged customers– and that’s always super “hyggeligt”.
· What do you think is the biggest challenge for a maker in the 21st Century?
It’s definitely a challenge to compete with the big co-operations and chains that have seemingly unlimited resources in terms of marketing etc. – whereas we, as a small company, rely almost entirely on people discovering us through word-of-mouth. However, there is a great amount of support in Aarhus for local businesses and entrepreneurs, especially for locally made products. Instead of being overwhelmed by the big players, you need to focus on differentiating yourself – seeing your small size as an advantage. As a small company we are much closer to our customers and their pains and needs - this sets us apart from our big competitors and it allows us to give our customers a unique experience and a level of service that they cannot get from our big competitors.
· Why did you decide to join Aarhus Makers?
Because we think it is a great idea, that the local designers and makers join forces in an effort to help each other. Aarhus is already a great city for small entrepreneurs, but we believe initiatives like Aarhus Makers will make it even better.
· What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become a maker?
You need to think about you customer – what are you doing to help them, or to make them feel special? - how do you provide them with something unique and different compared to what’s currently on the market? The relationship you have with your buyers is crucial, so this should be at the root of any decision you make.