Collaring the market for dog accessories
High school sweethearts Nick and Amy Luke—along with their “fur kids” Dasher, a whippet; Daxon, a saluki; Darling, an Afghan hound; and Italian greyhound Nia—operate Slik Hound, a collection of durable dog collars the couple makes by hand in their home in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood of Kansas City.
Kansas City Spaces: What inspired you to start Slik Hound?
Nick Luke: Our love for dogs led us to a great friendship with Gretchen Miller, who owns Doggie Style Bowtique here in town. After becoming close friends, she recognized my own entrepreneurial passion and suggested I look into making dog products. It wasn’t long after that Slik Hound was born.
KCS: Do you make the collars yourself, and if so, how did you learn?
NL: Yes, we make all of our products by hand out of our home. Initially, we tried outsourcing the making since we had no experience in sewing or manufacturing. Ultimately, we realized that to achieve the standards we aspired to there was no alternative to making the collars ourselves.
Amy Luke: It took us many years of trial and error to perfect our products and techniques.
KCS: What do you enjoy most about the business?
AL: Working together! It has been very rewarding to share this journey with each other and our four dogs. We have complementary roles in this business, and this does not work without constant teamwork. Even when we travel, the dogs come with us in our RV, “The Slik Mover,” and the whole factory fits in there. It is tight quarters, long hours, and we’ve had to drive to the ends of the earth to keep the business alive.
KCS: What are your most popular styles and designs?
AL: We have hundreds of fabric options, and everybody has their own favorite! This season’s most popular designs were our exclusive “I Heart KC” pop fashion collection.
KCS: What’s new or coming up next for Slik Hound?
NL: Last year was a really crazy year for us, and we have identified several areas we want to improve. We hope to overcome some growing pains so we can bring Slik Hound to more dogs, and new markets.