Wolf Hund: ‘Inspired by long, little wolves’
Earlier this year, Mac Holtan was approached about moving back to his hometown to work for his family’s business. It was perfect timing; he was looking to move onto a new venture and a change of scenery from Anchorage.
With that, he launched Wolf Hund — a clothing line inspired by his golden retriever-dachshund mix, Nova.
“It’s really dorky, but I really love my dog,” Holtan said. “She’s become kind of a local celebrity.”
The idea of creating his own clothing line started around two years ago. Holtan wanted to frame a photo of his pup for his room. He initially wanted an art print, but his friend and former coworker, Brock Forrer, made an illustration of her. Holtan came up with a brand name as a joke and it stuck.
“I spend a lot of time being creative for other people — and I do love being creative for other people — but I kind of wanted something to be created for myself,” Holtan said.
Holtan has always had an eye for enterprise. He wanted to study business in high school; eventually, he graduated from UAA with a degree in business and economics. During his college years, he worked at Shirts Up, a screenprinting and embroidery business for six years on and off before venturing onto his own projects.
At Shirts Up, he learned the ins and outs of the creative process — from production to sourcing and meeting with manufacturers. He’s been able to acquire skills from various on-the-job training involving photoshop, embroidery work, scheduling and more, which culminated to the success of his clothing line.
According to the Center for Economic Development’s State of Entrepreneurship Report, it is common for entrepreneurs to work in the industry they end up launching in. Holtan says his experience at Shirts Up was instrumental in starting his own clothing line.
“At the end of the day, it is just a t-shirt or a jacket or a hoodie, but it’s also a vessel for a piece to transcribe a message or incorporate a logo,” Holtan said. “I’m not a streetwear god, I’m not an illustrator, I just like to be creative and I like to collaborate with people.”
Holtan is already hard at work on his second line, “The Trapper Creek Collection.”
“I think the real value comes in doing things you're proud of and being happy with what you do at the end of the day,” Holtan said. “For me, I feel way better if I’ve done labor — if I’ve pulled the squeegee myself — I feel like I sleep better. It’s more about chasing that and making ends meet doing that and not being mister venture capitalist.”