This interview was conducted in April 2016 by Evan Harbalis – Von Ultimate Kennels (VUK)
VUK: Tell us about yourself.
HST: My name is Jiří Čejka, I am 51 years old, married with 2 boys which both are involved in dog sports. I live in a town called Svatoslav in Czech Republic. I am the founder of HST which is family run and owned.
VUK: How did you get involved in making dog training equipment?
HST: In 1994 I started making dog training equipment for myself to work my own dogs. My friends that I trained with asked me to make some equipment for them because they liked the way I made the equipment and its functionality. From then on I had more people approach me and ask me to make equipment for them. I enjoyed doing this and then made the decision to start manufacturing dog sport equipment.
VUK: How long have you been in the industry?
HST: I have been involved in the manufacturing of dog training equipment when HST was first formed in 1994.
VUK: How many people work for HST?
HST: Along with my family members we have a total of 15 employees working for HST, each has their own field of expertise in the manufacturing industry.
VUK: Tell us about the first sleeve you made.
HST: Ahh yes! I remember the first sleeve I made. It was not the best of sleeves because it was too hard and the material wore out too quickly. We searched for a long time to find better material that was longer lasting but also comfortable for the dog.
VUK: How many events does HST sponsor a year?
HST: I sponsor around 6 major national events a year and also sponsored the FMBB in Pisek, Czech Republic last year (2015). I also sponsor other smaller events and club trials and I also attend a lot of other dog sport events.
VUK: How many agents has HST have worldwide?
HST: In Czech we sell most of the HST equipment but I have exclusive agents in Switzerland, France, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Greece, Russia, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Canada and of course Australia.
VUK: I noticed that you have a unique weaving machine in order for you to weave your own jute, tell us more about the jute you weave.
HST: The machine I use to weave the material was made in 1954. The machine is old but everyone who works with jute material uses these types of machines to manufacture jute. We are exclusively the only dog equipment manufacturer that has this machine and weaves our own jute. We manufacture and weave our own jute, no other company that I know of has this machine. The other dog training equipment manufacturers buy their jute from the production material factory. The difference is the jute HST manufactures is tighter weaved and two times stronger because we believe that this is what is needed for dog training equipment today.
VUK: How long have you being weaving your own jute?
HST: I purchased my first weaving machine about 20 years ago, since then I have been weaving my own jute.
VUK: How long have you been selling white line products? Do you weave the white line material as well?
HST: HST has been selling white line products for about 5 years. We have had great feedback with this material. No, I do not weave the white line material.
VUK: Other than sleeves, you also have a wide array of garments. Tell me more about this.
HST: I make everything for the sport of IPO from tugs to sleeves, leads, collars etc everything is made at the HST factory. Clothes for the competitors, helpers and we even make dog trailers. The latest thing we are making are dog crates for every car model.
VUK: You also make dog trailers, tell us how long HST has been making them?
HST: HST has been making dog trailers for over 10 years now
VUK: While visiting you, you took us through the HST Bochovice Uni Dog Centrum, I see that you have an indoor and outdoor training facility with all the amenities, a full size IPO field, a swimming pool and kennels to house dogs. Tell me more about this.
HST: It’s a place where you can come and train your dog. Also people from around the globe, other clubs and other breeds come here as well where you can hire out the whole facility for a week. For me this is what it is about, people coming together and enjoying, having fun, enjoying the same passion we all share and if you need a helper I have my son that does helper work if needed. We also hold camps and different teachings throughout the year.
VUK: How many events a year take place in your facility?
HST: The HST Bochovice Uni Dog Centrum holds 2 big events a year, one of them being the Nationals for the Mondioring and the other an IPO event. At the moment these are the only events held at the HST Bochovice Uni Dog Centrum.
VUK: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us
HST: I have enjoyed it