The Budwell Story

About a decade ago, Sara Hussain was flying in and out of Washington, D.C., bass in hand, en route to play shows and party with her "stonerglam" band, Nihilitia. Shamelessly darting in and out of alleys to smoke, she loved the reliability and ease of one-hitters, but lamented the cloggy, fake metal cigarettes and fragile glass chillums that threatened to ruin a good time. Sara envisioned a simple, stylish one-hitter pipe that would look good on anyone and could withstand a rowdy night out.

The idea remained only a napkin sketch until Hussain found herself mired in postpartum depression coupled with the grief of losing her best friend and longtime bandmate, Brad. “At that point I was drowning in loss and became consumed with the idea of creating something new,” she explains. "What I wanted simply didn't exist, and I got tired of waiting for someone else to do something about it."

Armed with a law degree and a decade of experience working in branding, Sara began a series of escalating dares with herself to prove her concept and also bootstrap the entire operation. The pipe moved from prototyping to production, and in February 2019, "BUDDY: The High Design, Low Maintenance Pipe" launched to the public. By March 2021, BUDDY had sold out.

We are pleased to announce that BUDDY is back in stock, along with new pals, under the Budwell brand, named in honor of our eternal muse and drummer extraordinaire, Dean Bradwell Sheppard, Jr. (1980-2016).

Our Founder

Sara Hussain is a first generation Bangladeshi American mother and CEO (Chief Everything Officer) with an indomitable will. Growing up in the Midwest with Brown skin, a big mouth, and an infamous last name, she got comfortable standing out. Sara embraced her misfit energy and followed an unconventional path that has included living on Capitol Hill, working for the ACLU, consulting for Fortune 500 companies, and recording an album with Grammy-nominated producer.

These days you can find Sara teaching her son music in their jam room or hauling vintage finds from estate sales. Like Budwell, she is committed to speaking truth to power and practicing conscientious consumption to reduce her impact on the biosphere.

It’s a better world with buddies helping buddies. The Buddy System is our commitment to social equity in our culture and beyond.

In 2020, we donated 20% of sales from our Buddy Bundles to organizations including the National Bail Fund, Last Prisoner Project, LGBT youth services such as Lighthouse Youth Project and Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and BIPOC empowerment endeavors like Zora’s House. Our goal is for the Buddy System to donate three percent of sales over the next year to organizations that are doing important work in traditionally underserved communities.

Budwell is also a member of the Floret Coalition, a collective of companies that donate monthly to organizations that give back to Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities disproportionately harmed by the injustices of prohibition.

Let's Be Buddies

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