Meet Sara Hussain
Visionary & Founder of Buddy
For part five of our Behind the Brand blog series we chatted to Sara Hussain about her brainchild Buddy. Buddy one-hitter pipes are fun and functional with a minimal aesthetic for the high-minded. They can be customized with your favourite phrase and offer collaborations with brands, à la the Leaff Pipe. Each pipe comes with a handy 'ash cap' so you can pack it to-go and also includes a smell-proof tube. They're strong, sleek and perfectly portable.
We ran our five Behind the Brand questions past Sara to learn more about her creative inspiration, the highs and lows of the cannabis industry and her cannabis ritual.
What inspired you to start your company? Tell us a little bit about your products and brand.
Several years back, I was flying back and forth to DC for band practice. Normally I’d buy a throwaway piece or borrow something from a friend after I landed, usually from my drummer. Smoking was usually done on the go, in alleys and whatnot, which meant glass and porcelain pieces always ended in tragedy. The ubiquitous "fake cigarette" (shitty ciggy, as I like to call it) wasn't fooling anyone. Besides, there were faults in the design, holding too little product and clogging almost instantly. I became increasingly frustrated that the options for smoking on the go hadn't changed much since I was a college kid poking around my first head shop. My vision was pretty clear - I wanted something functional and affordable with an androgynous high design aesthetic that wouldn’t break if I dropped it on the sidewalk. Voila. Buddy was born.
What do you love about your job?
It feels more natural to be juggling ten things at once than settling myself into one arduous task. That helps when running a business because there are always so many plates spinning, i.e. production, creative direction, outreach, sales, and admin.
The most rewarding thing about the job is when people respond enthusiastically to the product. I created Buddy because I knew other people were having the same struggle that I was, and when I get to read sweet messages from our customers it means the world to me and lets me know I am on the right path. Just the other day one of our customers reached out who is living with Crohn's and she said she has ditched all her other one-hitters because this is the only one she can rely on when she needs instant relief, no muss no fuss. That means the world to me.
What are some of the challenges you face working in the cannabis industry?
It's definitely not for the faint of heart. You need to know what the risks are, and whether they are worth it to you. If you don't have conviction about what you are doing, you'll always be looking over your shoulder instead of looking ahead. We are located in the Midwest, which is tricky because our laws are still catching up, and there is no network of like-minded professionals here. You have to put in the hard work to find your people and to build trusting relationships.
What’s your cannabis ritual?
In my dreams, I would have the time to luxuriate with a lovely hand roll, a hemp wick and some palo santo. The reality is me taking a quick puff of a Buddy as I'm hustling to get from one place to the next. At home, I've made myself a little altar with crystals and other woo shit and when I get time alone (rare for a working mom) I like to smoke there. It always leaves me inspired.
Which other brands (cannabis or not) do you love and admire?
I love the design of Pure Beauty and Higgs. Reina is a minority female-founded brand and their aesthetic is on point. Ojala makes the dreamiest little stone pipe. On the CBD front, I have lots of love for Tonic CBD and Cococanna, a vegan CBD body butter. In non-canna brands, everything that Pat McGrath does is like its pulled out of my brain.
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