James Budd is the Owner, Co-Founder and Yarn, Fabric and Product Developer for Alpacas of Montana. He has a Masters Degree in Medical Science from the University of Colorado -- yeah, he went from orthopedic surgeries to owning his own business! James is not only a design wizard, but also the biggest animal lover in the world. He treats all of his alpacas as though they’re his kids and loves animals so much that he will open the windows and guide the flies out rather than swatting them. He loves getting the opportunity to make products that outperform the big guys in the industry so his customers get the best possible experience. When he’s not at work, you can find James fishing or out hiking in the mountains with his llamas and dogs. He also loves traveling to South America as often as possible, both for work and for pleasure. If James could be any Disney character he would be Baloo from The Jungle Book.
Sarah Budd is the Co-Founder and Operations Manager for Alpacas of Montana. Sarah went to school at Carroll College in Montana and also to ACU in Melbourne Australia for Psychology. She has been on the Alpacas of Montana team since day one helping build the company from scratch. At one point or another she has occupied virtually every position at Alpacas of Montana -- to say she is versatile is a huge understatement. She loves her job because she gets to work with the alpacas and the products, but also in sales and branding, so it keeps every day unique and different. She is the ultimate gal for putting out fires (even though sometimes she’s the one who starts them). Even though she’s traveled to 17 different countries, she still loves Montana the most and is so happy to call our beautiful state home. Outside of work she loves to hike, camp, be surrounded by animals and paint. If she could be any Disney character she would be Edna Mode from The Incredibles.
Annie Buchwald is our "woman of all trades" as our all around caretaker. She attended the University of California, San Diego where she received a degree in Ecology/Genetics. She first started working with us in February 2021 and hasn’t looked back since! She helps train the alpacas during our spring "baby training" and continues her work with them year-round to maintain their training through adulthood. Because Annie knows the in's and out's of our business, and our herd, she runs our daily farm tours, where visitors can meet our animals and learn about all we do! When Annie isn't sharing her passion with visitors, she also helps out with breeding, cleaning up around the farm, and anything else James and Sarah need. Outside of working for Alpacas of Montana, Annie loves volunteering at the Injured Raptor Center where she helps transport injured raptors and aids in their rehabilitation process. You can find Annie out hiking throughout the entire year, kayaking in the summer and snow shoeing in the winter. She is living her best retired life and helping her 100 year old mom navigate life. If Annie was a disney character, she would be Boo from Monsters Inc. We asked Annie what her favorite thing about Alpacas of Montana is and she said, “I LOVE their compassion for animals! I love that any animal that ends up on their property is allowed to live the rest of their life there in comfort and safety. I admire Sarah and James so much for the incredible amount of work they've invested in their company, their drive to produce the best products available while promoting social justice and caring for the earth.”
Avery Helgeson is the Marketing Director for Alpacas of Montana. Avery graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in Business Marketing and has been with Alpacas of Montana since June 2022. She loves working for a company committed to sustainable fashion, animal husbandry, and ethical practices as well as with a supportive team that lets her creative light shine. When Avery is not working, she spends her free time with her two dogs, Penny and London, enjoying all that Montana has to offer. Some of her favorite activities include river rafting, finding new hikes, and camping. She loves engaging with the local Bozeman community and can be found at every farmers market and rodeo wearing her cowboy boots (and favorite Alpacas of Montana socks, of course). If Avery could be a Disney character, she would be Rapunzel because she is curious about life and eager to learn, while also being kind to everyone she meets along the way. She inspires others with her bubbly personality and positive outlook on life. Plus, who wouldn’t want a chameleon side kick?!
Eleanor Austin is the Farm Tour and Boutique Manager. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the Harvard Extension School. Eleanor loves her job because she gets to be around animals and people all day long! She has been a long time fan of alpaca products and is thrilled to help spread the word about how alpaca products are more eco friendly and outperform wool day in and day out. As a previous Professional Organizer, Eleanor also loves keeping the store in great order. When Eleanor is not at the farm, she enjoys helping out with local events and hosting gatherings. She loves hiking, foraging and hunting. If she was a Disney character she would be Timone and Pumbaa from The Lion King. They know how to look for the happy, positive aspects in life and find lots of opportunities to laugh their way through all different situations.
Grace Carlin is the Alpaca Experience Manager. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls in 2022 with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing and Communications. Originally from Minnesota, she moved out to Bozeman in Fall 2023. Grace has over a decade of experience working with llamas and alpacas. When she was just 10 years old she started showing her Llama, Hailley, back in Minnesota. Since then she has fallen in love with these animals. Something Grace loves most about working for Alpacas of Montana is that everyone puts the animals first, and they have a progressive approach to business. When Grace isn't at work you can find her working with and training her dog and other dogs, hiking, backpacking, or shredding the gnar at Bridger. If Grace was a Disney character she would be Lilo from Lilo and Stitch. She is spirited, resilient, determined and loyal.
Greg Cairns is the founder and owner of Cairns Film and Executive Director of Free Voice Media. Greg went to Fort Lewis College where he earned a degree in English. He’s worked with Patagonia and Eddie Bauer and won numerous awards for his stunning work. We are lucky enough to have him as Alpacas of Montana’s videographer and filmmaker. Greg has been with our team since February 2021. His favorite part about working with us is that every time he films with us, he’s reminded to smile, slow down, and appreciate simple elegant solutions to complex problems. Greg is one of those people who is really quiet until he isn’t and then he’s the funniest person you’ll ever meet. As a peak into who Greg is: last year he successfully built a motorized bike that cruised at 30mph and named it Shwinnly. When we asked him which Disney character he would be, he told us “I'd be Po from Kung Fu Panda. Technically not Disney, yes I know. He's a clumsy golden retriever, and I love clumsy golden retrievers.” And that’s Greg. When Greg isn’t at work you can find him off in the mountains, free diving into rivers or picking lettuce.
Tyson Krinke is the owner and founder of Bright Side photography. He went to North Dakota State University and earned a degree in Management Information Systems. He is a branding specialist, but also a jack of all trades. He is the official Alpacas of Montana photographer and has been since February 2021. His beautiful photos are populating our new site and our social media. He loves working with Alpacas of Montana because we consist of a team of local Montanas that are passionate about making high-quality products that improve people’s lives and are kind to animals and the environment. Tyson is a salt of the earth kind of guy who can whip out a dad joke at any moment. He’s never received a speeding ticket, but maybe he should have given that he can go from full dad mode to professional photographer in .2 seconds. When we asked him which Disney character he is, he told us “Tigger because he is cheerful, outgoing, competitive in a friendly way, and has absolute confidence in himself.” When Tyson isn’t working you can find him spending time with his family, attending live music shows and exploring the beauty of Montana with his camera.
Rebekah Kamps is one of the women behind Alpacas of Montana’s handmade products. She is the hands behind the crocheted scarves, hats, gloves, mittens and headbands that we sell. We supply her with yarn spun from alpaca fiber and let her magic take over! She originally started her business in 2008 as a way to put food on the table for her kids when the market collapsed and her husband found himself out of work. She met James and Sarah at the local Bozeman Farmers Market and approached them about a collaboration. Over the last decade Rebekah has added new designs and more variations of her beautiful products. She loves working with Alpacas of Montana because of our hard work and dedication to have the best products on the market. Working with Alpacas of Montana also allowed her to stay home and homeschool her daughters who are now graduated and out of the house. What was once a hobby became a career and we are so lucky to be a part of her journey. Outside of work you can find Rebekah spending time with her family, escaping into the mountains, fishing and playing on her atv. If she could be any Disney character she would be Perdita from 101 Dalmatians.
Hannah Jaicks is the second mastermind behind our handmade products. She was born in Arizona and grew up in the North East. She earned her Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Biology from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and her MA and PhD in Environmental Psychology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When Hannah isn’t busy researching the ways that people and nonhuman animals can better coexist in harmony and why big predator management is so politically divisive, she is playing lacrosse, knitting and creating. She’s been knitting since her mom deemed her trust worthy to handle scissors without giving herself a haircut. Knitting is her way to share her love with people and to relax. She especially loves to knit and create with alpaca fiber since it’s an eco-friendly natural fiber that doesn’t contribute to environmental destruction. Several hours after Hannah reached out to James and Sarah about knitting products for Alpacas of Montana, James returned the call enthusiastically. Alpacas of Montana is a proud predator-friendly farm and James was so excited to find someone who fully believes in and understands the importance of being predator-friendly. When we asked Hannah which Disney character she would be, she told us Simba from The Lion King because of how he comes into his own when he stops rushing toward something and instead learns how to be with himself.
Jill is our resident warehouse boss lady. She is always the first to greet you (and you better greet her back), never misses a meeting and always makes sure Gretchen’s life is as hairy as possible. She loves making sure everyone gets distracted during meetings, helping all of us type notes on our computers and functioning as the heating pad you never knew you needed or wanted. She prides herself on being the cutest one in the office and when she’s not working you can find her tormenting prairie dogs and chickens, napping and knocking whatever she can on the floor.
Chilli is the head of our Executive Security Team. He is our chief boss man in charge of defending the farm. He has successfully led the team in fending off three mountain lions and numerous bear encounters. Chilli is a great leader and loves his job. Chilli only takes a few days off a year and they are during intense Montana thunder and lightning storms. During these rare times you can find him laying upside down on the stairs inside of James’ and Sarah’s house.
Hazel is a part of our Executive Security Team. Hazel holds her own as the only female guard dog and makes sure the two boys stay in their lane. She is the perfect low maintenance guard dog who always takes her job seriously, shows up on time and is equal parts expert guardian and expert James’ tamer -- she always manages to get a good pet from him whenever she desires. Hazel is less “in your face” than Finn, but always has a way of getting what she wants. The team would be incomplete without her.
Finn is a part of our Executive Security Team. While he may be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, don’t underestimate him. He is a ferocious guard dog who will defend the farm with his life. Once James and Sarah give him the go ahead that whoever is on the premises is okay, he demands belly rubs and all of the scratches. Finn loves Sarah and follows her everywhere. He’s never off duty, but when he takes a break he enjoys napping in the alpaca’s hay, getting a good ole butt scratch and raising hell with the chickens.
Homeboy is our head Llama on the Executive Security Team. He works with the other llamas on the farm to ensure everyone is safe and where they should be. When the alpacas put out a warning call and the dogs give their signal of a potential intruder, Homeboy rounds up the other llamas and makes sure they’re between the dogs and the alpacas as the second line of defense. When he’s not at work, Homeboy loves to go out for hikes with Lucy, a fellow llama friend, James and Sarah. He loves packing and camping, but makes sure to take his daily duties very seriously.