About Our Alpaca Farming Story | Alpacas of Montana

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About Our Story

18 years ago, James and Sarah Budd were newlyweds looking for a riveting adventure to kick off their lives together. James is that guy who if you were playing bingo with careers or jobs, his sheet would fill up in no time because he’s done it all. He has an extensive background in medicine and is also exceptionally creative and innovative. Sarah’s backgrounds are in psychology, manufacturing and real estate – talk about a diverse set of skills. Combined, they are an unstoppable force.

The two go-getters were looking for an industry to go into and a business to start. They researched restaurants, retail, ice cream shops, service industries and more, but no Cinderella slipper fit. 

Then, one day James was flipping through a Costco Connection Magazine and came across a couple who had retired, started raising alpacas and after 10 years still loved it. James enthusiastically went to Sarah with the article, and she had four words for him. “What’s an alpaca? No!” Shot down and thinking nothing more of it, James went back to his computer to continue the search. When he opened his browser page, an article regarding the financial benefits of raising alpaca emerged from The Wall Street Journal as a suggested read. As someone who loves animals more than people, James’ enthusiasm for entering the alpaca business grew, so he went back to Sarah with the article. She looked him dead in the eye and said, “You did not go to school for 10 years to become a farmer.” That was that. Case closed. No alpacas for the new Budd family. The search continued without alpacas. 

Later that day James went to check the mailbox only to find a flyer from his sister with  a note reading, “Wouldn’t this be fun?” The flyer detailed how to start an alpaca business – something James and his sister had never discussed. 

After never hearing the word alpacaprior to this day only to be bombarded with alpacas during them, James and Sarah agreed that they better at least look into the idea. They made phone calls, visited farms and researched what starting any kind of alpaca business would look like for them. They quickly became more and more excited, and six months later had 8 alpacas on their farm. 

Soon the number of mouths to feed went from 8 to 120 – not including the dogs, llamas, cats and chickens that also found their homes at Alpacas of Montana.

Being the curious dreamers they both are, James and Sarah quickly realized a missing key niche: alpaca wool clothing. Once they understood what was at their fingertips, they went all in. James and Sarah are so much more than farm and business owners: they’re innovators. They’re pioneers in the alpaca fabric industry. Every single product sold by Alpacas of Montana was the brainchild of James and Sarah. From scratch, James created every yarn and fabric that is used in our products. They’ve done what you have to do to be successful: become experts. They can tell you the origin story of alpacas, their anatomy and their social patterns. James even teaches a Camelid Mechanics class for Montana State University's Vet Program. James and Sarah have crafted such a deep understanding and respect for these animals that translates into their craftsmanship of products and the longevity of the company. 

Alpacas of Montana leads the textile industry in their commitment to comfort and warmth through the purposeful design of environmentally conscious alpaca products. They’ve built this company on transparency, innovation, and long standing relationships. Employees aren’t just workers, they’re family members (including the now 60 alpacas, 7 llamas, 3 anatolian shepherds, boss lady cat, prairie dogs, chickens, and birds on the farm). We’re happy to welcome you to the family, and thank you for joining us in the alpaca revolution!

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