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What It Takes To Raise A Black Buffalo

June 17, 2018

Black Buffalo Fathers Day

Of the many duties and deeds that dads around the world perform every day at their jobs -- in the community, for the country -- being fathers to sons and daughters is the most important (and difficult) one of all. For us, as much as we’re in business to be $ucce$$ful with Black Buffalo, our main priorities are being good people and shaking up an archaic industry thanks to our community of supporters. Raising a child is a hell of a lot harder than building a brand, but we took some notes from our dads over the years to make it a bit easier.

Through our fathers’ sacrifices, commitments, and compassion, we learned not only how to be the people that we are, but how to run our business with a belief in the greater good. Dads craft the generation that will pick up where others leave off. We’re raising a baby buffalo into a big beast with the hopes of having the baton passed to us. Like parenting, we unexpectedly stumble along the way, but get back up and truly strive to be better with every step. We couldn’t do this without the lessons from our fathers and we for damn sure cannot continue to grow without your continued support of our movement.

Though it often seems like a thankless responsibility, to be a father in today’s times is the most significant contribution you can ever make to society. None of us at Black Buffalo has children (yet) -- hell we couldn’t with the hours we put in -- so this is our child for now and our offering to the world. Today, at the very least, both our dads and our customers are getting a genuine thank you from us.


As teenagers, we all had dreams of how life would be when we finally grew up and made something of ourselves. For some, it was being a professional athlete, a musician rocking stages, and many of us believed we could actually be WWF (WWE for the younger guys) wrestlers. Our fathers had dreams, too, and many of them were selfless enough to table their own ambitions with the goal of being an awesome dad. And shoutout the fathers out there whose dream was simply being a parent from a young age. You’re a rare breed and the fairytale ladies must’ve loved you, fellas!

Not to say that dreams ever go away, because you can truly be anything you want to these days. U-S-A chant! However, badass fathers prioritize their children. Dreams are not forgotten, but no longer seem as important as the life they co-created (literally). Wealth and adventure seem trivial compared to the child they helped bring into the world, and they sacrificed those desires for the greater good of family. We commend this.

Black Buffalo Father's Day

Caught here in a candid photo, Co-Founder JD has been literally following in his father's footsteps for years. 

In our own way, we do the same at Black Buffalo, and it’s an absolute privilege to live our dream thanks to our fathers and customers. Naturally, the entire team and community of supporters behind Black Buffalo had various visions growing up. We didn’t necessarily have aspirations of building a tobacco alternative company, but it was indeed our calling and that goes beyond us. Perhaps not to the tune of fathers, but we’ve gladly and willingly made sacrifices to build this beast and we’re continuing to make sacrifices as we raise it.

We murdered our savings accounts to get Black Buffalo off the ground, so we can’t fathom how dads selflessly spend every last dollar to provide for their children on top of a pile of other expenses. Late nights and early mornings are the norm for us to get the job done, but we’re often drinking bourbon and blasting music, not calming a crying baby. We’ve taken a break from some of the social things we used to enjoy like travel, happy hours, etc. But that’s just a couple of years and nothing compared to some fathers giving up those things for a lifetime.

The truth is, we chose to give up a lot to bring Black Buffalo to you, but that’s just to raise a company. We’re proud fathers in that regard, but to do this for a child is a whole ‘nother level of sacrifice.


Black Buffalo was Born in the Midwest and raised in the South, which means we’ve got the fortitude of a homesteader and the work ethic of a warhorse. No task is impossible. No job is too difficult. No chore is beneath us. There have been times that we don’t look well because we have so much dirt and dip under our fingernails. We love this shit.

All of our lives, our fathers have committed 110% to every single thing that they’ve done, a state of mind that comes as naturally to them as breathing. Nonetheless, nothing they had ever accomplished before could have prepared them for the lifelong commitment of fatherhood. Albeit a stretch, we feel the same way about our journey with Black Buffalo as this is our baby for the time being.

If building a piece of Ikea furniture tests your patience, then how do you keep calm as a father when children throw constant curveballs at you throughout the many stages of adolescence? In our company, we’ve had myriad things go wrong that we expected to go right, and ironically, vice versa. In a different way than fatherhood, building Black Buffalo has been full of tests of patience, character, and commitment.

Black Buffalo Father's DayPresident Mark was first taught to think about what's best for the Pack by his father.

This blog would be 100 pages long if we told you all the ways in which we’re committed to making the world’s greatest tobacco alternative and delivering it to you consistently. This started years ago when we spent endless hours doing R&D in an effort to create an alternative that satisfied like one brand in particular that we grew up on. It continued by leaving our jobs to take a leap of faith and believe we could pull this off. It challenged us when we knocked on doors to secure partnerships that would give us a chance as a small fish in a big pond.

We’ve snuck through the backdoor into an industry where only a few players have access to “the Coke recipe.” Believe us, it’s frustrating as hell when we go out of stock. We’re keeping up with insanely high demand and growing at a pace that’s both calculated and sustainable with a long-term vision in mind. Thank you for your patience on this and trust that we’re working on efficiencies to keep massive stockpiles of inventory on-hand. What happened in the mail to cause your delayed or lost shipment, how an accidental (potentially hungover) mistake by our team caused an order to be wrong -  we promise we’re committed to continuing to learn and solve these problems. Progress is a process and you’re supporting the growth of a movement with every Black Buffalo purchase. We’re in it together.

Even the hardiest men buckle from time to time beneath the weight of stress, but as with any commitment we watched our fathers make throughout their lives, we’ll find a way to steady ourselves and continue on as strong as ever. Thank you to them for that life lesson and to our customers for their commitment to us.


Your truck may have come with a driver’s manual. Your generator may have come with an instruction booklet. Your job may have come with an employee handbook. But in life, there is no comprehensive guide to being a good person … let alone raising one.

A great portion of fatherhood is doing whatever it takes to protect and care for children. For most men, the sacrifice and commitment it takes to provide essentials are the easy parts. It’s what comes next that’s most challenging (and rewarding): raising sons and daughters into good men and women.

There’s an interesting analogy here for Black Buffalo. It’s one thing to build a company, it’s another to attempt to build an empire that’s potentially responsible for massive change. When we screwed up as kids (rarely … psych!), our dads somehow managed to respond with a thoughtful life lesson. They didn’t get caught up in the moment, they looked at the bigger picture with respect to their sacrifice and commitment and offered compassion. We appreciate them more than they’ll ever know for this and the same from our dippers and doers that are part of the Black Buffalo herd.

Every father second-guesses their parenting style from time to time. It’s natural to doubt the right thing to do or say when you’re in dad mode. The same goes for us. There are moments of intense frustration when dealing with [insert early-stage company issue here]. The only thing we can do is humble ourselves to laugh it off, take responsibility/ownership of the situation, and do our best to correct it.

We’ve sacrificed a lot, we’re committed to you and changing an industry, and we’re doing so with as much compassion as we’re capable of to be a fraction as good of “parents of Black Buffalo” as our fathers have been to us. Thank you to our dads on this special day. Thank you to those of you reading this who give your all to being a good parent. Thank you to all of you who support us raising this baby buffalo into a big beast. It takes a herd. Charge Ahead.

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