Bonding through adversity
Written by Bavani and Catrine McGregor
Photography by Kora Delta
Karen Buich is a long-time Eagle resident, and a force to be reckoned with, whether at home, at her Waters’ Edge Event Center…or on a pickle-ball court.
Buich is fiercely protective of her three grown boys. They are at any point her number one priority hence her license plate: mi3sunz. She and Dave Buich, her ex-husband, gave their children the reins to find their own career paths, but they always emphasized learning, growing, and finding a life that would sustain them financially while bringing them joy. They have succeeded on all counts, and though they found their own God-given talents, they also overlap in their ventures.
We gathered at eldest son Nik Buich’s striking contemporary home in Renovare, a community he and his father developed and built out from the ground up. Born and raised in the development business, Nik found his niche in both real estate and development. He has an eye for masterfully matching a client with the perfect home, whether it is a custom home or an existing property.
Nik’s first taste of success was in sports. He excelled in everything he was involved with, mainly due to his competitive nature. Give him a scoreboard or a leader board and he’ll make sure that he is the winner. Nik made it to the Little League World Series and has a couple of state championships under his belt. It is this spirit that still drives him.
At the young age of 30, Nik is a successful businessman. His younger brother Jay Laurent says: “There are people who glean a little piece of information and talk about it endlessly filling in the details that they really don’t know anything about, Nik keeps his mouth shut until he can discuss a topic in depth with all the real facts.” Nik Buich backs that statement:” I’m a man of my word. If I say I will do something, I will, and I’ll give it my all.”
Nik is a born salesman. At the age of 19, he decided to stop playing football, dropped out of college and became involved in network marketing. In his dad’s opinion, this was not a stellar choice. Nik was motivated to succeed by the carrot being dangled in front of him – if he reached “X” amount in sales in a single month, he would receive a car allowance and a license plate that said “Told You So”. He wanted to get that license plate as a message to his dad that he could do more than just be good in sports. He ended up qualifying for the plate within the first week of business, and everything else took off from there. In just a few short months, Nik was flown out to give a keynote address about successful sales at one of the network marketing company’s national convention. He had become the youngest National Director in the company at the age of 19.
One of Nik’s many accomplishments is being involved in over 200 real estate transactions before his 27th birthday. He is now a partner in two companies – Five Nine Real Estate and MetaLabz. Nik has great praise for his partner in the real estate company. “Sanel Tucakovic” is a rock star. If either one of us needs to lean on the other to make a business decision, we never doubt each other in any way. It’s a rare asset these days.” His relationship with his key partner in Metalabz is also at rockstar status: it is his little brother Jay Laurent.
Nik’s mother, Karen Buich, beams as she shows me around her son’s house. It is spectacular and designed to be as stylish, comfortable and practical as possible. My personal favorite is the built-in espresso maker that gets put to good use throughout the day. Oh, the bar isn’t bad either!
I waited for Jay Laurent to be in town for a Mother’s Day visit so that I could get the full Buich family dynamic, Jay Laurent, more famously known as “Sendwires,” attended the former Arts West School in Eagle, where his love for music production and filmmaking was sparked. He was admittedly not a traditional “student.” Jay Laurent had a vision of where he was headed, and he saw no reason to let Algebra and English Lit get in his way. Many of his teachers saw no future for him, yet now, at the age of 25, he could retire if he wanted to – but he doesn’t want to. On the contrary, he is always ramping up a new venture. After high school, Jay Laurent headed to LA to attend film school. But again, Jay Laurent got bored. Much of what was being taught were skills that he had accrued on his own years earlier. He just wanted to implement those skills through his own content. His love and knowledge of the – with a dash of chutzpah – are what gave him his first break. While walking in Hollywood, he ran across Trippie Redd, a rapper and songwriter. His fourth mixtape, A Love Letter to You (2019), topped the Billboard 200 chart. Jay Laurent approached him and asked if he could direct the artist’s next music video, The answer was “yes” and Jay Laurent never looked back.
Jay Laurent became a sought-after music video director. When asked who his biggest influence is, he quickly responded: “My Mom. I love that girl more than anything in the world. Though there were a lot of haters during my upside-down years, my Mom convinced me to follow my path – and that was the best advice I could have gotten. My mantra was to ‘never let school get in the way of education,’ and that’s what I did.”
Some of Jay Laurent’s greatest successes have been in involvement with Clubhouse, a massive social media conglomeration based in a $20 million mansion, which generated hundreds of millions of followers. As the manager of the house, Jay Laurent was always intensely aware of not just social media numbers, but more importantly, his relevance.
Metalabz is his newest venture, where one of his partners is his big brother Nik. The company works in decentralized finance (defi), which covers cryptocurrency and NFTs. “Nik is the Yin to my Yang – he has a more traditional approach to business while I tend to paint outside the lines. It makes for a perfect team.”
Jay Laurent has seen great success through hard work and good fortune. But has not forgotten that God – intermittently termed ‘the Universe’ – is also hard at work. “If you put out your goals and have a pure heart, the Universe will always respond.”
When I asked what he wanted his future to look like, he didn’t need to think about it. “I have built an amazing Rolodex that can open doors everywhere. There are so many young people around the world who have amazing talents in the arts, but they don’t have the means or the contacts to grow their talent so that they blossom and share their talents with the world. I want to create a true non-profit that will seek out this kind of talent throughout the world and offers mentorship and the proper platforms to thrive. I will be doing this by the end of the year. I want to provide. I want to ensure that I can always take care of my family and true friends.”
Jay Laurent turns and points to his little brother Nathan who is sitting on Nik’s gorgeous patio, overlooking a pond. “And I want to make sure that that guy succeeds.”
Nathan is the youngest son. His striking good looks and his piercing eyes let me know that this is going to be an intense conversation. which it did turn out to be. At the age of 23, Nathan’s goal is to find his own path the way his brothers did.
Nathan experienced childhood trauma when he was 7 years old. It sent him into a tailspin that led to drinking and smoking weed at an early age. He knew that his family had expectations, and for years, he wasn’t sure that he would ever meet those expectations. He was fortunate that his parents did not judge him – they nudged him. At the time, the relationship between Nathan and his brothers was not great. The age difference between him and Nik was substantial. Though Nathan and Jay Laurent were closer in age, their interests were miles apart.
When Karen and Dave Buich divorced, it affected Nathan more than either of his brothers. He was 11 years old. He already felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the family, and the divorce solidified those feelings. There were dark times when he contemplated suicide, and the pain he felt was not only mental, but it was also physical. There were times when it was more than he could bear. This was difficult for Nathan, as he has a natural talent for all things athletic. He has fought his way out of the chronic pain that plagued his body for seven years, completely rewired his nervous system through years of physical therapy, and is now able to run, jump, and play like he was before the pain came about.
In 2019, one solitary event changed his life. Nathan was on a trail at Payette Lake, where he stopped to write in his journal. A lone man happened by and stopped to watch Nathan as he continued to write. “What’s going on?”. The man, whose name turned out to be “Jerry,” had such an empathetic demeanor that Nathan broke down and released years of pent-up emotion. He told Jerry his story, and Jerry also broke down, telling Nathan about his recent divorce and the pain it had caused. Two complete strangers bonded in the woods – both sharing much-needed solace and empathy. “I never take this trail – but I now know why I took it today.” Jerry looked directly at Nathan. “Do you read the Bible?” he asked. “No,” replied Nathan. “I need you to get a Bible and read this passage.” Jerry passed a piece of paper to Nathan, who put it in his pocket. He drove back to Boise and went straight to a bookstore, where he bought a Bible, and opened it to Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster – to give you a future and a hope.” A few days later, Nathan accompanied Karen to buy a mattress. As they pulled into the parking lot, Nathan looked across the street at Life Church, where he saw a marquee announcing a youth ministry evening meeting. Nathan made his way to the church for this event. He settled into his seat, and the service started. “Let’s open our Bibles to Jeremiah 29:11.” This was the day that Nathan turned his life over to God for guidance. Since that time, his mental and physical health have made a complete turnaround. In 2021, Nathan broke a barrier with the Buich brothers: He was the first to graduate from college. Nathan graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. He also grew his world through travel. He has explored Europe twice, with Croatia, Spain and Switzerland being his favorites.
His creativity has broken wide open. He has recorded his first song. He also loves to dance, go to music festivals, recently began working with Ableton to refine his sound and create music that will express his love and tell his story.
As a writer, Nathan has begun a very personal book about his journey that he feels readers will understand and perhaps receive some of the healing that he has. It is an incredible story of trauma, perseverance, and faith.
Nathan has a bright future, which the whole family is encouraging. They are excited to see what Nathan will have, who he will help, and most importantly, the difference he will make in this world.
The Buich family is tighter and more supportive of each other than they ever have been. Being around them, love and support for each other are palpable.
Nestled in the city of Eagle is the Water’s Edge Event Center. Water’s Edge plays host to weddings, proms, anniversaries, celebrations of life, conferences, birthday parties and many more events. Set in an idyllic surrounding of peaceful nature, its name is derived from the gently flowing water’s edge that its dreamy, covered patio sits on. Days are magical and nights are aglow with the bistro lights that create an ambiance of love.
Buich cherished the opportunity to be present at home to raise her kids. She made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom for 18 years after having worked independently in the dentistry and mortgage banking fields.
At the heart of Buich’s success are her strong work ethics and core values of working hard, being honest, and not giving up which she attributes to her upbringing. She says, “if you have that internal drive, self-initiative, and responsibility, you will be successful in anything you do.” It is no surprise that her sons are so accomplished.
Buich expresses gratitude for her team that “makes it happen” whom she refers to affectionately as, “the heartbeat of Water’s Edge”. The team includes the Executive Chef, Mike Pfost, who has 26 years of culinary experience, the Bartender, Brandon Dumas and the General Manager, Ben Draper. They make up the perfect Water’s Edge “Three Musketeers.” They are not only a flawless team, but they have bonded as far more than co-workers – they are friends. Their sense of humor is contagious, and the result of their passion is probably the reason why Water’s Edge is booked months in advance.
I ask Buich what it means to her being a woman entrepreneur and what advice she would share with young women who are just starting out. She shares that as a woman of the 90s, there were definitely more challenges back then with the gender pay gap and having to work in a man’s world. Buich emphasizes, “Follow your passion. Don’t feel like you have to settle for a job right away. Experience different things when you are young. Experience life and people before you get into a committed relationship but believe in yourself and what you want. And one day, something will click and it will work.”
Karen Buich is the perfect example of a strong woman who will go to the ends of the earth for her children and is a powerful role model. She is still close to her ex-husband, Dave Buich, and is grateful for his part in helping Karen make Water’s Edge a reality.
A venue for any season.