Ian Saudē was born in Hollywood , California and was raised on California's idyllic Central Coast. He attended the University of California at Berkeley and studied English Literature and Classics, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude. Soon after, he moved to Katmandu, Nepal principally to study Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation techniques with several of its greatest living masters. This is still his single greatest passion.
While in Katmandu, inspired by the ancient traditions of craftsmanship, Ian Saudē indulged his abiding love of art and design by collaborating with local artisans, metal smiths and weavers to create jewelry and objects which formed the basis for his first accessories collection - so dividing his time between his new work, and other educational, spiritual and charitable pursuits.
From Autumn 1996 to 2006, Ian led design and production as part of a newly-founded family business, Saude & Co. The focus was on seasonal accessory collections, cashmere casual wear, and on providing assistance in the production of unique private-label luxury goods for other designers, including projects that would become part of the collections of Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Agnona, Mila Schön, Lanvin, Jo Malone and others. Beginning in 2006, Ian began the process for developing the new brand IAN SAUDĒ: , which launched in early 2008. In 2010 Saude & Co. became IAN SAUDĒ INC. and the company opened it's first retail store and gallery in San Luis Obispo, California.
Ian also served from 2000 to 2010 as president of the Rangjung Yeshe Foundation, an American non-profit educational charity focused on promoting philosophical exchange and learning projects rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and he has edited and translated several texts related to that subject. He also served as a founding member of what is now the Kathmandu University Center for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, which was the first fully accredited degree-granting institution for Westerners in Nepal and in the world that provides a traditional, contextualized approach to the study of Tibetan Buddhism, from the perspective of the ancient Nyingma and Kargyud schools.