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What you’ll hear today:
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We are just now breaking through 350,000 downloads since we started in April, so thank you all over the world. We hit almost 60,000 in January. In February we’ll be breaking 60,000. Here’s some interesting statistics. Obviously most of you are here in the United States. For a while UK was number two, and actually Afghanistan was very strong, but you know what number two is right now? It’s the United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates? They’re vaping over at the UAE?
I am not sure. I’ve actually had conversations with people in Kuwait who want to open up a vape business and they’re highly restrictive over there about what you can and cannot do. For those of you who are listening over in the UAE, I’d like to you to send me an email and tell me what you like about the show, because obviously there’s several thousand of you that are listening. How is the vape business going over there, or is the vape business going over there? Because as much as we keep an eye on a lot of the world in the worldwide vaping space, I really don’t know too much about what’s happening specifically in that country.
If there’s a vapreneur over in the UAE we want to talk to them. Let’s get together. We’ll do a Skype interview with you and we’ll tell the world what’s happening in the UAE.
I love that. Let’s review what our last edition was all about. In January we had two live guests here. For those of you who did not hear it, go to vapementors.com and look for the radio icon. We had Randy Freer with P.O.E.T.s. He is one of the creators of the Artist Collection from NJOY. We had Josh Crane from Craft Vapery. He’s one of our newest sponsors. You’re going to hear about him in just a moment, and they’re also the exclusive distributors for NJOY.
You know what? What was really interesting is we had a great conversation about the changing demographics of the vaping industry as far as the people who are using the that-liquids and the qualities and the purity of what they’re looking for. That’s a great conversation. I’m also in conversation with another of the artists. Understand this, ladies and gentlemen. There’s five people in the entire world that created this exclusive line of juices. We had Randy on last month and we’re also going to be talking to George with Mr. Good Vapes. He’s going to be on probably in the next six weeks or so, so make sure you dial in for that.
The other folks are overseas. We’ve got one in France and we got some other people over in Europe but I’m not sure exactly where. You know what, we might get them on as well because with the beauty of the internet and with the beauty of Skype there is nowhere that we cannot touch you for better or for worse.
Let me bring you up to speed with our online educational program, which is called Vape U: Six Pillars of Vape Space Success.
We started a few weeks ago. We’re halfway through. We’ve done three courses so far. In our last course we had two amazing icons of the industry. We had Grimm Green, who of course most of you who follow the YouTube reviews that he’s been doing over the last almost eight years, he was one of our educators talking about what products to carry and what products are going to be sustainable.
We had Michael Guasch, who is the CEO of Molecule Lab. They are the largest contract developers of e-liquids. He had some really compelling information. I got a great response from the folks who were part of the class.
I want to let you know that we are now offering individual classes. Initially this was a six-week commitment to all the classes for $600, and we’re now doing them individually. Our next classes coming up are all about dealing with the law, which we’re going to have Azim Chowdhury. He’s an attorney who has been working with the FDA and been fighting the FDA for a long, long time in the e-cig space. He’s going to be here as part of our Vape U instructors. The next course is going to be on social media.
The bottom line is if you would like to be students of Vape U, you have the ability to pick up on the existing course but were also going to be reselling these as recorded courses. If you want more information just go to vapementors.com/vape-u. That’s vape-u.
Here’s a question for you. It’s kind of a rhetorical question because I know that you’re not going to answer me, but I want you to think about it. The question is why are you in the vaping industry, or are you curious, are you interested or are you serious? That’s the question that we ask all of our clients and our potential clients, because we get a lot of solicitations from a lot of people at all levels. So we ask them: Are you curious? Are you interested or are you serious? Because we want to talk to all of you. We are first and foremost an educational provider and we are looking to educate you the listeners or the audience obviously on a worldwide level, including the United Arab Emirates, and find out what you’re doing over there.
Since I spoke to you last it was a very hectic four of weeks of a lot of traveling. I was in Florida for a week. Check this out. I went from Miami Beach at the very, very southern tip all the way up to the Georgia border, about 380 miles in case anyone’s curious. Over a period of about six days I put on 1,050 miles according to my rental car. We visited four of the shops that we’ve been involved with, because Florida has been far and away our number one location as far as helping us start new vape shops and helping them grow.
What’s interesting is that one of the persons who we visited you’re actually going to be hearing from today, because we’re rolling out a brand new series called Vape Shop of the Month. I’m going to be teasing you with that in just a moment and we’re going to be telling you a little bit more about what that is in just a second.
One of the missions that I had while I was in Florida, for those of you who are automobile racing fans, is I got to go to the 24 Hours of Daytona race. No, I did not stay there for the entire 24 hours because after a while it does get a little bit tedious, so the best part is the beginning and the end. We are happy to report that the reason we went down there, we ended up scoring in spades. Because I just mentioned a few moments ago, Michael Guasch, who’s the CEO of Molecule Lab, he is also a professional race car driver. I was researching a story which we’re going to be doing for Vape Magazine in April. It’s about how vaping is entering the mainstream through the racing channels, and how different industries are getting around some of the limitations of Facebook and Google and all the other things that are putting the kibosh on us because they consider us tobacco.
Michael, congratulations. You won a gold Rolex. This is not a gold Rolex you can buy at the jewelry store, guys.
The race is sponsored by Rolex, and as the winner of his particular class, one of our Vape-U instructors, he got a really awesome Rolex watch that is something that’s like winning an Oscar, winning an Emmy. It’s something that you should be very, very prideful of.
In Miami for about a week and on the way back went to Las Vegas to an event that you might be familiar with. It’s called TPC, which is the Tobacco Plus Convenience event. How can I put this? This was probably one of the most unique events I’ve been to in about a year. The reason is because it’s not all vaping, it’s not all tobacco. It’s a smashing of everything. It’s got tobacco. It’s got hookah. It’s got cigars. It’s got vaping. I call it the clashing of cultures, because you had the vapers who really don’t have any respect for the cigarette companies or for people who smoke, right next to the hookah companies, and on the other side is the big tobacco companies.
It was really interesting, but fortunately no fisticuffs ensued and no one got into any battles. It was a very, very intriguing event over a two-day period. I’m going to be having a review of that in the next issue of Vape Magazine. That again is going to be coming out in April. Here we are recording this towards the tail end of February, so in about another five weeks or so make sure you pick up a copy of Vape Magazine. If you don’t have a copy or don’t get a copy, make sure you go to the website and subscribe.
I wanted to share with you some events coming up because March is busy. The question that I posed last year was will there be more events or less events in 2015. My thoughts were that there might be less but, you know what, I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. It sure looks that we’re going to be having more events this year, because there’s over two dozen on our agenda. I keep the agenda for Vape Magazine because I’m charge of the national events.
Just to read through a couple things that are going to be coming up. For those of you who are close to or want to go to Las Vegas and need an excuse to go there, a Vape Fest is coming up there in March. Vape Blast is coming up in Fort Worth.
VaperSlam in Winston-Salem. We have Vape on the Bay in Green Bay, Wisconsin. For those of you French people over there who know what a paramour is … That’s an inside joke because you’d have to listen to last month’s show. Because we had a couple of guys here and we were trying to pronounce some French words and doing a dismal, dismal job of it. They have a big event coming up there at the end of March. Then we have ECig East Coast that’s going to be coming up in Washington D.C.
The reality of it is there are a lot of incentives, a lot of reasons for you to go to these events. They aren’t just parties. They’re a great place to network, a great place to learn from. I would encourage you that if you are close to any of those events or if you want to know what events are coming up, just go to vapementors.com, because we have now posted the agenda for the balance of 2015.
Want to share with you a new relationship we have with the number one directory in the United States, VaporSearchUSA. They have access to somewhere between 6 and 7,000 vape shops, and we are working very closely with them. What we’re doing is we’re actually forming an association that are going to be offering some amazing benefits to anyone in the vape space. That’s all I’m going to tease you with today but we’re going to be having some really awesome merchant account services, some insurance services, some bulk buying services. The reality of it is that this industry as a whole is growing very, very significantly. We need to take advantage of the buying power that we have.
Last but not least as we come to the tail end of the section number one, I’m going to tell you what we have coming up in segment number two. We have an interview with John Wiesehan from Mistic Ecigs. You might be familiar with the name. They are one of the major players in the e-cig space. They are privately owned. They are not big tobacco. We have an interview that I did with them while in Las Vegas at TPC. That’s coming up in just a moment. In segment three we’re going to be introducing a brand new segment called Vape Shop of the Month.
Here’s another question for you. Are you crushing it in the vape space? Do you have a shop that is maybe not doing what you want it to do or what you think it should be doing? We’re going to be providing a service now, because after the last year and a half of doing this we’ve talked to hundreds of shops, and so we know what works and we know what doesn’t work. What we do is that we follow the Six Pillars of Vape Space Success and we use that as a benchmark, as a report card.
We’re going to be reviewing, posting, and helping shops nationwide and giving you exposure through this show here, Vape Radio, as well as in Vape Magazine. Are you a Vape Shop of the Month candidate? I’m looking for the shops out there that are really doing something significant, really doing something special. If you are, please give us a call or send us a note through vapementors.com. We want to know and we’ll talk to you because what we might be doing is increasing our radio presence. I have been asked by my staff to start reaching out and interviewing some of the vapreneurs that are really doing well out there in the marketplace. That could be you. Again, are you a Vape Shop of the Month? We aren’t sure but we would like to find out.
In closing I’m going to leave you with a little legal briefing, because as of a couple days ago there was what they call a landmark lawsuit that just happened in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas that seems to draw a lot of attention, this little shop called Sky Vapors is in a little strip center along with a 7-11. Not unusual, right? All your vape shops are in normally smaller strip centers. 7-11 decides that this little vape shop is competing with them for tobacco sales. Say what? Yeah. The 7-11 thinks that the e-cig store is competing with them and taking away tobacco sales.
Well first off, smokers are traditionally not vapors and vice versa, although we know that there’s a lot of people who do both. The question is, is a vape store also viewed the same as a tobacco store? Here’s what’s interesting. This went to court. This is a true David and Goliath case. What happened, 7-11 sued Sky Vapors. If we have an applause meter in there, Paul, get it ready to dial in. The court case basically said that 7-11 does not have a case against this little vape shop.
Here’s what’s interesting, why they’re considering this a landmark case, because some time little insignificant incidences lead to big things. This could be a precedent that we have been looking for, because the question has been bandied around for a while: Is vaping tobacco and should it be regulated like a tobacco product?
Right, like cities are trying to do.
And they have been, and not rightfully so. It just so happens that we have been in communication with the gentleman out there. His name is Lonnie and I’m going to go out and interview him and I’m going to share his story. He’s getting a lot of awesome press, and good for him, good for the store – and screw you, 7-11. I mean, seriously, don’t try to push your weight around, because as much money as you have, we are not taking your tobacco sales.
The truth is, is when people are coming into the vape shop they’re probably stopping in your place and grabbing a cup of coffee or a hot or a Slurpee or soft drink. We’re actually bringing them business. That’s my soapbox of the day.
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Author: Norm Bour
Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and the host of the award-winning podcast Vape Radio. He’s a vape industry coach, speaker, author and can be seen rubbing shoulders with the top influencers in the vape industry.