About 3 years ago, we were sitting around the small table that we originally had at The Vapor Bar and in walks an older gentleman dragging an oxygen tank slowly behind him, panting with every step. He says to us as he catches his breath, "I'm going to die, but it ain't gonna be like this," David knew his days were numbered, but he decided to live out his last days cigarette free. That man came in every week, sometimes without his oxygen tank due to his claim to be able to breathe better. I know David thought we taught him so much, but he taught us so much more. If you ever pick up David's sweet treat, that is what David had us make because he craved rice krispy treats, and it will forever keep that name. We lost him in January of 2014.
I know many of you know your customers and can tell stories with us, but I will tell you that we have lost these stories as of lately in most shops. We carry 0, 3, and 6 mg on most shelves and cater to a whole new population.....why? The David's of our world are getting lost. Had I have offered this mg to those David's when they came in, they would have surely failed and despite the lack of the throat hit they crave as smokers, they would have spent tons more than they did to do so on these mg. We've evolved, they say. I'd go back to that big table in a quiet shop any day than lose one more smoker to the fad they believe it is and shy away. Please put higher milligrams back on your shelves. Please ask others in your shop to refrain from fogging the entire place up and scaring away the crowd that needs us to reach them. Please carry an array of tobaccos to help those new smokers out. Yes, the David's in the world are missing out, but I promise you, you are missing out so much more.
Learn from someone new and help the new ones out. We are a community. We are a family. We have many many people who are new in this industry that rely on us older ones to do it right, why hold back secretly hoping they'll fail? Sure, we're over saturated and inundated with eliquid manufacturers and shops on every corner, but if we fail the industry, we fail the smokers. Many of these guys have no idea they need to carry product liability, or need to ask the liquid manufacturer they buy from if they carry it. Why are we not educating on this? Each shop that carries eliquid should be asking for their product liability certificate before they ever sell one bottle on their shelves. Protect yourself, protect your customers. Are you teaching your customers battery safety and eliquid safety? Do you scoff when a customer says that it's not satisfying them anymore, or do you know the questions you should ask them to trouble shoot and find out why? If not, reach out. Ask some of those in the industry how to ensure that individual stays successful. Do you know why flavors were created? Do you know what makes them a necessary part of being successful? If not....ask. You should know the hows and whys of every aspect of your business and be able to educate everyone else. There is a science to the success of each individual and you should know it backwards and forwards.
Trapper is a customer as well as our promoter on a popular country radio station. I will never forget the day he came in and I went through like 50 flavors with him to help him find that "one" that he could use all day. He continually told me after every one, "I can't taste anything." His taste buds had been numbed so bad, he couldn't taste anything, least of all tobacco. We finally decided on one he could taste a "little bit". Months later I checked in on him and he was dual using. Anyone who knows me, knows that just will not do. This completely means I have failed at producing the answer to his conundrum. I then asked him, "ok, what do you smoke?" He told me he smoked American Spirit and after researching found that not only did it have a truly unique flavor, it also contained higher nicotine than any other tobaccos. So, armed with this knowledge my lab manager and myself went and grabbed a pack of American Spirits off the shelf in one of our shops (customers hand them over to us when they know they will not touch another and we memorialize them on our shelves) and we took it out in the back of the building and took a couple of drags off of one. Not having touched a cigarette in over 3+ years at the time, I almost tossed my cookies, but we rushed back in and began to try and match the flavor in the lab. Trapper today is cigarette free after using the flavor combination we came up with that day. He is now one of my dearest friends and I am so blessed to have met him that day. Why did we do that? Because he is a David to us. They are all David's to us and I hope that you keep all those David's in mind every time you make a decision in your business, or choose an eliquid company or a mg to carry. Those are the ones we want to capture everyday and help and those are the ones who will absolutely never ever forget you or the fact that you were the first one that helped them to succeed. If you do it all for the right reasons, then you can learn from every story you hear walk in your door. Never once did I ever want that story to be, "because I want to blow clouds."