Vape shop or vape-based business: What's the industry like today?
Some of our subscribers in social networks write that vaping is now outdated, of no interest to anybody, the hype has died down, and stuff… To be frank, we have another idea. As it’s said: ‘Two heads are good but… ugly’. So, we decided to ask the opinion of vape shop owners who directly deal with the vape industry.
Frequent visitor to our exhibitions, partner and friend Evgeny Titov who owns a small vape shop in Saint Petersburg
VAPEXPO Moscow (V.E.): Hi, Evgeny! There have been rumors of the death of the vape industry: the hype has died down, no sales, everything went to the dogs… Is that true? How are things in the vape industry? Any plans to close or expand your business?
Evgeny Titov (Е.Т.): Hi! Well, the truth is that the hype is not that big. Some years ago, I had a small vape shop in the residential area as well as three points of sale near crowded places: at the market, beside the underground, and not far from the city center in a shopping mall. It happened that we got short of products, mainly e-juices, 20-25 items were pre-ordered every week. Hardly had I managed to come up with the products when they were sold out like hot cakes. I even couldn’t put them in the window (laughing – Ed.)
Now, the things have changed. I closed my points of sale. I redesigned a single shop into a kinda vape bar with chill-out atmosphere. There’s no point in expansion, but I’m not gonna close the business. The vaping industry is still alive, but it has changed, become mature if you like.
V.E.: What has changed? What do you mean by ‘vape industry has become mature’?
Е.Т.: Well, firstly, it was hype that kept vaping afloat. Many people were willing to taste vape, see whether it replaces cigarettes, whether it’s something like hookah or not. We mainly sold cheap iJusts and e-juices to snot-nosed teenagers. They popped in our shop only once and bought something that was not like cigarettes nor hookah, little vapor (because they chose the cheapest e-cig). There was no shortage of such clients. However, over time, more informed vapers came searching for more expensive devices with more tasty RDAs and more cloudy vapor. They created the so-called vape community. They are our loyal clients.
V.E.: How did the changes in the industry affect your business? You’ve closed some points of sale. So, not very successfully?
Е.Т.: Initially, yeah. The sales drop was dramatic. To be frank, at some moments, I was thinking of giving everything up… close and kiss this sphere goodbye not to lose all the money. However, I’m also a vaper and made friends with some customers. We now spend time together, they are now more than just clients (smiling – Ed.), I decided to stand at the market as long as I can. Survival of the fittest, you know.
Many competitors quitted the industry and closed their business, which played into my hands. Their clients started to look for an alternative and came across me. That’s why my sales reached the previous level.
An e-liquid for 200 RUB is not what clients look for. They search for an exclusive product: expensive mechs, hi-quality German box mods, and a good expensive e-juice, for example, Milkman. They all are high-priced and marginal products, pretty moneymaking, by the way.
No doubt, income is important, my vape bar is also a place to have fun, watch FIFA championships, sometimes trickers compete here, some guys celebrate birthdays. So, my business remains rather profitable. It’s now a place to relax with close friends.
I would not recommend starting up a vape business nowadays. The situation on the market is tough. However, those shops that have loyal clients and deliver high-quality products feel good, sometimes even manage to earn a lot.)
Come to the largest wape-exhibition of the country VAPEXPO Moscow 2018 - and you will surely discover something new!
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