YOU SAY YOU WANT A VAPE REVOLUTION? THE SOCAL-BASED ONE-STOP VAPING SHOP AND DISTRIBUTION
Introducing the Vaping Community to a Dynamic New Level of
LOS ANGELES - The thousands of people worldwide whose lives have been transformed by the powerful and growing cultural phenomenon known as “vaping” probably don’t know the names of the brilliant minds that have helped make their dynamic switch from traditional tobacco cigarettes to inhaling from personal vaporizers possible.
According to Amber Lee, Chief Communications Officer for the groundbreaking Cerritos, Calif.-based VapeRev (www.vaperev.com) -a fast growing one-stop vape shop and national distributor of a wide array of vaping products- the very first electronic cigarette was patented in 1963 by Herbert A. Gilbert, whose cigalike device heated the nicotine solution and produced water vapor. In those days, traditional smoking was considered cool and was even advertised on TV, so his device was not popularized until later. The 1963 cigalike is now being sold withEmperor Brand.
Forty years later, Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik designed a specialized vaporizing device that produced a satisfying vapor that could be inhaled and provided a steady nicotine delivery into the bloodstream.
These days, with “vaping” as much a different lifestyle as an alternative to tobacco burning cigarette smoking, the time is ripe for the kind of elegance, sophistication, hands on customer service and education offered by VapeRev. Launched in June 2012 by the husband-and-wife team of Amber Lee and Charn Premyodhin, the groundbreaking, multi-faceted company has redefined the experience for vapers in SoCal and beyond. In just a few years, VapeRev has grown to a current team of associates that includes nearly 70 employees.
VapeRev’s initial store location is as much a relaxing and comfortable social environment to “hang” and meet old and new friends as a place for vapers of all ages (literally, from 18-90!) to learn about, test out and purchase the best e-juice flavors and “mods”, the beautifully crafted vape devices whose stainless steel and brass exterior houses an atomizer heating element and includes a “drip tip” mouthpiece which is used to inhale.
The reason for the growth of the industry is obvious. With vaping, there’s no flame, no burning, and therefore zero combustion takes place. The practice addresses one component of smoking, nicotine, without having to combust 600 ingredients into over 4,000 chemicals, with over 50 of them known to be cancer causing.
Amber explains, “The liquid used in the mods essentially contains two ingredients: propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. The atomizer is a heating element. When combined with the e-liquid produces a water vapor. It’s a push button device operated by a 3.7-volt lithium ion battery, and everything is customizable and interchangeable so customers can create their own customized vaping experience.”
Charn estimates that at any given time, there are 20-30 models for sale that VapeRev purchases wholesale from top manufacturers around the world. When they launched, their first products were imported from China, and now – as they seek the best “mods” from around the world – they sell items produced in Europe (Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, and Romania) and Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Philippines, and India), along with several made in the U.S.A.
Amber adds that VapeRev carries approximately 140 different “e-juice” flavors with various levels of nicotine (in increments of 0, 6, 12, 18 and 24 mg -with selected brands- per bottle). These include sweet flavors like dessert, drink, coffee, and candy, as well as tobacco, menthol and even a cucumber flavor. As Charn, who smoked cigarettes for 20 years before vaping changed his life, says, “I get more satisfaction out of vaping, and there is also the relaxation factor. Plus it tastes so much better and I don’t smell like tobacco. My wife likes that!”
“We are always trying to find the best products, engineering wise,” Amber says, “so our product acquisition team literally searches the world for the best products to sell. We have developed a reputation as true trendsetters in the vaping industry and people are interested in buying what we’re selling. Some guests come in and know exactly what they want, and others need to be educated to find the best products for them based on their specific needs, including the level of nicotine they want in their juices to ease their transition from normal cigarettes. It’s not a high pressure sales environment. We’re always here to give as much education about our products as we can so our guests can make an educated decision about which products will best match their lifestlye.”
The parallel success stories of Vape Rev’s storefront and the industry in general over the past few years led the company to expand into the distribution realm with their subsidiary, VR Distribution – which provides shops around the country (from the Pacific Northwest and Southwest to Florida, New York, Chicago, etc.) with high quality e-juice, personal vaporizer hardware, and accessories.
Currently in an exciting expansion mode, Vape Rev is planning this summer to open what will become their flagship location (designed by the renowned L.A.-based firmMass Architecture) on the ultra-trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Charn’s vision extends to opening more locations in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and around the world as the company and vaping industry continues to grow. Eventually he would like to obtain an international reach.
Because vaping is still a young, growing industry and the world at large is still learning about it, there is unfortunately a huge amount of negative propaganda and misinformation floating around that can distort the true facts about how it works and its attributes and benefits. To that end, the education-driven VapeRev has a FAQ and Glossary section (http://www.vaperev.com/glossary/) on its site for newbies, and a blog page featuring a articles and videos on hardware, juice profiles, events and lifestyle.
VapeRev supports SFATA (Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association). SFATA has started a high-profile “Age to Vape” campaign to make sure the public understands that the company is very strict on only selling vaping products to adults 18 and older. The principals believe that those under 18 cannot make the proper decisions about vaping and are ethically bound to making sure that the age limit is enforced. As vaping as become more popular, some store owners have been stigmatized as promoting the practice among young people – but VapeRev is run by responsible business owners who are committed to promoting only high quality products and experiences for adults.
For those curious about the impact vaping has on people’s lives (particularly the lives of former smokers), VapeRev endorses (though is not formally affiliated with) the “I’m Proof” Movement (www.improofmovement.com) (#IMPROOF), a community dedicated to highlighting “an improved lifestyle” by people who have made a decision to leave cigarettes behind. Their website is full of powerful, often emotional testimonies by people whose lives have been radically improved by their switch to vaping.
Like many entrepreneurial success stories, Charn and Amber’s entry into and rise within the vaping industry began with an innocent, almost whimsical moment that sparked a passion that wouldn’t let go. And like those legendary companies Apple and Amazon, VapeRev started in their garage.
The couple were at an outdoor barbecue and Charn – who grew up cooking in his family restaurant and later opened a successful restaurant (Maleyna’s) and then a catering business (CJ’s Paella catering) – ran into an old friend who was visiting from Las Vegas. The friend was vaping on a popular vaporizer known as the eGo-C Twist. Charn, who had tried unsuccessfully to stop smoking for years, didn’t expect much when he tried it, but calls the result a “mind blowing moment.”
Charn asked his friends a ton of questions about the product and where he got it, and soon he was heavily researching the vaping concept. He realized that one of the things holding vaping back from becoming a bigger phenomenon was a lack of support and troubleshooting from manufacturers. He took $2,000 from a recent catering gig and bought a shipment of Ego-C Twist products from a Chinese manufacturer. Then he started advertising on Craigslist and soon had a huge customer base in Cerritos and the surrounding area. Driven by a mix of top quality products and the support and education that customers needed, the VapeRev was born – and quickly outgrew their home and moved to their current store.
“We opened in mid-2012 with a solid built-in following, and it was standing room only,” says Amber. “People were recognizing us as pioneers of our industry that played a crucial role in bringing vaping to the mainstream and making it a lifestyle. It was never just about making money for us. Some vape outlet owners just want to sell their products and profit, and that’s understandable. But for us, it was about sharing, educating and feeling like we were in a position to truly change the world. We saw and still see the opportunity to create a culture where traditional smoking is minimized and vaping becomes not only a lifestyle trend, but a foundational way of life for millions of people. We found our passion in knowing that we could help people change their way of life.”