You’ve got vapemail…

This weekend I did something. 
 I accept that you probably did something too – however, I did something awesome.

Now I want to regale you about my paragliding/paintballing activities, but that would be pretty hum-drum. No, I signed up to my first vape-subscription box! That’s right – I’m a sucker for expectedly-unexpected mail items (2 years of loot crate and a mass of awesome geek plastic gumpf around my house attests to this).

So I accept that in ‘reality’ this probably isn’t the most awesome thing in the world – and I also have to caveat the following with the fact that I’ve not received my first delivery yet (roll on 15 October). The reason I’m writing about this now though is because the customer experience of the sign up process was pretty darn good.

Putting this in context, I look at CX for my bill paying living and – having vaped for about three years now – there’s been just a handful of times where I recognised anything resembling a customer focussed journey. Vape shops are the exceptions with this – but even they are just varieties of turning up and testing different juices – in those cases it’s all about how friendly and helpful the member of staff is. 

The CX of online vape outlets is pretty much restricted to descriptions of liquids and good check out processes. Meh. I do love to be proven wrong on this point.
What made craftvapeclub stand out was that the process of understanding what was going to be pulled together for me was very tailored. As you probably know (I’m assuming you vape– if you don’t or are starting out just run with me here), your vaping preference, liquid type and flavour profile are very particular. What’s more as you go on, your flavour preferences are likely to change. So when I started the journey of signing up to the box-o-goodies, I was expecting a ‘tell us your fave liquids’.

Instead, they asked ‘What don’t you want to get’ – and this (hopefully) means what I’ll end up with is a selection that is in line with my preference but still exposes me to some juice I’ve not tried before. Love it!

Another aspect I was really impressed with was their site layout – I don’t doubt it’s some kind of ‘out-of-the-can’ job, but when it works so flawlessly you can’t complain. Again for context, I signed up over iPhone while I was on a train out of London – how many times have you tried to register/access something through your phone only to be hit with some random blocker or screen SNAFU that just makes you go *sigh*. 

 End to end process for signup took me about 15 mins, and I was going slowly – you may be more decisive than me – and I ended up with a very clear expectation on when I’d get my first vapecrate.

In terms of price, you can choose from two plans – the first is £25 and they say you’ll get 4 flavours (between 40-50ml) and then for £30 you’ll get 6 flavours (between 70-80ml) – there’s nothing extra for postage or blackmail. They also say that the retail price of the liquids will always be more than you pay with them.

Of course this customer journey now needs to be backed up with the contents of the actual box, but so far I’m impressed and do hope that I’ll be in for some vapey treats over the coming months.

They’ve only just opened so go check them out if you get chance and – I hasten to add – I’ve written this without their knowledge/influence. Heck I’m not going to cry if they send me random eliquid – but I do stand by the fact that the signup process and liquid preference method was really good.

You can check out their site here

Clichéd Debut Blog Post

Everything has to start somewhere. This isn’t just the laws of science but of every story that’s ever been told in the history of ever (I was typing that in Morgan Freeman’s voice by the way; you’re welcome).

This means, I’m about to bore you with a tale from years gone by, a fable of ‘me’ if you will. It’s the story of a boy turned man and his battle in which, after a valiant struggle, his success left him in a limbo state. If you think I’m about to start talking about my success at beating a terminal illness – this is not that article; although ‘hashtag-real talk’ it seems that way to me sometimes (I don’t understand hashtags and don’t want to learn #totallylying).

Seriously get to the point

Alright – so you may have spotted the nature of my writing is about vaping. Or ecigs. Or vaporising (seriously that last one sounds sci-fi- I’m sticking with that descriptor now).  Following the traditions laid down by our internet forefathers, I believe that a document chronicling the ascension to the here and now is required. Dammit guys it’s a clichéd first article, just get on board and it’ll go a lot easier on everyone – you’ve read this far so you’re committed now; just watch out for the ‘Act 3’ style twist.

So I’m a man. Hello. I’m a man who, since the age of 16, smoked. I’m also a man who since the age of about 20 – didn’t want to smoke. I wanted to meet girls and have friends and basically didn’t want to smell or be poor – but somehow, I still smoked.

Through several relationships it was a problem (somehow I always dated/married non-smokers) and I can say, as a fairly easy going chap, it was the underlying cause of practically all my relationship related arguments.

Apart fromthat ex who slept with Barry. That’s was all about Barry.

So what does anyone do when they want to stop smoking? They go see the doctor. He helpfully gave me nicotine patches and for a few weeks I was angsty (think Linkin Park) – then I was cool (think Al Green) – then I was back smoking again (think the Prodigy).

This was a cycle that carried on for six month intervals over basically the next ten years (I’m currently 35 for the math nerds trying to work this out).

Turning point

For me a major turning point was going on one of these Alan Carr ‘Easy Way To Stop Smoking’ clinics (I was going to hyperlink that to be professional but I figure you know where Google is). Basically this effectively cured me of my addiction to nicotine (this was about five years ago now) – however – what I soon discovered was, nicotine was never the thing that drove me to smoke #hashtagshockedfaceemoji.

Nicotine wasn’t the thing – it was the act of smoking I enjoyed. Even that isn’t the true heart of it – it was that I wanted to be cool. Now – I may have just overshared there, and I appreciate this isn’t therapy, but the point I’m trying to convey is – my driver for continuing to smoke wasn’t ever going to be helped by patches, gum, nasal sprays or rose-bud cigarettes (the latter had potential but you can’t be cool smoking a flower – another science fact there)

So I found myself in a new cycle. I’d hardly ever smoke but then, occasionally I’d buy a pack and have one when I felt like rebelling. My wife didn’t like it. I hardly had any friends who smoked and knew on every level I didn’t even need it – i.e. I wasn’t driven by nicotine. I was just trying to capture a feeling of nostalgia. In my formative years I’d made an association that I had a cigarette when I was enjoying myself, when I was relaxing, when I was angry – and they didn’t do anything to alter those states of mind; but for me they were inextricably linked.

I Vape, You get it?

So it was when my kids came along that I desperately tried to severe this link entirely and I picked up one of those faux-cigarettes you can find at petrol stations. The ones with the glowing green light at the end? Yeah I looked damn cool.

This was my first step into vaping – although at the time I didn’t know I’d done that, all I did know was that I could now hide in toilets, kinda smoke, and nobody would know *insert nefarious laughter here*.

However anyone who’s tried one of those faux cigarettes will know. They’re pretty crap – I’m not going to sugar coat it – one drag and then, if the battery hasn’t packed up on you, it still feels like your just out on a cold day; a little bit of mist but ultimately not life changing.

It was at my sons christening (I have twins, that’s right I’m that good) that I spotted a good friend ‘smoking’ a pen. Well I thought it was a pen. To this day it could still be a pen and I’d be none the wiser, but I realised ‘OMG…’ (a totally appropriate word usage at a christening) ‘…there are other types of faux cigerette.

Pete switched me on to Totally Wicked – a UK company that do all things eciggy and I’ve spent the three years since learning the ways of the force. I mean figuring out what to do.

Act 3 twist

But I still feel like I’ve hardly scratched the surface! Like the kit I use to vape now, sorry, vaporise now is pretty decent compared to the first cartomiser I got – but after attending the vaping expo at Birmingham NEC a while back; I realised that I’m still pretty ignorant in what I’m doing.

I know my preferences. I know what juice I like and I feel like I’m forever trying to find the perfect vape – but don’t ask me what that is; it’s like my McGuffin ok?

Statement of intent

So I’m continuing on this journey and intend to talk about amazing – and perhaps non-amazing eliquids, how to vape (because no-ones covered that yet probably) and also the customer experience of the fantastic eliquid brands and purveyors.

This here is my foundation and over the coming months I’ll be working on setting up my stall and creating content to share.  There’s lots happening in the vaping world at the moment what with the TPD and the European discussions that want to put eliquids in the class of tobacco (which is just idiocy, but that’s a whole other article).

Yet the amazing products and the fantastic supplies that folk are developing along with the brands and identities they’re crafting need to be celebrated, especially when they demonstrate a real desire to deliver for their customers.

So yes.  This is the plan.  Here is the first step.

#letsdothis