Two weeks ago, in my last blog post, I talked about a meeting with my local retailer of all things ecig: Flavour Vapour. I've always admired the way those guys and girls managed to build a
successful franchise up from scratch, with the humble beginnings normally only reserved for heartwarming American Dream lemonade-stand style stories. From a little market stall, as a Totally Wicked reseller, these guys had grown exponentially. They managed to do what I really wanted to do a year before.
While working as a support worker in the private residential care sector, I too dreamed of owning a big vaping store selling great gear and tasty e-liquid. Fear stopped me. Fear and a lack of funds to
procure retail space, stock, anything really. I was too scared to step away from the familiar and the comfortable, too worried I couldn't pay the bills if I simply gave it all up to run my own business.
So I got on with my safe life, as Flavour Vapour became a large player in the retail sector, especially here in the southwest of England.Fast forward the five years or so until today and you'll have noticed I did give the finger to fear and worked hard to make five e-liquid flavours the best they could be. I knew what I wanted from an e-liquid and after several glowing reviews later, it appears, I'd made something other vapers wanted too!
Stepping into Flavour Vapour and anxiously awaiting their reactions to my little juice company's efforts was quite a feeling. Would they like this? Would they laugh me out of the building? What if
they liked it though? What if they were genuinely impressed? A real mixture of emotions flowed in my mind as two of the managers of the company filled a dripper from the full range of Tokenvape liquids.
I've talked previously about just how well that meeting went. They were stunned at how good Tokenvape tasted. I could feel their excitement, as they talked fast and excitedly moved on from
one flavour to the next. We left the shop with samples of Tokenvape for all the staff to have a toke on.
As I got back to Tokenvape towers, there were quite a few things still to sort out. My labels were good but not quite right for retail. They needed to be fully CLP compliant. The tube packaging, as
nice as it is, was also adding a fairly significant cost to manufacture. Sadly, they needed to go and so I retired them at 500, exclusively for my loyal first time customers to enjoy. Maybe one day they
may return, but they were an expense I could barely afford and didn't want to add on my wholesale costings.
The next step was reducing that cost further where I could. All the way through I was adamant that our flavours would not be compromised. They needed to be the best that they could be so cheaper flavourings and ingredients were simply not an option. Even so, I negotiated with Mick to try and get a reduction on cost and he did accommodate where he could.
I ordered 500 labels of each flavour in each strength from the printers; it was a huge stack of labels, which took them at least three weeks to get ready. All the while reviews kept rolling in, each one seemed as impressed with Tokenvape as the last. To date, Tokenvape has never had a negative review. We have some flavours which are more popular than others but feedback has
been very positive overall.
During the wait for my labels to be printed with some more bottles on the way, things were a little quiet. Steady sales on the site kept spirits up, but the quietness from my retail partners was a little
unnerving. Naturally, I worried I was losing time on the window of hype around my juice line. In the world of vaping things move alarmingly quickly. What might be the best flavour / mod one month
can quickly be forgotten for the next new kid on the block. However, it seemed I was worrying over nothing when Flavour Vapour got back in touch. Whilst it is true things move fast in this sector, it is
equally true that once someone finds a vape they like, you might be really blessed to have a customer who likes a flavour so much, it becomes their all day vape.
With Flavour Vapour having ordered 750 bottles of Tokenvape, there was still one small issue for me to resolve: the batch info. From a manufacturing point of view, the issue with batch labelling is
that the information contained changes from batch to batch. As a result you need a way to print all the information when you make a batch of liquid. It would be fantastic if I had money available to
buy a professional label printer and print out the batch info directly onto the label every time I need them. This method though simply isn't an option for Tokenvape right now. We had our labels
already printed, with a small space set aside to place batch information on.
Eventually, I found a reasonable way to do it, though it remains time consuming and slightly fiddly. I found a small, thermal tape printer, normally reserved for covering office stationery with labels,
which was very close to the official sizes they needed to be. Thermal printing uses no ink, and can be printed on this plastic film covered tape. They are water proof, very hard to remove and could
have all the information printed on a sticker in a tiny space of just under 2cm long. I can print these as and when I need them per order. All need to be cut to size, by hand, and then stuck in the space
on the back of the label, again all by hand. Doing this for 1000 or so bottles, as you might appreciate, can take a long time!
Once the bottles arrived, we had to assemble, again by hand, all of the pipettes, orange squeeze tops and the safety caps. This can be fairly trying on your fingers, but we spread it out over a
period of a couple of days. It's a repetitive action, but one which can easily be done in front of Netflix or whatever in an evening.
Mick had found a good solution to sending large quantities of e-liquid down to me and once these arrived we began the task of filling our labelled up bottles. It took us just one day to actually fill the
bottles; although filling manually is time consuming, it's everything else which takes time to complete. The processes are fairly numerous: sticker the bottles, assemble childproof caps with
pipettes, print and cut out batch stickers, stick on the batch stickers and a tactile warning triangle, fill the bottles with the liquid, seal them with a heat tamper sleeve and, finally, box up the order!
All in, we had around 6 large boxes filled with Tokenvape goodness for Flavour Vapour. After an early Monday morning start we dropped off the liquids to their warehouse and felt pretty good that we'd finished our first large order. By Wednesday their Truro and Exeter branches received their first stock of Tokenvape liquids and had them on sale later that afternoon. The Flavour Vapour website also put up Tokenvape e-liquids that week and by Friday all stores, including Plymouth were now selling our e-liquids. At the time of writing this blog, I don't know how they have sold, but hopefully they have been well received by Flavour Vapour customers.
Exciting news: Mick and I are developing a brand new flavour. It is much too early to talk about here and it isn't quite ready yet, but suffice to say, cereal fans might be very interested in our recent
experiment! More news about the latest Tokenvape flavour will be announced soon so stay tuned to the blog and our social media channels and vape on!
You must be aged 18 or over to use these products.
Tokenvape e-liquid may contain nicotine.
Nicotine is classed as toxic.
Very toxic if swallowed.
Very toxic in contact with skin.
Keep locked up and out of the reach of children.
If you feel unwell when using these products, stop and seek medical advice immediately.
May contain traces of nuts.
Only to be used with e-cigarettes.