Beard Gains Interview
Dori Odosso Talks With Founder Zach Stephenson
SPINFUEL: Welcome to the pages of Spinfuel. We’ve been looking forward to talking to you. Would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
ZACH: What’s going on!? My name is Zach Stephenson. I was born in Scottsboro, Alabama and now reside in Orlando, Fl. I’m one of 10 brothers and sisters, 3 adopted. My drive is inspired by my Mom who is a rock solid woman that’s triumphed over huge adversities. Love ya Mom! I just turned 33 in October and I’m very excited to be a part of the Spinfuel process, hope you enjoy the read!
SPINFUEL: What position(s) do you hold in the company?
ZACH: I am the Founder and CEO of the Beard Gains.
SPINFUEL: Getting down to business; who or what inspired you to get bring Beard Gains eliquid into your overall business plans, and when was that?
ZACH: My brother is the reason for success in this field actually. I started out by buying 45 electronic hookahs because I saw them in a local Orlando club and was fascinated by them. Once I got them, I needed juice, right? So I’m calling random companies I’ve never heard of, asking them to make me juice for these e-hookahs that I’m going to make millions off of-hahaha. Then I remembered just recently when visiting the family in Alabama, my brother was vaping something that smelled so good!!! So I called him up and asked where he bought his ejuice so I could buy it too for these e-hookahs. Well it turns out that he was making it himself at home! Whaaaaat?!?!? I was stoked and had to know his secrets! I immediately asked for the recipes because this e-hookah thing is going to be huge, right? lol. After bouncing store to store, it didn’t take me long to figure out that the e-hookahs were not the success story–but that banana e-juice! Gladiator is the name of it today, and it is the backbone of Beard Gains eLiquid becoming a multi-million dollar distributor.
SPINFUEL: Where are you located? What’s the local and state level situation there with respect to electronic cigarettes? What’s the “attitude” of the people there about eCigarettes?
ZACH: Beard Gains is located in Orlando, FL. E-cigarettes here in Orlando are pretty common. It’s blown up everywhere really. What I’ve found is that it’s an easy way to break the ice. Nothing better than talking about your new mod and “HEY! Try THIS!”
SPINFUEL: When you Beard Gains how did you decide on your first flavor or “set” of flavors?
ZACH: Beard Gains first eliquid flavors launched were banana, two types of marshmallow, and the nerds candy. Through growth and feedback from what our customers are buying, we are actually going to drop the marshmallows and stick with a solid 8 flavors of fruits and candies. I am about to release a new pomegranate mint that was just finalized today come to think of it.
SPINFUEL: eLiquid artists all have their own “signature” recipes. How would you describe your signature?
ZACH: Our signature is definitely geared towards candies and fruits. I have a sweet tooth so I like the sweeter stuff. Gladiator, which taste like banana runts, set the benchmark for the flavors to follow.
SPINFUEL: Do you steep your eLiquids before they are shipped to customers? If so, how long do they sit before you ship them out? If you do not, do you suggest that customers ‘home steep’ them before vaping?
ZACH: With the fruity stuff it’s ready to rock! Custards and cakes can take long periods of time to steep, but through testing of our flavors, steeping had little to no affect.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged?
ZACH: It wouldn’t take you long after seeing the labels, then a 6’2” guy standing in front of you with a beanie, a big beard, and full sleeve tat on his arm to figure out where the logo derived from. Nothing says inferior about a product in a glass green bottle with a flashy bearded skull on it, topped off with a plastic wrapped child safety cap. No no, this bottle of juice isn’t playing, it means business!
SPINFUEL: There is a lot of concern these days about how and where eLiquids are being made. Could you describe your ‘mixing’ area? Where do you do your mixing, bottling, and shipping?
ZACH: I can proudly say we are not doing this at our kitchen counter or behind the vape shop from a barrel. Beard Gains eliquid meets the standard of Premium E-Juice in every facet and the quality shows.
There is a multi million-dollar facility here in Florida that meets ALL health code regulations and does the mixing and bottling of our juice. I personally have seen the process of what goes on behind the scenes with a hands on tour and it’s very impressive. Not only that, the people who own and operate it care about doing what’s right.
After bottled, it then is packed and shipped to my distributor here in Orlando who provides for most of the tobacco stores in south Florida. Also another great guy who has helped to get our juice to where it is today.
SPINFUEL: Safety is also a huge factor today. What kind of measures do you take to make sure that your eLiquid is safe to consume? What methods do you use to prevent contamination or other factors that can harm your product?
ZACH: Automated labeling and fulfillment, all of the manufacturing components are sourced in the USA and are USP certified. Facility has ISO 7 certified clean room which guarantees health standards are met at all times. This liquid is as safe as you can possibly get it.
SPINFUEL: Does the crew wear any type of special clothing when they are mixing?
ZACH: Oh absolutely! They wear gloves, masks, hair nets, jackets, the whole nine yards.
SPINFUEL: Do they mix everyday? Do they mix in batches, and if so, how large is a typical batch?
ZACH: The manufacturing facility is capable of almost a million bottles a month. However, right now we are primarily located in South Florida and do around 1200 bottles every two weeks and are consistently seeing positive growth.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a specific audience in mind for your eLiquids? In other words, are your eLiquids best used with cartomizers, tanks, and clearomizers? Are they blended for dripping, or sub-ohm coils?
ZACH: We are focusing on 0, 3 and 6mg nicotine. I now use a tank with sub-ohm coils. With the way vaping technology has evolved, it’s just too simple to ignore. The higher VG ratio obviously favors the cloud chaser but with the quality products we use, even an everyday e-pen works just fine.
SPINFUEL: What types of hardware do you use when testing your eLiquids? Is there any specific hardware that provides the best ‘vape’ for your eLiquids?
ZACH: It’s not so much a certain hardware, but just how much power you want in your hands. If you’re a flavor chaser, a cool 23-25watts will get you a great taste. If you you want to fog up, go sub-ohm and crank those watts! My personal setup is the Tesla Two sub mod box kit.
SPINFUEL: What is your suggested, or “house blend” for PG/VG ratio for your eLiquid?
ZACH: 75/25 VG/PG I feel is the perfect Max VG blend to get great flavor and a great cloud of vapor.
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure that your flavors are always consistent, that each batch or bottle delivers the same flavor time after time?
ZACH: Once a blend is created, all ingredients are measured then mathematically enhanced to produce capable numbers for production. This guarantees the same taste time and time again.
SPINFUEL: Does nicotine levels affect the flavor of your eliquids?
ZACH: Not needing nicotine in my juice, it definitely makes a difference to me. I think this is subjective to the individual however. Either you want a ton of throat hit with a high nic level or you’re happy with little.
SPINFUEL: Were you a smoker before you switched to vaping? If so, what made you decide to quit smoking?
ZACH: I never was a smoker, thought it smelled terrible so I never had an urge to inhale it. hah.
SPINFUEL: Wow, you don’t hear that a lot. Our Publisher, John Manzione, has a similar background, though he did smoke in his early years, he quit in 1992. Now, he vapes constantly at 3mg nicotine. So, as a non-smoker since Day One, how often do you vape now? How many hours per day?
ZACH: I’m not a heavy vaper or all-day kind of guy. I break it out when I go downtown or chilling with friends. I enjoy the taste and something about creating thick smoke from your own mouth is fascinating. As I just take a puff and exhale…
SPINFUEL: Do you have a “favorite” flavor? I know you like sweet flavors, but is there a favorite right now?
ZACH: My favorite flavor I think has to be Fully Loaded which taste like candy nerds. I was a HUGE nerds fan when I was younger. I know you used to take that box and turn the whole thing upside down too!
SPINFUEL: I too was a big fan of nerds! What makes a good eLiquid, generally speaking?
ZACH: For me and the Beard Gains brand, we put importance in quality. If you’ve been using gas station e-liquid, you’ll immediately tell a difference with ours. Now far as flavor and vapor go, we rise that over a throat hit.
SPINFUEL: Where do you think the eCigarettes industry is headed? Do you have any predictions on the upcoming FDA regulations?
ZACH: I’ll let the politics play out on its own, I really don’t know where it’s headed. I know it’s not going to get easier for just anyone to make this at home and sell it. Those days are, thankfully, over.
SPINFUEL: Why should our readers buy their eLiquid from you?
ZACH: I just ask you try what I have to offer. If you don’t like it, I’ll GLADLY give you a refund. There is a lot of juice brands out there and it’s important to know where it’s coming from and how it’s getting made. There comes a greater cost and extra steps to earn the title of being called a premium e-liquid. Beard Gains e-liquid has earned it.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
ZACH: I’m not going to tell you to buy from me, but I’ll leave you with this. Any one of you reading this can become what you wish to be if you just bite your teeth down, focus, and grind. Before this I was a simple salesman… I went out on this venture with no help, no money, only the will to be a successful entrepreneur. If you have further desires and ambitions in life, stop thinking about it and go after it. Never get comfortable, that creates complacency and complacency is replaceable.
If you read all this, I truly thank you for your interest in me and the company. Follow me on Instagram: @beard_gains
My goofiness on Snapchat: BeardGains and if you see me out and about, by all means come say hey!
SPINFUEL: Great advice! I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today. We really enjoyed your eLiquids and we look forward to arranging a “sequel” down the road!!
Purchase Beard Gains eliquid from their website here.