SPINFUEL: Welcome to the pages of Spinfuel eMagazine. We are delighted to welcome you to this first, of hopefully many reviews. Would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
Carpe Diem: Thank you for your time and a big thank you to the “testing team”! My name is Lacy and I am the owner at Carpe Diem Vapor. Right now we are a small company of only 3 employees but hope to grow in the near future.
SPINFUEL: How did you decide on the name for your company?
Carpe Diem: I have always loved the saying “Carpe Diem” as it means to seize the day, put little trust in tomorrow. I see the latter part of that saying to mean not to trust that everything is going to fall in to place for you in the future and to take action for it today.
SPINFUEL: Who or what inspired you to get into the eliquid business?
Carpe Diem: Wow, I could write a page on this however my passion towards “vaping” is just so overwhelming. I never could have imagined a year ago that I would ever be able to quit smoking. I just figured it was never going to happen. Thanks to my mother who introduced me to the E Cig industry I now feel so much healthier, my kids are much happier and I get to work in the industry that I am so passionate about every day. I consider myself very lucky.
SPINFUEL: Can you tell us about the local and state ecigarette situation is in your state, or even in your town?
Carpe Diem: Well, Austin has had a smoking ban now for several years now, and generally tends to lead the way for reform so we will probably be one of the earlier cities to adopt any new ecig laws. I am also already seeing “No Electronic Cigarettes”” signs on front of a few businesses in the area.
SPINFUEL: Is vaping popular the in your area where you live?
Carpe Diem: Yes, it is very popular. Recently we went “Antiquing” at a place called Round Top not far from Austin and it was just wonderful to see how many people are turning to vaporizers. It really blew my mind. Of course I got the occasional “stare” like what is that thing? Then you turn your head and there are 4 other people vaping around you.
SPINFUEL: Have you attended any vape festivals or shows in your area as Carpe Diem or even as yourself?
Carpe Diem: I have not had a chance to yet but I hope to in the near future.
SPINFUEL: Are you active in the vape community where you live and work?
Carpe Diem: We often visit the local vape shops in the area, just to see what’s new, and try out the new mods, tanks, etc. If we see someone vaping we love to start up a conversation with them on how they made the switch and all the benefits they are seeing from quitting smoking.
SPINFUEL: When you came to the decision to launch Carpe Diem how many ‘flavors’ did you have to start with?
Carpe Diem: We started the company out with 5 flavors that we personally liked. We had been working on these flavors for the better part of 4-5 months trying to give them just the right tweaks.
SPINFUEL: Is there a common theme running through each of your flavors?
Carpe Diem: There is not a common theme but more a common goal, and that is to try and create juices that are not too overpowering so that they can be vaped all day long. Of course taste is subjective, so for someone that does not like mango, you may not be able to vape “Mango Me” all day long.
SPINFUEL: Are your eLiquids pre-steeped before shipping out to customers? If not, do you recommend to your customers that they might want to steep them for a time? If so, how long, on average, should your liquids steep?
Carpe Diem: For the most part yes, they are pre steeped. I remember long ago ordering from other companies and I just hated the waiting game of letting them steep. On occasion when we have run out of our weekly batch, we will create juices from scratch for new orders but will inform the customer with a handwritten note to let it steep for full flavor production. I believe all of our E liquids taste great right away but the ones that truly blossom over time are Slevin, NomNom, Banana Ride, Strawberry NomNom and Lemon My Cupcake.
SPINFUEL: What’s the best way to ‘steep’ YOUR eLiquids at home?
Carpe Diem: For the most part with our products you won’t need to but if you would like to then we recommend you to take the lid off of the juice and put the bottle out of reach of pets and children and let it “breath” for a few hours a day.
SPINFUEL: What type of have tamper proof seals are you using?
Carpe Diem: We are using heat shrink tamper seals. We hope to be using customized Carpe Diem Vapor tamper seals in the very near future. (Update: Carpe Deim has instituted the new child-proof, tamper proof bottles in the 60ML size now, the other sizes will be changed very soon)
SPINFUEL: With regard to eliquid labels, how much information should be on each bottle? Ingredients, nicotine strength, flavor, lot number, batch number, and so on. What do your labels contain?
Carpe Diem: Our labels contain the Ingredients, Nicotine strength and a bold red warning that reminds customers to keep out of reach of children and pets. As we increase in size/volume we will start using lot/batch numbers as a way to track inventory, and customer satisfaction. We are in the process of transitioning over to child proof glass droppers. That will of course increase the cost to us, but a little extra peace of mind is a much better thing.
SPINFUEL: Could you describe your eliquid facility?
Carpe Diem: Right now we are working out of a pretty small area, we are looking for a bigger space as we speak. We do have a dedicated sterile mixing area, along with shipping packing section.
Most of our ejuices are premade and have been through the needed steeping time in larger bulk containers. This allows us to keep checking the quality of our product and make sure the following batch is the same as the current. Generally we work out of 1000ml bottles.
SPINFUEL: Can you tell us about your ‘mixing’ area? Would you consider it a sterile environment, free of dust and contaminants? Is it a sealed area? What measures did you take to make it so?
Carpe Diem: Right now we have a sterile environment that we mix juices in. I tend to be a bit OCD, no really I am J when it comes to cleanliness. Our mixing areas are glass topped work tables that are easily cleaned and we do this in between each order. All of our ejuice ingredients are stored in closed cabinets away from light. Any person mixing juices is required to first wash their hands, then put gloves and a smock on as well as a hair net. We also have a high end air filtration system in the mixing room. There is only one door to the mixing area and it has a numeric keypad lock.
SPINFUEL: How many people do you have mixing eLiquids, and how do they transition going from one flavor/recipe to another? correctly.
Carpe Diem: Currently we have only two people mixing eLiquids, myself and one other person. Generally at this time, the person who created the flavor is the one who makes the batches. When making batches of E Liquids we use scientific glass measuring equipment and in between batches or recipes, all glassware is cleaned and sterilized. We use plastic pipettes for each customers order and flavor, as you can imagine we go through plastic pipettes pretty quickly! Of course these pipettes are discarded after each use.
SPINFUEL: Restaurants use what they call the FIFO Rules in the kitchen, for their raw food products. Do you use a similar rule for your ingredients? If you do, could you describe it? (FIFO = First In, First Out)
Carpe Diem: Yes we do, all of products are dated if not already when it arrives from our distributors.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about nicotine. Tell us about the nicotine you use in your juice. How does an eLiquid company such as yourself learn to trust their source for nicotine? How do they trust the nicotine’s purity?
Carpe Diem: We do use the NicSelect brand of nicotine. We feel it’s best to use what we ourselves feel comfortable with. Everything we sell, we do use. We do get our batches at lower nicotine levels to make it easier to work with.
SPINFUEL: What types of hardware (mods, tanks, cartos, etc.) do you use when testing your liquids? Is there a setup you favor for testing?
Carpe Diem: We have pretty much tried everything. Our daily devices are both mechanical mods, and APV devices, which we have several. For sampling our ejuices we tend to use drippers for ease of changing out the wicks to prevent carry-over of the previous flavors, and for our daily use, RBAs with multiple wick/coil setups. We do realize that ejuices taste different in different setups so we try to sample them as much as we can in different devices before we release the new flavor.
SPINFUEL: How do you handle the demands for various PG/VG ratios with your customers?
Carpe Diem: Currently we do not offer PG/VG ratios options to customers. In the future we hope to do so but right now we use a 50/50 blend. A 50/50 blend really works well for us but we do understand there are customers out there that would like more options as far as picking their PG/VG strength.
SPINFUEL: Many eLiquid brands tweak the recipes of their eLiquids from time to time. If you ever need to do that how do you notify your customers of a change?
Carpe Diem: We will state any changes on the front page of our website and on the product page as well.
SPINFUEL: Our position on regulating eLiquids includes spot inspections by the same people that perform restaurant inspections, to insure a certain level of cleanliness and proper storage of ingredients and materials. First, how do you feel about this kind of inspection, and second, if a food inspector were to walk in to your facility today, how well do you think that inspection would go?
Carpe Diem: I think it’s a great idea and I too, hope this is something that is part of the regulation process in the future. Like I stated before, we are all about sterilization and cleanliness so I am sure if we were to have an inspection it would go well.
SPINFUEL: While we’re on the topic of ingredients and inspections, in the food service industry a restaurant owner is required to post their most recent inspection results on a wall that can be easily seen by all the customers. We (Spinfuel eMagazine) believe that eLiquid companies should be required to do the same thing. We believe that the company should be required to photograph the official report and post the photo on their website. Is that going too far in your opinion? Would you object to such a rule?
Carpe Diem: I would not object to that rule, it is something that restaurants use to make themselves a better place, so why shouldn’t we?
SPINFUEL: In your opinion, what makes a good eliquid? What should our readers look for when trying to choose a good eliquid vendor?
Carpe Diem: Time. Time to take the effort to develop flavors that are appealing to our customer but not overpowering. Time to allow the flavors to blend together. Time to sit back and enjoy.
I think a good eliquid is a package deal. You should look for a company that offers great products but offers great customer service as well.
Spinfuel: Are you concerned about the FDA ruling coming soon? Do you have any gut feelings about which way the FDA is leaning; toward more taxation or banning?
Carpe Diem: Yes, I am concerned not about the taxation part of it but more so about banning. Just think, literally millions of people who have kicked the nasty cigarette habit because of the use of vaporizers and e juice. It would be a shame if they took that away from us. I have had a couple of people in my family pass away due to lung cancer from smoking so this topic really hits home to me.
SPINFUEL: People complain about the prices of eliquid, even we complain about the prices at times, are people paying too much or too little for eliquid?
Carpe Diem: I think that all depends. It definitely takes time to sit down and get an eliquid right, and it takes the same amount of time to do it again.
Are you buying a product that is in a plastic or glass bottle? Are you buying a product that is using premium PG/VG and Nicotine? A lot of time goes in to finding that perfect flavor, really it does unless you just get lucky but a lot of times that is not the case. When you take into consideration the time and materials that person spent perfecting a flavor it really starts to add up. At Carpe Diem Vapor each order requires the following materials: at least 4-5 plastic pipettes, fresh gloves, lots of bubble wrap when using glass bottles, boxes, tape, charms, company “swag” and more, it really adds up so the profit may not be as much as you think. I understand that not all companies use those supplies. I do consider our prices very competitive.
SPINFUEL: Lastly, why should our readers try Carpe Diem?
Carpe Diem: Why not?? J We feel we offer some really great flavors, we offer great customer service and want each customer to feel special. That is why we take the time to really listen to our customers feedback.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
Carpe Diem: Seize the day and vape on!
SPINFUEL: Thank for taking the time to talk to us today, and to allowing us to review your liquids. We look forward to doing a sequel very soon.
Carpe Diem: Thanks for your time! We would love to do a sequel, we have a few new flavors coming out soon that we think are going to be very popular with our customers!
Interview by Julia Hartley-Barnes