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?
Hello Spinfuel, and hello Spinfuel readers. I’m really excited to have your team trying out my flavors as I am an avid Spinfuel reader. Very cool for me. My name is Jarod Gorla and I am the owner of FlavorMonster.com. We are a small startup company that focuses only on a small flavor profile for E Liquids.
I was a smoker of six years having tried patches, gums, hypnosis, iPad apps, and nothing worked. Until one day one of my coworkers turned me on to the world of ecigarettes. I gave it a shot with an NJOY and blew right through the cartridge in about a day, which was a short term satisfaction for sure. The experience of not smoking was something I wanted for a long time and that first ecigarette gave me such a sense of accomplishment, that I could actually kick this thing, that I decided I wanted to expand my experience.
A friend of mine introduced me to vaporizers so I bought a small little ego tank and some 2.4nic tobacco flavored e-juice. At the time I thought it was amazing, two years later though, looking back, no way could I vape 2.4 straight tobacco flavor. Needless to say I honestly believe that vape products and the killer community that comes with it has added not only years, but many happy years to my life.
Fast forward to June of this year, I left my corporate gig, moved to the mountains, and started FlavorMonster. I decided I wanted to create a company that held to two strong philosophies. One being great stories. Quitting smoking, for all of us, has bought us the opportunity to get outside, enjoy the mountains or the beach or communities of people that smoking would never allow. We all have a great story, and thanks to vaporizers we have an opportunity to create even more great stories every day. Thats why all of our flavors have small stories attached to them that you can read on our website, and we are constantly looking to encourage our customers and friends to share their stories. Second, I wanted to create a product that was the type of product I would buy. A liquid that was premium, top notch, world class with amazing flavors, and cheap. I’m not in this to make millions of dollars, Im in this because I love the product and I love the people. So between my chemist and I, we were able to put out a product line that is both highly flavorful and extremely affordable.
SPINFUEL: That’s quite a story. What position(s) do you hold in the company itself?
As a startup I wear a lot of hats. And having come from a management background in a Fortune 500 company, my skillsets are honed for marketing and customer experience. The only hat I dont wear is that of the chemist. I was a chemistry major for one year in college, but I figured letting someone who knew how to produce great flavors, safely far better than I could was the best choice for my customers. But you’ll find my name in a lot of customer service related issues, as well as our marketing and advertising, and daily business operations.
SPINFUEL: So, was it your friends that urged you to go into the e-juice business? When was that?
It was friends from work that not only turned me on to the world of ecigarettes and vaporizers, but really supported and enhanced my journey. It started two years ago, and ultimately I see starting FlavorMonster as a way to give back to the people who helped me drastically and positively change the direction of my life.
SPINFUEL: When did you launch your company officially?
FlavorMonster officially launched in June of 2014. We are extremely young, very small, but love what we do and why we do it. And, not to be a broken record, but also having a large passion for our story and our customers stories, coupled with great products, has allowed us to enjoy a great customer and company experience in a very short period of time.
SPINFUEL: Where are you located?
We operate out of Cascade Colorado, which is a micro town at the base of Pikes Peak, just outside Colorado Springs. Colorado is a very young vapor community, but already very strong. So many amazing shops and people really putting Colorado on the map. If you ever get a chance to come to Colorado, let me know and I’ll happily recommend my favorite shops. Not to mention Colorado is such an active state, I get to ride mountain bikes, ATV’s, go hiking and camping, and meet all kinds of cool, active vapers. I love it out here!
SPINFUEL: You currently have 5 eliquid ‘flavors’. Did you launch with those 5?
Yes. We have the ability to produce up to a thousand flavors. And we considered for a very short period of time, like maybe a day, to launch with a massive flavor line. But we realized if we did that we would just be trying to compete from a business perspective, and not providing the experience or achieving our goal, which is to provide the best possible products that allow people to go out and share their story, or create new stories. So ultimately we decided we would launch our flavors slowly over time, and only after we had decided they were the best. We actually have two new flavors coming out in the next few weeks, and those were only added after many weeks of testing and pondering if these flavors were right for our customers and right for our vision.
SPINFUEL: Are your eliquids available in any retail vape shops? If so, how many shops carry your line?
Currently our flavors are only available online. We have been and will continue to work with some local shops. Ultimately I would love to be in shops for one reason and one reason only, vape shops are great places to experience community and tell your story. But we have been running into issues with shops wanting us to change who we are and what we do to fit their mold, which on a base level isn’t something I think is right for our customers. But we are still working with some local shops as well as online vendors to getting the FlavorMonster product in the hands of great people, and are always looking for shops who would be interested in helping share our stories.
SPINFUEL: Do you use a standard PG/VG ratio or does it change according to each specific blend?
Our standard PG/VG is 50/50, however we received a lot of feedback from the dripper community that they would like to see a 70/30 VG/PG line. We felt the feedback was great because it fit in with our vision. The dripper community, or as we all know them, cloud chasers, is a great community that has a lot of stories to tell, and experiences to share. And I am a fairly competitive guy so watching a community that competes with each other in a friendly way to get a bigger and bigger cloud was something I personally enjoy. So we decided to implement a dripper line which will be coming out soon. We expanded our bottles to 30mL and have been researching 70/30. When you increase the VG line it changes the flavor, so we had to be very diligent about meeting our customers demand without sacrificing flavor. However, we will continue to manufacture and sell a strong 50/50 line, because that was our foundation, and theres a lot of stories to be told from people who like 50/50 blends.
SPINFUEL: When you launched Flavor Monster how did you decide on your first 5 flavors?
Again, everything comes back to the story, and some of my best life stories have come when I was a kid, much like all of us. Some of my memories included sipping strawberry lemonade in the backyard of my 115 degree home in Arizona, going out to local coop’s and farmers markets with my family to buy peaches, baking brownies for long road trips, and drinking mass amounts of energy drinks when I would go camping or hiking or fishing. So we settled on those flavors because they had a story behind them and meant something to me personally. The new flavors we will be coming out with in the future will all have connections to little and big memories I have from growing up, or living on the beach for college, or my move to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I don’t like disclosing flavor ideas as a business practice, but I cant help but share this one. I am currently researching a S’Mores flavor because what was childhood without a great campfire and some chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker story? Plus the story featured on the Our Story page of our website references camp fires, so it just makes sense.
SPINFUEL: What would your “signature” flavor profile is? Do you lean more toward strong flavors or vapor production?
We lean more towards flavors. Before I started FlavorMonster I sampled a lot of flavors that were either extremely over powering, not quite enough, or just down right gross. Even now as an owner of FlavorMonster I vape a lot of other companies flavors because I want to see what other people are putting out into the community, see where FlavorMonster stacks up, and to support some local businesses who are in the trenches just like I am. Because of that I believe we have been able to really put out some killer flavors that are not overpowering, but have enough of a kick to it that you can really enjoy each flavor node. But like I said earlier, we are researching the cloud game and will be putting out a dripper line that doesn’t sacrifice flavor, but finds a way to include the cloud game. Clouds are great, and chasing them is fun to watch and do yourself, but no one wants to chase a massive cloud if it comes at the expense of vaping something that tastes gross. I’m really excited for our new dripper line!
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged?
Oh boy. Packaging. If we’re talking about the actual bottles, we use high quality plastics with CPC caps. Our new dripper line will have 30mL high quality glass bottles. One of our concerns of course, especially being a company that loves stories, is making sure our products stay only in the hands of those legally able to vape. Luckily since our flavors are named after scary monsters, we can make our labels look menacing such as Pandora’s Peach which features a skull and crossbones. So our bottles and labeling are done very well, and with very deliberate images and verbiage to ensure only legal vapers want and have access to our flavors. From a shipping perspective we really need to step up our game, which is something I personally am continually researching. Because we only charge $5.99 for 15mL of our liquids, we have to save money in other areas. I feel like packaging is an important aspect of a business because it is the first thing a customer sees, however not at the expense of gauging the customers wallet. So currently our shipping solutions are small bubble wrapped envelopes that I hand write addresses and thank you cards. Once I find a way to make a more aesthetic shipping package that doesn’t come at the cost of increasing my prices, you better believe we will go that direction. I finally found a cost effective, high quality label printer which will help dramatically, but the hand written thank you cards is something I don’t ever want to give up.
SPINFUEL: There is a lot of concern these days about how and where eLiquids are being made. Could you describe your ‘mixing’ facility?
Absolutely. This was a major concern of mine from the beginning. Before FlavorMonster I would mix my own flavors in my kitchen, and while I definitely enjoyed that process, I knew that it wasn’t the safest decision to be sending out to my customers. With the recent focus on AP and diacetyl, I have to make sure that ecigarette and vapor use is what it advertises itself to be, a safe alternative to quitting smoking. Thats why our facilities are a state of the art, Certified ISO 7 clean room, designed specifically to eliminate any possible contamination to our eliquids and the ingredients. We use high efficiency, particulate fans, with a positive pressure air flow producing over 40 air changes per hour, which maintains a contaminant free environment at all times. The ingredients we use are all USP Grade Kosher Propolyene Glycol, USP Grade Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, US sourced flavorings and Nic Select Brand 99.8% pure nicotine, and we are constantly testing our ingredients and final products to make sure that what we are vaping is exactly what we say it is, nothing but PG, VG, nicotine, and flavors.
My manufacturing team has been in the chemical manufacturing business for many many years, which is why I keep my nose out of that aspect of the business. The only thing I hound them with, and they would agree I can get a bit over zealous with this aspect of the business, is making sure we are not just trying to play catch up on new discoveries such as AP and diacetyl, but to make sure we are forward thinking and identifying potential future issues. But again, these guys and girls are world class! I’m very lucky to have them on the FlavorMonster team.
SPINFUEL: So you have a specific demographic for your eLiquids?
My demographic is small right now, which I like. I would like to expand this demographic in the future, but currently its men and women aged 25+ who like being active and outdoors, and creating and sharing their stories. Whether it be surfing, hiking, spending time with friends camping, whatever it is that is fun and encourages stories and a sense of community. I have found that we are in a very unique phase in the ecigarette and vapor life cycle as an industry and I have run into a lot of people who aren’t necessarily supportive of other vapers who dont think the way they do. And it generates a lot of drama and hate. I think we all have seen videos and social media messages showcasing people within the industry going at each other rather than supporting each other. We also see a lot of vendors and companies who are in it just for the cash. And if thats their goal, more power to em. Personally I want to stick to my demographic of people who are more interested in discovering and sharing all the new cool things that vaping allows them to do, and avoid everything else.
SPINFUEL: What types of hardware do you use when testing your liquids? Is there any specific hardware that provides the best ‘vape’ for your eLiquids?
Personally I use a box mod with a Kangertech tank. I have a dripper (and yes it is authentic) which I use when I’m sitting at home watching cloud videos on Youtube or Facebook, and I want to feel cool. But my cloud game is weak to be honest. My favorite video’s to watch are Robert Green’s videos. He posts in a lot of different Facebook groups, and I drip when I watch his videos because it makes me feel like I’m just kicking it with a friend, enjoying conversation and clouds. I personally like the tanks though because it allows me to stay active and I can vape on them for extended periods of time while I’m out bombing mountains on a mountain bike, or riding ATV’s, or whatever it is I feel like doing that day.
I also test with other vapers. We run reddit campaigns or giveaways, I attend a lot of vape meets and small shows giving out samples to get honest feedback, as well as my friends input is highly valuable. We also send to a lot of small time reviewers. I like the small reviewers like @Ace_Vapors, @VapeLadies, @ChooChooVapes, and Peter Kemeny because they are always honest, and they have their story to share. I like supporting that. Plus having a wide variety of reviews allows me to get a broader perspective on the quality of the product I am putting out. We actually had seven flavors when we launched which include a tobacco and a menthol. They are great flavors and you can still purchase our remaining inventory, but the feedback has been 80% good and 20% indifferent. So we choose not to advertise that flavor.
SPINFUEL: Which eliquid in your line up is the most popular right now?
Sagari Serenade is our top seller, with Pandora’s Peach and Khalkotauroi Red Bull a close second. Sagari Serenade is our Strawberry Lemonade and we get amazing feedback from online reviewers, friends, and people who have purchased this flavor. I could go on for a while about how great this flavor is, especially since you can really get a solid taste on both the strawberry and the lemonade nodes, but I own FlavorMonster so of course I like it. When customers write me or post a review on our website about how much they like our flavors, thats when I know FlavorMonster is doing it right.
SPINFUEL: In your opinion, what makes a good eLiquid? Additionally, what makes a good all-day-vape in your opinion?
A good eliquid is not too strong, not to weak, and tastes as it advertises. One time I bought a hazelnut flavor and it tasted like peppery wood. It was gross. And I think a lot of times vendors will put a name on a flavor because the name is cool and not so much what the flavor tastes like. So a good flavor is one that gives you what it says. If I buy a Kahlua Brownie, I want a Kahlua Brownie flavor that doesnt punch me in the face, but has enough kick to it that the people around me can even smell the chocolate. A good all day vape is a vape I can use that does its job in terms of flavor nodes, but doesnt make me sit around and think about it all day. I have things to do like running a business and getting out doors, talking with customers or enjoying a good movie. The last thing I want is to be thinking about whether or not this Strawberry tastes like strawberry, or if the nicotine levels are too high, or if the VG/PG levels are just right. There is a time and a place for that, absolutely. But my all day vapes are for when Im out and about and need to be focused on other things, while still enjoying my passion for vaping.
SPINFUEL: Looking forward, how quickly will you introduce additional eliquids to your lineup?
On paper the plan is to release two new flavors every 2-4 months. We want to be deliberate with the products we put out, and make sure we aren’t just rushing products to market just to make a couple bucks. We started with five flavors, will be launching two new flavors in October, and are already beginning the preliminary research phase for two more flavors to come out in late December or early January.
SPINFUEL: Can you tell us anything about the next flavor to launch?
I won’t share the exact flavor profile’s as we are very excited because we will be launching it in coordination with Vapor Dynasty Expo that we are attending. VDE is our first big expo, and since I was born and raised in Arizona, I want to give back to that community with a special flavor launch. And subsequently we are in a big show in Denver Colorado, my new home, and am really excited to bring these new flavors to such a great, supportive, growing community. And again, since Im really into stories I want to be able to share that story with these communities first. However I will tell you, a lot of our demand is to stick with mixed flavors such as Strawberry Lemonade, Kahlua Brownie, etc. But I also personally enjoy stand alone flavors such as Peach. So our new flavor line will feature a mixed flavor, and a stand alone flavor. And both of them will have great stories that we will share with each new flavor.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
I just want to say thank you. It was people like those reading this review that introduced me to ecigarettes and vaporizers. It was people like you who supported me while I began my vaping adventure in life. And it has been these same people who are supporting me in the FlavorMonster business adventure. Without you I wouldn’t have a story to share. So my focus will be to continually share my stories, give a venue for you to share your story, and to provide top of the line flavors at very affordable prices. One last little plug, one feature of FlavorMonster we are starting to include on our website and social media is gathering our customers stories. So if you’re reading this and you have a great story to tell, send it our way either by emailing me [email protected], via facebook at facebook.com/FlavorMonster, or on twitter @FlavorMonster, and we would love to feature it on our website and help you share it with the vaping community.
SPINFUEL: I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today.
Absolutely! I’m extremely grateful and excited to be able to participate in the Spinfuel team and share the FlavorMonster story. The gratitude is all mine!