Vaping to Save the Tatas!
An interview with the creators of Juggz Juice, Jana Whetzal & Steve Johnson
By David Desrosiers
As a society we are all aware of how devastating breast cancer is. The ubiquitous pink ribbon symbolizing the all out war we have waged against it is everywhere from our television screens, outdoor ads public service announcements, charity walk/runs and major league sporting events.
Well, there’s an amazing new way that we as good, kind hearted human beings and vapers can join this noble fight!
In my hometown, Phoenix, there are some people creating a viable business model in the vaping industry that is geared towards giving back to the community at large. I sat down with Jana Whetzal and Steve Johnson of Juggz Juice to learn more about this innovative and forward thinking idea.
Spinfuel: Jana, tell us a little about you. Where you’re from and about your journey from smoker to vaper and how you came to be in Arizona
Jana Whetzal: I’m originally from South Dakota, I’m a mom of four and I came to Arizona because of Steve (Johnson). I quit smoking in June of 2012 with the help of my best friend, Amy she was introduced to vaping and then when she came out in July of 2012 she brought her rigs and everything out with her and introduced me to it. That’s when I quit smoking. I hooked up with Steve and started the network Vaprfix with Will Fuson and ran that for quite some time and then I started kind of talking to Steve about doing a charity or a benefit line (of juice) and came down in December of 2013 and made that (Juggz Juice) and now we’ve launched that.
Spinfuel: How long have you been an e-liquid mixologist and what drew you to the art?
Jana: I kind of started dabbling in January of 2013 just putting stuff together at home and a little playing. I really didn’t get real serious until I met with Steve in March and we got to talking about it and ordering flavorings. When I came down in December we sat down. Juggz is really a collaboration. I didn’t solely mix all of the Juggz, there were about nine of us involved that sat down and worked on each of the flavors and got them where they really needed to be and where we felt they were perfect.
Spinfuel: What is it to you that sets Juggz Juice apart from other juice lines that are out there?
Jana: I think that as all of the press comes out, all of this negative press that comes out around vaping is surrounding our community, we as a community have to come together and give back and show that we really do believe that this is going to change the world in so many different aspects and Juggz is just the beginning of us as a community being able to give back.
Steve Johnson: Juggz, I think goes a long way to, you know, you get a lot of the antis out there saying ‘oh, well, they’re marketing to kids’ and ‘they’re trying to addict non smokers’, they’re trying to do all these terrible things and it like no, we’re men and women earning a living doing something that we love, something that has saved both our lives and look, we have this opportunity now to give back and make a difference in other peoples’ lives. Not only through introducing them to vaping and spreading that culture, making vaping better and getting better flavors, but we can take a portion of what we’re doing and give that back to a charity that a lot of people have experience with. Breast cancer is a huge, huge problem in this country and anything we can do to help negate that is just a bonus on top.
Spinfuel: Is this your first juice line that you have created for charitable purposes?
Jana: Yes, this is my first introduction, not into the community, but into the vendor end of the community, yes.
Spinfuel: With all the charitable and good causes that are out there right now, was breast cancer chosen for any specific reason? Is there a personal connection to you?
Jana: Before I hooked up with Steve, that doesn’t sound right. (laughter) Before Steve approached me with this and asked me what it was that I wanted to do with this, I was a home health nurse in South Dakota. My Aunt came down when I was 22 to live with my mother because she was suffering from metastatic bone cancer that originated in breast cancer, my dad’s wife was diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer and I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. So, you know all of it is related and if I can do one thing to just make a difference that is what is really important.
Spinfuel: So, you’ve just launched the Juggz Juice line. How is it being received and what are your plans for Juggz Juice going forward?
Jana: We have had an amazing reception! I mean, just, everybody has found one or two flavors at least that they love. I think that over time we would just like to continue to see it grow so that we can give more and more back. As far as Juggz is concerned, even without selling a huge number of bottles I think that we have accomplished something amazing in being able to introduce this and get it rolling.
Steve: I really kind of hope that with Juggz we’ll be able to set a bar and set a precedent out there and to show some of the industry, not to rip on other companies, you know, show the industry as a whole that there is some more positive that can come out of this and that this is viable as a business model. This is something that people can do and if you’re out there as a vendor and you’ve got something that’s touched you in a way like with breast cancer has with Jana, there’s something you can do about it. There’s ways that you as a vendor can create a positive force and a positive motion to give back and I hope that we can set a bar out there.
Jana: In the community I would love to see fifty different benefit lines, you know, whether it’s ours or somebody else’s. I would love to see these benefit lines all over the country to give back, all of these different things that are so personal to so many people.
Spinfuel: Do you see perhaps other lines for good, charitable causes being released?
Jana: We do! A lot more lines will be introduced over the next six months or so. We have two more that are on tap right now, so, they are on their way.
Steve: A lot of my purpose and my goal in this is to develop kind of a framework where, you know, Jana, was not an industry insider, she hasn’t been in this business for years, she’s been involved in the community for a long time and she’s got a great passion, but to be able to take that passion and that drive and that ability to work and put together great flavors. There’s a lot of DIY guys for instance, that make great flavors, but they have no clue where to take that next step into a commercial line, so we’re trying to build a framework so that we can work with other people and say, hey, you’ve got eight flavors that you make as a DIY guy, you’ve got them themed, you’ve got them put together so they are commercially viable, but you don’t have thirty grand to put a lab together and do this properly. You don’t want to make juice in your mom’s basement, so, this is where we are at. We have this framework and we can plug them into that framework and step them through that process.
Jana: Their lines remain still theirs, they do whatever it is they want to do with that particular line. We have the marketing contacts and the facilities to take it to a commercial level.
Spinfuel: What would you like to tell our readers about that we haven’t touched on here?
Steve: Just a couple details about the Juggz line. We’ve got six flavors and folks can take a peek at them at www.juggzjuice.com. We’re building on our brick and mortar partners throughout the Southwest and hopefully stretching throughout the country. By the time this publishes we should have them available for sale online. There will be a link on juggzjuice.com, we’re selecting some online partners right now. We’re not going sell it retail ourselves, we just want to focus on the juice and the wholesale aspect. However, all of our contact information is there. We have six I think really good flavors and we’ve had really good feedback on them. We’ve got some really cool bottles. They’re a 35 ml. bottle, so you’re getting a little bonus in there. We’re just really excited to see the line come out and see how it’s received in the community. So far it’s been amazing.
Spinfuel: Anything else, Jana?
Jana: If there’s something that people order and they really love it, get in touch with us and if it’s something they want near them, get in touch with us and we can work on that.
Readers who are interested in the Juggz Juice line can find them at www.juggzjuice.com
Coming next week: The full review of the entire Juggz Juice line. So, stay tuned Spinfuelers!