Subscription eLiquid service
You know, one of my favorite things about vaping also happens to be one of my greatest sources of anxiety and even a little trepidation. The thrill of a new eLiquid combined with the uncertainty, “But will I like it?” Is there anything more wasteful in a Vaper’s life then tossing eLiquid in the trash? Is there anything more disappointing?
I like to think that I’ve got a pretty good hype detector when it comes to reading advertising copy; I’ve been in the business myself, and as a guy who makes it his business to know just the right words to use to sell a product, I recognize those words when other guys and gals use them.
But I’m not always spot-on; sometimes what I dismiss as hype turns out to be 100% genuinely earned praise. Sometimes what I think is genuine homespun admiration turns out to be hype of an unusually slick and subtle variety.
Every now and then, I find myself wanting a second opinion on an eLiquid; and sometimes I’d like to be turned on to an eLiquid that fits the flavors I like best but that, somehow, has slipped entirely under my radar. It’s that nagging feeling which I think all of us get from time to time: that our all day vape isn’t waiting to be made but, rather, that it’s out there and we just haven’t heard of it yet.
This has led to the emergence of services designed to help Vapers discover new, and sometimes ‘-favorite’ eLiquids among the vast array of offerings that have radically expanded the eLiquid market, particularly in the last few years. We’re going to tell you about one such service today: Craft Vapery. We’ll start with a quick overview of the company, what they offer, and whether or not we think they may be something you’re looking for.
Craft Vapery operates out of sunny Los Angeles, California. The company was created by a group of professionals, finance guys, ad guys, industry vets, and ‘rockers and rollers’, who share a common passion for Vaping. Frustrated by the confusion of finding good products among the millions of choices, they formed Craft Vapery in order to help others make sense of the massive choices presented every day. Their aim is to cut through the noise of the marketplace and zero in on the finest products and deliver them to you. For a price.
What they offer is a “curated” (their word, and they use it often) eLiquid subscription service that is tailored to members’ nicotine and flavor preferences. The member selects the desired nicotine strength for his or her eLiquid subscription, then selects from various flavor categories in order to narrow down the products they will receive as a member of Craft Vapery.
For example, as a member I personally would select 18mg strength, and the following flavor categories: Leaf Tobacco, Pipe Tobacco, Cigarette Tobacco, Baked Goods, and Chocolate & Vanilla. But here is where we begin to run into some of the area where my skepticism kicks in. And I’ll admit that it took me some reflection before that happened, because at first blush, this really does seem to be an exciting idea.
But the skepticism did kick in when I shared my initial excitement and then a few things I had almost overlooked became more apparent to me:
The subscription for the service costs $40 per month, and what that gets you is 3 15ml bottles of eLiquid and free shipping. Now as was pointed out to me, 45ml of eLiquid for $40 works out to approximately $0.88/ml, or $13.34 for each 15ml bottle. That isn’t exactly cost-effective.
Then consider what happens if you regularly get eLiquids that ‘may’ be of the type of flavor you like, but which, in specific, you don’t care for. Those eLiquids end up gifted or binned, each time at a cost of a modest meal.
That consideration alone tempered my initial enthusiasm; and I hope you’re not getting the wrong idea, at this point, that I’m giving a negative review of something I haven’t tried yet. This isn’t intended to be a review, or even a proper preview, Gentle Reader; this is simply an airing of Things I’m Going To Watch Out For.
Because I do see a very small but very intense niche for exactly this type of service: I see services like this one as being in a nearly identical vein to “Whiskey Of The Month” or “Cheese Of The Month” clubs; suited, perhaps, for gifting to the just-turned-ex-smoker on your gift list.
I suspect the service will succeed, or not, based on the number of ‘members’ that want to spend $40 a month to explore what’s out there in the way of eLiquids. Having said that, my hope is that the eLiquids I receive during my trial period will not be brands I already use, but rather brands I’ve never heard of, or have heard of and just haven’t had the time to try. That’s where the value of such a niche service comes from, it certainly isn’t an affordable way to purchase my full month’s supply of eJuice.
The logistics alone of servicing hundreds, or even thousands, of members each month, all having different preferences in flavor and nicotine, I predict will be a nightmare. I believe they know that, and it’s the main reason they are limiting the first batch of members to 300 individuals.
The fact of the matter is that I simply can’t give this a proper review until I’ve tried it; and so that’s just what I’m going to do. I’ll give this service one month, which will include a single shipment, to either impress me, leave me wanting, or come in somewhere in the middle — and then I’ll report back to you what I discover. If I decide to keep the membership then it will be imperative for me to report back to you every 3 to 4 months to let you know how they’re doing, and how often they ‘curate’ good eLiquids, and how many I’ve had to gift away to other Vapers, or toss in the trash.
Over the course of the one month ‘Trial’ I will take notice of the initial vendors that are participating, with the understanding that vendors will undoubtedly come and go, how closely they match the preferences I will provide, the age and freshness of the eLiquids I receive, the packaging of said eLiquids, and finally whether or not any or all of the three bottles will score a position in my rotation.
Are subscription services a viable business model for the eLiquid marketplace? Is it a fad, something ‘new’, something ‘bold’, that will generate a lot of interest initially and continue to grow, or will it fade away? Can these new subscription-based companies keep it fresh, exciting, and affordable? Only time will tell, and next month I’ll give you my first glimpse into the service.
What do you think about subscription services like Craft Vapery? Would you subscribe? What would you expect from such a service? What would it take for you to become a long-term member? Share your thoughts with our readers by using the comment box below.