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Sam Greene Sits Down With Julia Hartley-Barnes to Talk eLiquids
SPINFUEL: The Vapeothecary is an unusual name for an eLiquid brand. How did you come up with it?
I have always been into the Wild West. You know, that time at the turn of the 20th century when many things were changing. One feature of this environment that always interested me was the Apothecary which we might know as a Pharmacy today. Basically, Apothecaries gave out medicine to people and traveled around selling their wares. So when I decided to launch my own juice company, it just felt natural to call it the Vapeothecary.
SPINFUEL: When and why did your company decide to get into the ecig hardware and e-juice business?
We launched in March of 2014. I was in the DIY scene for a while before that and people kept telling me I should sell my creations. Finally I listened and here we are!
SPINFUEL: How did you learn to make eLiquids? Did it take long to master the art of mixing? At what point did you decide to go “pro”?
I slowly got into DIY mixing myself. It took me about 3 months to get my first flavor that I was proud of. It is a constant challenge(which I love) to get the ratios of flavors right. One of our goals at The Vapeothecary is to provide our customers with unique flavors and we spend a TON of time to ensure we are not just another juice company offering boring blends!
SPINFUEL: Speaking of going ‘pro’, was it a particular flavor, or group of flavors, that you believed were the catalyst for going pro? Was there a particular flavor, or recipe, or group of flavors, where you said to yourself “We need to offer these to the public”?
Cold Snap was the flavor that people kept raving about. It is a nice, mild tobacco flavor with a dash of menthol. Everyone I gave it to loved it so I decided to try more!
SPINFUEL: Do each of you have your own ‘favorite’ flavor? What is your favorite category of eLiquids for your personal vaping? Fruity, Sweet, Tobacco, other?
I love fruity flavors. Currently my favorite flavor is Fizzle Pop. It is a nice blackberry base with a touch of watermelon and a dash of milk chocolate!
SPINFUEL: After a hard day’s work, what type of eJuice do you reach for?
I usually reach for Fizzle Pop or Cold Snap. Love me some fruity goodness and smooth tobacco after a long day of juice making.
SPINFUEL: What is your idea of a good ‘all-day’ vape?
A good ADV has to be WELL balanced. Too many companies make flavors that just punch you in the face, which is great for a few puffs, but can get overwhelming after a while. In my opinion, for a juice to have ADV potential, it should be a flavorful, but balanced. The vaper should be able to taste each flavor in the description and not feel overwhelmed after a few draws.
SPINFUEL: How often do you vape? Or rather, ‘how many hours per day are you vaping?
I am a chain vaper. I vape from the moment I wake up, ’til I hit the sack after the day is over.
SPINFUEL: What is your favorite vaping hardware?
Currently, I love my Silver Bullet mod from Altsmoke with a Patriot atomizer!
SPINFUEL: Cartomizer, RBA, Clearomizer/Glassomizer? Which is your favorite, and is your eLiquids created with any particular one in mind?
RBA is hands down my favorite way to vape. I feel tanks and cartos really dull the flavor of a juice. While most of my juices are desinged to be vaped out of an atomizer, they all perform well in a tank!
SPINFUEL: Can you briefly tell us a little about your non-eJuice background?
I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I finished my B.A. in History and Philosophy in 2008, M.A. in History in 2011 and am currently working on m y PhD in Political Economy which I should finish by 2015.
SPINFUEL: Do you “Steep” your eLiquids before they are shipped to customers? If so, how long, on average, does it take to steep?
Yes, I use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to steep each bottle. This machine heats up the water to 149F and shoots ultrasonic pulses through the water that steeps the flavors very quickly. I recommend this machine for anyone who orders from companies that don’t pre-steep!
SPINFUEL: How is your eLiquids packaged? What sizes do you offer?
I currently offer 15, 30, 60 and 120ml bottles.
SPINFUEL: When working on a new flavor: How long does it take to go from an idea to the final product, on average?
I would say from a flavor takes 3-5 months to go from idea in my head toi bottles int he hands of vapers. USually, I work on it for a few weeks, then send it out to my testers. After that, I review their notes, make changes and send the next round back to them. I do this until ALL testers sign off on the flavor.
SPINFUEL: Are you concerned with the FDA proposals now that they’ve been announced? Not necessarily for your company but for vaping in general?
Yes. These regulations are a prime example of government overreach. I am more worried about Vaping as a thing than my company specifically. I personally know hundreds of people who have been helped by e-cigs. The thing the regulators don’t get is, this is what goes away if these regulations go through. It is not just products that they claim to be dangerous(which is BS) but real people, with real families and real struggles that had their lives changed for the better by e-cigs.
SPINFUEL: How many flavors do you offer today?
I currently offer 10 flavors, but am working on a new 5-flavor line!
SPINFUEL: Why should our readers buy their e-Juice from you?
Well, I am passionate about my juice and obsess over the ingredients. I could charge a lot more, like many companies do, but I want people to be able to AFFORD my juice which is why I charge much less than many companies who offer “premium juice”
SPINFUEL: Do you have more than one person mixing eLiquids?
Nope. Just me!