High-end vaping is not new, though it hasn’t yet reached mainstream status among Vapers in the US. Not all hardware comes from China either. There are several companies in Europe that are creating some of the most elegant, yet functional and extremely high quality (we hope) e-cigarettes, atomizers, and accessories in the world. Vape Revolution, a California company, is working diligently to bring some of that beautiful craftsmanship and artistry to the US shores. So far they have been magnificently successful in not only bringing over incredible pieces of hardware, including one of a kind Otto Carter engraved Mech-mods, but in delivering customer service to new heights. Julia Hartley-Barnes recently worked with VapeRev’s Celina Tompkins to bring together this fascinating interview. You’ll learn much about Vape Revolution and the VapeRev philosophy, and why they’ve become the de facto leader in the high-end vaping business. Always, your comments are welcome. – Spinfuel Staff
SPINFUEL: First, let me say how wonderful it is to be able to introduce Vape Revolution to our readers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve browsed your website looking at all the wonderfully designed mods you have. How did Vape Revolution go from an idea to reality, and how did that idea come about? (The VapeRev Online Store)
VAPEREV: Thank you very much. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to speak with Spinfuel and your readers! To answer your questions, the idea of Vape Revolution was built upon one man’s success, success in living smoke free after choosing to try vaping. The idea becoming a reality was a result of vaping success stories snowballing, so many people vape now. A year ago vaping wasn’t as popular, but our belief in this business was undeniable. The small team who originally opened VapeRev, really believed in the possibilities. A year later, those possibilities are our reality and this industry is continuing to grow.
SPINFUEL: The first video I watched on VapeRev showed how your staff meets with your potential customers and, well, to be honest, does an ‘intake’ interview with them in order to determine what type of products, and even, it seems, what kind of e-Liquids that person would find most agreeable. Am I wrong to think of Vape Revolution, at least the brick and mortal operation, to be a concierge service for Vapers?
VAPEREV: We do strive to provide individualized service, so considering Vape Revolution to be a concierge service for Vapers is understandable. We get to know our guests, and a little about their needs, before guiding them through their options because we want each experience to be as efficient and positive as possible.
SPINFUEL: Who is your typical customer? Are they smokers looking to quit, or are they Vapers looking to step up to the next level?
VAPEREV: Our clientele is a combination of both, along with a lot more. The vaping community is very diverse, and each person has different needs; defining a typical customer is something easier said than done. The guest service we provide allows us to determine each diverse need so we can offer our guests the answers, options, and experiences they’re looking for.
SPINFUEL: Can you tell us a little about the process works? We learn a lot from the video, but perhaps there are some things you would like to emphasis.
VAPEREV: The video does a great job at showing exactly what Vape Revolution is all about. Our dedicated approach with each individual experience is, without a doubt, our first priority.
SPINFUEL: In the introduction video it appears that your staff will teach customers how to rebuild atomizers. What else can your customers learn at VapeRev?
VAPEREV: Everything we know, we offer to our guests. Whether someone wants to learn the difference between a cartomizer and an atomizer, needs to learn how to fill a carto-tank, decides to buy a rebuildable, or wants to know it all – we’re here to help! We want our guests to feel comfortable enough in our care, to ask questions and gain answers. We want our guests to leave VapeRev with the knowledge they need to be successful Vapers.
SPINFUEL: Most of the products I’ve seen on vaperev.com fit the description of “modern elegance” perfectly. When did you realize that the US vape community was ready to accept these types of mods on a mainstream level? Let’s face it some of the mods on shop.vaperev dwarf the cost of a ProVari. Yet, I’ve already created my own wish list for your mods and I think the number is up to 5 now. So, surely, “modern elegance meets vaping” is happening and there is a market for it.
VAPEREV: The U.S. accepting more elegant mods wasn’t the concern; it was mainstream America not knowing these kinds of mods were available, that was limiting the growth of the industry in the states. Most of the devices and rebuildables we carry aren’t made in the United States; they’re made in various countries throughout Europe and Asia. It was just a matter of exposing those quality mods to the consumers here.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about Otto Carter a bit. I’ve been a huge fan of Otto Carter for a few years now after photographing some intricate engraving for a client. When I noticed that you sell mods engraved by the artist I was thrilled, and a bit surprised. Do you have an on-going relationship with Carter? If so, how in the world did you interest him in engraving mechanical mods? Is he a Vaper himself or did he just enjoy the work?
VAPEREV: Glad you asked; we’re honored to have the relationship we do with Otto Carter. Although he doesn’t vape, he found appeal in working with VapeRev; he’s mastered the art of engraving by hand, but these devices are a different canvas for him. We believe that Otto is just as pleased as we are by the completed pieces of art that, together, we’re able to offer the vaping community.
SPINFUEL: One of the most interesting videos on vaperev.com is the mini-doc on Otto Carter. He is obviously engraving mods in the film, was the video created and produced by VapeRev?
VAPEREV: Yes it was. Otto was kind enough to welcome VapeRev into his home, and it was an amazing experience. We are grateful that Otto allowed us to share his amazing skill with the world.
SPINFUEL: How many mods a year will Otto Carter deliver to VapeRev? Is there a waiting list for his mods? If so, what is the wait time now?
VAPEREV: There isn’t a waiting list. We actually have Otto Carter engraved mods available on our web-store, shop.vaperev.com, right now. As for how many, it’s hard to pinpoint what we expect to receive from Otto. We ask for different levels of detail, so some devices take longer than others to produce, and we’re okay with that. We appreciate the custom craftsmanship, and will gladly represent whatever we have the opportunity to.
SPINFUEL: Many of the companies you work with, Atmizone, Atmomixani, J Creations, Team Rampage, and even Doc Dave are names that are practically unknown to most Vapers, yet the hardware they create are an incredible balance of art and function. What is it about these companies that appeal to VapeRev?
VAPEREV: Well, the balance of art and function you mentioned is certainly one aspect, but we assess every aspect of the devices and rebuildables we consider. We enjoy offering products we believe in, products we buy and use ourselves.
SPINFUEL: Reading your interview with Doc Dave was a lot of fun. When he mentioned being the proud owner of a Caravela my jaw dropped. I’ve been searching for one (in mint condition) for a year now. After seeing the mods on shop.vaperev I knew that mods like the Caravela are not lost to us, they exist in a different form now and VapeRev sells them. What do you think it is that makes some people, including me, willing to spend whatever it takes for something so basic, yet so beautiful?
VAPEREV: In the case of the Caravela, it’s a mod that is really, really limited. Think about the releases for Jordans. We’re talking shoes. Yet people will wait, and spend money, to have what other people don’t. It’s our desire to have the best of the best, or the nicest this, or the most expensive that. We’re all guilty of liking, and desiring nice things. E-cigs are no exception.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk e-Liquids for a bit. One of the brands on shop.vaperev we’ve reviewed, and loved, The Plume Room, but the others we’ve not yet had the opportunity. How do you pick and choose which brands you will carry? Can you tell us which one is the most popular among your customers right now?
VAPEREV: The Plume Room does have a great variety of flavors. We select our vendors and the juices we carry, very carefully, and as a team. We don’t just have one person, or palate, sampling the future flavors; we have a diverse group, with different palates, discussing the flavors and making decisions.
SPINFUEL: Mr. Good Vape seems to be available only on shop.vaperev; do you have other exclusive arrangements with other brands?
VAPEREV: We do. We have exclusive arrangements with many of the other vendors we represent. Some vendors we carry exclusively, and some, we have the opportunity to be the exclusive distributors for.
SPINFUEL: Your staff works with customers to find their “flavor profile” by asking them questions about what they like and don’t like about certain food groups and flavors, but also through vaping eJuice right there at the counter. Have you found that this is an effective way to help the customer determine what types of flavors they are most apt to enjoy?
VAPEREV: Absolutely. Many of us, when we began vaping, couldn’t sample flavors before buying them. We ordered online, and after the money had been spent, we realized the flavor wasn’t something we enjoyed. Since day one, Vape Revolution has encouraged sampling flavors before purchasing because we want our guests to enjoy vaping. If the flavor isn’t appealing, vaping is less likely to be desirable.
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SPINFUEL: Spinfuel recently published a piece on steeping eJuice, and how nearly all eJuice purchased straight from the eLiquid vendor benefit from a week or so of steeping. That said, I imagine the eJuice sold in-store or web-store is in stock at VapeRev, therefore no steeping is really required because they’ve been steeping for a while in your stockroom. First, am I correct in this assumption and second, how long will VapeRev keep eLiquid on hand before discarding it?
VAPEREV: The liquid we have on hand, yes, is steeping while being stored. So when purchased, our flavors are ready to vape! Since we carry an extensive list of flavors, we have someone dedicated to managing our juice inventory and he does a great job at placing precise orders. This alleviates the concern of juices over steeping because our juices are ordered according to their demand on a regular basis.
SPINFUEL: Getting back to hardware, with all the sophisticated electronics going into APV’s these days, why do you think there is still a lot of demand for purely mechanical mods?
VAPEREV: With the interest in rebuildable atomizers increasing, mechanical mods easily maintain their popularity. Electronic devices with built in protection don’t allow the user to run low resistance coils, which seems to be what’s desired right now. Mechanical mods are also very simplistic in appeal. They look sharp, and aesthetics definitely play a part in the appeal of a mod. There are plenty of factors to consider when comparing the way different devices are received, but rebuildable atomizers pair best with mechanical mods.
SPINFUEL: It’s common to hear that the vast majority of hardware comes from China, and it is certainly true. But, there are other countries, especially in Europe, that are producing some wonderful mods and RBA’s. Why does it seem to be so difficult for these European companies to gain a foothold here? Is it all about cost?
VAPEREV: Actually those companies do have a foothold here. When we receive products from our European vendors, we typically sell out the same day we release something. Companies like Atmomixani and SvoëMesto have done a great job at producing well-made, quality products; products that are simple for the consumer to understand and enjoy using. Their products are definitely desired; we don’t see anything preventing the products from being successful in the states.
SPINFUEL: VapeRev certainly isn’t restricted to selling only super-high-end mechanical mods. You also stock JoyeTech and Innokin products. Are there plans to expand your line of Chinese APV and RBA’s?
VAPEREV: The products we carry define the business we are. We understand the desire for Chinese products, but we take pride in offering the vape community other options from other vendors. We intend to continue representing products that we believe in, and products that are beneficial to the growth of this industry.
SPINFUEL: Talking about RBA’s, your online store offers some the most unique atomizers I’ve ever seen. Yet, I didn’t see any RBA’s I’m familiar with. Is there a reason you don’t stock Chinese RBA’s such as the RSST, or AGA line, etc.?
VAPEREV: There are plenty of stores that carry the products you’re referencing. We work to represent those products that can’t be attained as easily as others. We want nothing more than the industry to continue growing; however, without originality, there’s little room for growth. So we provide vendors with a platform to present their original products to the vaping community, and represent those products to the best of our ability.
SPINFUEL: Can you tell us about the Rev tanks? They are obviously popular with your customers; do you expect to have more in stock soon?
VAPEREV: The Rev tanks were designed by Vape Revolution and are produced locally in Southern California. The caps are created and the glass is cut locally too, but for now, VapeRev is the only place to purchase them. They’ll be back in stock soon!
SPINFUEL: One of many mechanical mods that really caught my eye was the collaborative effort between VapeRev and Atmomixani, the Nemesis VapeRev Edition. Are you currently collaborating with other companies or plan to in the future? The one device that I wanted to purchase on the spot happened to be the one your company helped design, so clearly VapeRev is keen to what American Vapers are looking for in a mod.
VAPEREV: Thank you, we are extremely pleased with the VapeRev Edition Nemesis. It’s an honor to see VapeRev on a device designed and produced by Atmomixani. We’re continuously collaborating though, so we look forward to the future and what’s to come while working with the others in this community.
SPINFUEL: Wrapping things up, VapeRev has been in business for over a year now. Can you share with us any immediate plans you may have, or any long term plans? Do you have plans to expand?
VAPEREV: We do have plans to expand, and we will be soon! Our next VapeRev location will be in the Los Angeles area, and we’re very excited to see our second spot starting to come together!
SPINFUEL: It has been a real pleasure to find out more about Vaperev and the products you carry. Thank you for speaking with me. All of us at Spinfuel are thrilled to have you here. – Julia Hartley-Barnes
VAPEREV: Thank you Julia!!