"I had been a smoker of Marlboro Reds for 35 years ..." ~ Bill Branum
The Story of eCigPros
Back in 2008, I was smoking Marlboro Reds – an average of one-and-a-half packs a day. And I’d been doing it for 35 years. Like most long-time smokers, I’d tried to quit many times – but never successfully. I tried just about every method you can think of: patches, pills, gum, hypnotism, etc. over the course of many years. A quote attributed to Mark Twain pretty much sums up my efforts: “Quitting smoking is easy – I’ve done it hundreds of times.”
Nothing worked until I used electronic cigarettes.
When I heard about the electronic cigarette, I immediately wanted to try it. I did some research on the Internet and decided which model to buy based on Customer reviews. So I went to several Websites, initially to compare prices, but soon realized that EVERYONE was OUT OF STOCK of the one I wanted. They had others, but not that one. Then it became an issue of where to find it. I went to over a dozen USA based Websites and they were all out of stock! I finally located a "highly respected" UK based Website that had them in stock and placed an order.
Then ... I waited two weeks for it to arrive.
Upon arrival, I was extremely pleased. It was my first experience with an electronic cigarette and I couldn’t believe how much like smoking a regular cigarette it was. I was now able to smoke in most of the forbidden places! I placed an order with the same UK company for additional batteries, atomizers, and cartridges. All told I spent about $600 on this first venture into the world of electronic cigarettes.
In fact, I was so pleased with the experience of smoking electronic cigarettes that I corresponded with the owner of the UK brand about US distribution rights for his brand name. I made a six figure (yes, without decimal points) offer for exclusive US distribution rights. This offer was declined, so I inquired about non-exclusive distribution rights. The reply was they didn’t have a program set up for that but maybe something could be worked out. That didn’t sound very promising, so…..
So, I thought why not just go straight to the source and buy direct from the manufacturer? Sound good, right? WRONG!
Thus began a long journey. Over several months, I ordered over a hundred samples from dozens of vendors in China (ALL eCigs come from China). By the way, ordering individual samples from China, directly from the supposed manufacturer, is not a cheap proposition. The cost of the shipping exceeds the cost of the sample, and then add in wire transfer fees, as that is the only payment method accepted by most. It was quite an educational journey, to say the least, not to mention the several thousand dollars now invested in samples.
Anyway, as the samples began arriving, I began a test marketing phase concurrently. I went out into public venues where smoking is not allowed and openly "smoked" my electronic cigarettes. What an eye opener! My initial samples were designed to look like conventional cigarettes…brown cartridge, white atomizer/body, orange LED. The disapproval from non-smokers was instantaneous! Even though they couldn’t smell the “smoke”, just the very idea that I would “smoke” in their non-smoking environments was enough to light a fire. I was constantly being harassed and regularly having to explain the concept of electronic cigarettes. It was at this point that I realized the electronic cigarette needs to look “a little different”.
Also during this time of market research and sample trials, I happened across one that was the same model as my original that “smoked” significantly better. The amount of vapor produced was greater, the “throat-hit” was better…overall it was a significantly better “smoking experience” than even the very good one from the UK Website. Eventually I traced back to the real manufacturer of the “better-smoking” one and you won’t believe what I found out….
Yep, the original ones I had purchased from the UK Website were actually knockoffs! This highly recommended UK Website had actually sold me fakes! During the time of using the fakes, I was pleased with the product…but then again I didn’t have a basis of comparison. I continued to smoke my Marlboro Reds, but my usage was cut to about half. Once I switched to the real deal, within a week I had stopped using tobacco cigarettes completely!
After that, the course was clear. I had found the manufacturer, and established a relationship over a course of time. Improvements were made (another whole story in itself) and eCigPros was born!
By the way, our market research came in very handy when it came to color choice. Most of the electronic cigarettes on the market are designed to look like conventional tobacco cigarettes…that is, they have an orange LED, a white body, and a brown tip. From experience we know that when someone uses an electronic cigarette that looks THAT much like a tobacco cigarette in areas where tobacco cigarettes are forbidden, the reaction from surrounding people will be instant and it will be very negative! Our market research told us the vast majority of users would prefer something that does not look so much like a tobacco cigarette.
Therefore, initially all the electronic cigarettes sold by eCigPros had a blue LED on the end. Furthermore, instead of the bodies being cigarette white, they were available in either high gloss black or hot pink…and the “filter” part (mouthpiece) is always in black. With that configuration, surrounding people in non-smoking areas do not think you are smoking a tobacco cigarette! Later we did add a white version (with orange LED) to the lineup for Customers that want it to look like a real cigarette.
eCigPros is dedicated to selling only the very best electronic cigarettes and accessories, at great prices, and with over-the-top Customer Service. We only charge actual postage for shipping…no outrageous shipping and handling fees. We ship orders twice each day; all orders received before 12:00 noon EST are shipped the same day, and orders received after 12:00 noon are shipped the following morning. Upon shipment we send you an email with the tracking number. We have toll-free phone and fax numbers, and we try to answer all emails within two hours. We will do everything possible to be your preferred provider of the “World's Best Electronic Cigarettes”.