Hi From the Owner
Hey, Rob here,
Let’s talk about how Vape Vault became what it is today and why I made some of my decisions going forward with the business.
Firstly, I was a heavy smoker for many years, I started smoking when I was 16 and got heaps of enjoyment from it. Even with the costs and the health risks involved with smoking I still wanted to smoke and had no alternative to turn to.
Fast forward to 2013 and I had head about these things called E-Cigs, at the time most of them were only available online or from people’s home businesses with very limited choices. I made the decision to try out some various E-Cigs and was fairly impressed with the ability they gave me to cut down on smoking. I guess because the options were limited then I had some trouble totally quitting smoking until I found a few better websites here in Australia and found something I enjoyed that helped me finally quit smoking in 2014 I believe this was.
So, I noticed that not only could a good Vape setup help people quit smoking but also Townsville didn’t have any retailers of good Vaping products that worked with the quitting thing so hey I opened Townsville’s first real Vape store albeit from my home in Mount Louisa. It was Called Townsville E-liquid Supplies.
In the early days I was still driving Taxi’s in Townsville and could only run a booking system for my customers for 3hrs a day, In my spare time I was trying my hand at crafting E-liquid so I could sell my own local brand of Juice which was a learning experience that I really enjoyed but I found I never had enough time so I made the decision to quit the Taxi’s and open up the bookings from home and go full time Vape Shop owner.
This decision didn’t come lightly and was mainly since my customers needed more of my time so they could buy what they needed to quit smoking, this business was to start with all about passion and to help pay the bills that Taxi driving couldn’t cover. Now I had to make ends meet with just the vape business and so a name change was on the cards because I wanted an online presence. Vape Vault was the choice, and I went ahead and built my own website, made easier these days with platforms like Shopify.
I will say that from the start I had lots of support from my wife Georgia who you all should know does a ton of work for Vape Vault and is the backbone of the business. I also had lots of help and support from vape industry leaders like Morris at VE, Savvas at Outerworld and a few smaller guys like Bin Vittle at Beastly Vapes, Tommy at Byron Bay and Holly at 888 Vapes just to name a few. These guys helped me shape what juices were stocked at Vape Vault simply by being amazing businesses to deal with and of course their product was impeccable.
So once Vape Vault was online, I wanted to get a juice line released with our branding to look the part in the industry, I also wanted people to enjoy locally made juice that I really liked to vape. Fruit flavours were my Jam and having an easy supply to concentrates with my industry connections I got to mixing and found my creative side. The juice line that is now Cog Industries was my first go at juice making and the team at Vapoureyes have the pleasure on manufacturing it in their clean rooms in SA along with the rest of our juice lines.
So, lets talk about Cog Industries. The very first juice I created was Dem Melons and at the time I really liked menthol fruit juices, so this juice was my chance to make my own, it got quite good feedback and became a staple in the line. King Strawb was next, and I was impressed by a lot of strawberry cream type juices on the market, but I wanted to make my own, I never liked sweetener in my juices so I have always added the least amount possible to my juices and King Strawb was a subtle adv that I could vape day in day out. I then went back to my cold fruits with Titanium, which is a Grape menthol, Titanium was inspired by Outerworld’s Arcturus, but I never liked the grape used in Arcturus, so I made my own and still it is a leading seller in the line. The next two juices took much longer to nail Sweet Lemonade and Unobtainium. Sweet Lemonade was my take on a tropical lemonade, and I started to play with cooling instead of menthol, adding the cooling made it become a truer recreation of a cold tropical lemonade drink. Unobtainium in truth was and still is our biggest hit, Mango and Lychee with cooling, this juice was a very tricky profile to balance and get tasting good, easily the most 500ml bottles that we sell at Vape Vault are filled with Unobtainium.
Okay now we had a juice line and an online presence but the biggest issue we were facing now was the fact that our home was literally getting overrun with bookings for customers and some customers still couldn’t get an appointment to buy what they needed to keep them off the smokes. At this stage I employed my brother Tim so we could serve 2 clients at once, but this also started filling up appointments. Being busy is always a good thing but being able to service you customers is very important so we had to start looking to rent a store to get away from appointment only visits and allow our customers to visit when they wanted. We found our Garbutt store quickly and Townsville had its first Bricks and Mortar vape store finally and the response from our vaping customers was put simply, amazing. Now customers could get what they wanted when they wanted it, this put our growth into overdrive as a business and suddenly, we had to look at employing people. Our Vape Vault family are all very close and believe in the same ethos as Georgia and I, to help people quit smoking and enjoy it at the same time. Saving lives and bank accounts is what Vape Vault does daily and to see our customers turn their lives around just by making the switch from smoking to vaping is the best feeling.
Let’s talk more juice and how it became, the next juice line I worked on was Chocolatier Vape Co. I was inspired to create this juice line after a visit to New Zealand where small chocolatier shops exist, and I simply love chocolate. I wanted to bring you a juice line with a proper theme so, Chocolate was the profile and I wanted to give you all different types of chocolate like what you get in a Chocolatier store or a box of assorted chocolates. Chocolate had been done before but only 2 Choccy vapes stood out to me, Byron Bay’s Chocolate Milk and Mr. Wicky’s Split. These two chocolates were amazing, but I wanted more so how about adding coconut, peanuts, orange crème, butterscotch, and the likes to an amazing chocolate base…. well, this is what turned into the Chocolatier Vape Co. Vapoureyes were keen to manufacture right from the time I pitched the idea to Savvas so, I just had to make it. This time I had time to spend on creating the juices so I could perfect them, I literally took about 3 months away from the running of Vape Vault and worked on making chocolate vape juices. It was an enjoyable time and Chocolatier now has 7 juices in its arsenal and has been a more successful all round juice line that suits more retail stores nationwide.
The tale of Beastly Vapes and La-Cyprine. Early in our Vape Vault business I had sparked a relationship with Bin Vittle, he’s a kiwi lad that got stuck into making some real tasty juices being the Beastly Vape line and Citron Vert from La-Cyprine. Beastly was a good well rounded juice line fit for any vape shop shelves and Citron Vert became Australia’s most wanted lime juice soon after Bin released it. I had sold these juices for a long time at Vape Vault from the home and in the new store. One morning Bin approached me about buying his lines as he was looking to get out of the industry and focus on other things, with a little bit of thought we made a deal happen and Vape Vault brought Beastly Vapes and La-Cyprine into the fold of our juice lines. After a facelift of the Beastly Vapes labels and once I got my ass into gear with getting an extra 2 juices added to La-Cyprine with Pomme Verte (Green Apple) and Melon Rouge (Watermelon) we relaunched both lines with Vapoureyes also manufacturing for us. It was a great honour to be able to buy these brands and breathe new life into them, so they got the attention they deserved. Maybe I will add to the La-Cyprine line in the future.
Making juice can be a little addictive I also got working on a house line for Vape Vault so we had some juices we could sell for a cheaper price point. Minted comes to mind, this juice was just an experiment of peppermint and spearmint that ended up tasting like a candy cane and has been a huge seller. Donuts was next as a simple no fuss cinnamon donut, not the biggest seller of the range but the people that like it just wanna keep vaping it. Choccy Cheesecake was the final juice for this line, I was experimenting with cheesecake bases and added chocolate to it, I found the perfect balance it this juice has enjoyed much fame since its creation.
So, I got a visit from two of the Vapoureyes staff a little while ago, Chris and Stacey, Stacey oversaw sorting out the new look for Cog industries and we got the ball rolling on that while the guys were here. Chris and I put our heads together to create another juice line and came up with “Smoothers and Shakers”, this would be the first time I worked with someone on the creation of juice and so far, and it is coming along nicely. The first 3 juices should be out real soon, and the Lime Milkshake is banging! Those of you that have vaped Red vs Blue, well that is Chris’s creation and is an amazing donut juice.
More stores, as most of you will know Vape Vault has more than one location, it took us a little over a year in our original location at Garbutt to get to a point when we needed a second location, Kirwan was our target as there are so many people living there these days, so we opened Vape Vault Kirwan. This was done primarily to relieve the pressure on our Garbutt store as customers soon had to start waiting to be served in a timely manner and we also like to have a chat with our customers so buy supplying a second location we could have our chat and serve our customers in a timelier fashion. Our third location which is in Hyde Park was more focused on branding and convenience to allow more options for our customers. We also put some thought into opening times, the two smaller stores are open Monday to Friday and the Garbutt store is Tuesday to Saturday. This allows for 6 days of trade without asking staff to work a 6-day shift. I have always been opposed to opening on Sundays as I think it should be a day of rest for everyone.
Staff, we all have our major roles at Vape Vault. Me (Rob) I mostly manage the business-to-business relationships, I can be found at any store serving or dropping off stock and if you are lucky, you can catch me creating juices at our Kirwan Location. Nicole is pretty much in charge of stock allocation to all stores, and you will also see her serving at Garbutt. Steve will greet you with his resting Steve face at Garbutt, you may think he’s not happy, but he really is…Steve looks after most floor operations at Garbutt plus many other things and has a very long vaping history. Mitch is our newest member to the team, and he came with the ability to create beaut artwork, so he spends a lot of time working with Georgia on website design in between serving customers.
Dev you will mostly run into at Hyde Park he is the captain over there and looks after all things Hyde Park, you will spot Chino (Tebai) over there too, he has the most infectious laugh and loves people, Chino can also be caught at other stores as he is usually the sub when we have a sick staff member or someone on holidays. Chino completes the duo of Cap n Chino at Hyde Park.
Tim and Geoff will be spotted mostly at Kirwan, both the lads are very knowledgeable with vaping and on point with their customer service. They both have a love hate relationship with computers so if you wanna talk geek then Kirwan is the place. Tim also does all things tech/computer for us at Vape Vault. Scary thing is they both can grow an afro if they let their hair grow, maybe something to do with the computer headaches.
Georgia, the boss, she is mostly found on her computer with 4 screens that she uses all day. Georgia runs all things operational, website, policy maker and HR, without her Vape Vault would not be what it is today.
Well, that is the shortened version of how Vape Vault is what it is today, we want to bring you more all the time and trust me we are working hard to make things better every day, thanks for your support, Townsville and Australia, lets keep quitting the smokes and making the switch to Vaping.