We got the opportunity to initially attend and inevitably (and quite unexpectedly) vend at the Vape Summit at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV on a last minute invite by one of our favorite raw ingredients providers - NicotineRiver. It was a great opportunity to not only get our brand out there in front of both buyers and consumers but to also to meet face-to-face with key industry leaders, manufacturers and current alliances that we'd been doing business with for quite some time. It was a hugely successful trip that we learned a great deal from. It showed us our niche and allowed for many other insights.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon 6/12/14 around 4:00pm, and met for lunch with one of our favorite shop owners Brett Weiss, (owner of Mojo Vapor in Encinitas, California) at the Pink Taco, just outside of the conventional hall where the Vape Summit took please. Our crew + 1942 + Brett Weiss = some very good mojo. Stay tuned for an upcoming project that we are going to be involved in with MojoVapor called Complete Vape.
After meeting with Brett, we walked the convention hall to scope things out. It was really early and just a few vendors were setting up. The mood was relaxed and inviting, something that I did not expect. In an industry that is quickly becoming saturated and where the competition is fierce, it was a breath of fresh air to see how friendly everyone was.
By 8:00pm we met with Grant Boatman of NicotineRiver, he was the sole reason we ended up at the Vape Summit. From getting us all of the ingredients we needed to create our samples, to supporting us in obtaining our booth so we could experience the Summit and network.
By 10:00pm about 60% of the vendors had begun setting up their booths. The Vape Summit Spread across four different rooms: The Artist Hall (eLiquid Vendors), Muse Hall (eLiquid Vendors), The Joint (VIP Area and Stage), and the Festival Hall (The Mod Room). We found out we scored a canceled vendor slot at 11pm and had our booth set up by about 1:00 am (which is 3:00am CST). It was a long night, followed by little sleep, and a brutally early morning to put the finishing touches on our booth before the public entered.
At this point everyone was just about setup and there was a stillness in the air as all the vendors waited for the public to enter. You could hear the occasional crackle of a mod firing and saw the clouds hovering above, and then like a sea of people...everyone entered and it was showtime. Music, videos, yelling, clouds, sexy high-heeled girls pimping product everywhere you turned, mods of all shapes and sizes, critics, more clouds, and eLiquid was absolutely everywhere
We met some fantastic people like eLiquid veteran Scott from Nicquid and his friendly team, Robert from Minty Vapes, an etailer of mechanical mods, and vape pens, Stu Reese from CAVapes, Sid Agarwal from Vaproex, Rob and Tammy from Razor Vapes Little Rock, AR (who we met on the plane to Vegas and had an epic dinner at Nobu along with Matt Jones and Cody Cheek of Altitude Vapor Lounge, Ruston, LA), Tony Mandarano of ZampleBox, and Joe of Purebacco just to name a few. Jay Bo from Tobh Mods was there as well as Mojo from Style of Mojo creator of the Chi-You, and even Andy Milonakis was in the house, grabbing an Intellicharger. Erik Hutchinson from AmeraVape enjoyed a few bottles of our juice!
We tip our hats to the staff of The Vape Summit, they worked relentlessly to put on a truly professional, premier event and having some experience in the behind-the-scenes aspect of running similar scale events - it completely drains you energetically, physically, and mentally. Despite the varying personalities, strategies, and the aggressive competition out there, everyone seems to embrace the fact that we are a tight-knit community and want to work as one.
We are all connected by our passion for vaping and the good it does and that theme came across loud and clear at The Vape Summit. It was one of the longest and fastest-moving 72 hours of our lives. This was the first vape-industry convention/trade show that we have attended as an eLiquid company. Being surrounded by 60+ eliquid vendors, 20+ mod manufacturers and the who's who of southern California was an awe-inspiring experience. We made valuable connections, gave 1000's of bottles of eliquid to prospective buyers and customers and a MVZ Mech Mod to one lucky winner. We are excited about the new business relationships we formed and we look forward to seeing you at the next one!