Eric: Hi, I’m Eric Schild. I came from the magical world of video games where people literally make dreams come halfway true until the money runs out. Now? One of the two dudes behind Teleos.
Vape Snob: What motivated you to start Teleos?
Eric: For a hot minute there, I was reviewing stuff in this tiny closed group on Facebook (peaked at just over a thousand members) at the prodding of one Andy Han (I think he’s still alive and has relocated to somewhere along the border between North Dakota and Canada). During that time, thirty or forty juice companies sent me boxes of product. They varied from pretty good to a bit more than pretty good. Hell, I actually still vape some of them – though I should probably ration this liter of Port LB from Long Beach Juice Supply. I miss them. Anyway! Teleos.
This box of juice came across my desk from one CJ Hornbrook (now my partner in crime at Teleos). It was, without a doubt, the “best” of what I got in my time there. My wife got pretty hooked on Bubble for a few months. That said, despite the quality of the juice, none of them were really “for me.” But there were a pile of goofy flavors I wanted to vape – well, if they existed I would vape them. I threw some ideas at CJ and he whipped a couple of them together. I mean, the guy knows what’s up when it comes to making juice. Eventually, one of them turned into Nightfall. A group buy and a few stores later – Teleos was birthed fully-armored from the head of Zeus.
Vape Snob: How have you built your brand?
Eric: You know, I kind of want to file this under “trade secrets” since so many companies are doing exactly the opposite of what we’re doing. But we have a few policies in place that I would love to see spread a little bit. For example, we rarely, if ever, hand check our own juice on Facebook. I mean, everyone knows we vape our own stuff, so hand-checking it comes across purely as spam. Speaking of spam, we try to keep all “official” communique to a minimum. The online platforms for Facebook are, at their core, social.
Leveraging social networks was a big part of my former life, and I know that the spread of information is ultimately via people, not the company promoting. If people aren’t interested, crossing the line from “advertising” to “spammy” becomes but a short step. We rarely post on Instagram. We should probably post on Pinterest, given the demographics, but we haven’t gotten there yet. I think there are things we can do a little better.I’m not a huge fan of how I’m handling juice launches, but that’s going to change a bit in the future. Twitter is completely dead to me. As a platform for vaping, it’s practically non-existent. The community aspect where people actually know each other is far too strong. And frankly, if you want to get anywhere on Twitter, you have to give a “time investment” to being funny, articulate, and worth reading.
Even then, the effort required outweighs the results.
On the topic of the physical product, I don’t look at vaping for inspiration. Fashion, consumables (food and such), and entertainment has this particular bunch of shit on lock down. Also, vaping is practically a 50/50 split male and female – and the latter segment is quickly becoming the market leader. I think too many companies ignore this, and there’s more than a bit of embarrassment sitting out there on shelves. I’ve tried to disassociate Teleos from the previously common fad of gas masks and other poison related things. There’s a lot of stuff we don’t want vaping associated with until the FDA decides to drop their rather large hammer. I pay a whole mess of attention to that stuff.
In addition, for the vast majority of stores, I’m the single point of contact. Despite being a bit of a truth cannon, I’ve found the process to be efficient, if mildly insane. Lots of companies have sales people and big ol’ shipping departments and such. We simply don’t have that, but we’re doing things as efficiently as a small team can.
Finally, I have a blanket rule against sending out juice for review or doing group buys.
I’m going to lay out my alternative (to asking us for juice) to all of the reviewers out there: Reviewers (and there must be hundreds of you now), contact your local stores. They are your friend. That is who you want juice from. Every single one of them probably has a giant bunch of stuff in a box that you can take simply by saying “I’ll advertise your store in exchange for that box of random juice.” Getting juice this way also lets you feel fine about not liking something. As for group buys – simply put – our retailers sell our juice. I don’t want to slight them by undercutting them with a group buy. We’ve only ever done one, for 40 people when we launched the company – before we were in any stores. That group buy was for Nightfall, I don’t think any stores are upset about that (if you are a store that is, get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to get you stocked with Nightfall).
That said, trends exist in vaping. We’re less about following them than we are about improving on them. Like this latest cereal trend. I think the most accurate phrase I heard associated with it was “lemon soup.” Rarely is such a description as laser-focused and accurate as that one. So it’s something we worked hard to avoid. Sometimes we try to force a trend, like we did with banana muffin. Anyone remember that? No? Neither do we.
Vape Snob: Where can we get a hold more about your company and where to get it?
Unless we’re hilariously slammed, I answer in minutes. If we’re super-dee-duper slammed, it’ll take about 24 hours. If you’re asking for free juice or something along those lines, it’s gonna be a few days.
Vape Snob: Who are some of your biggest influences in vaping?
Eric: Phil Goddamn Busardo. Look, we can go round and round and talk about Dr. Farsalinos or CASAA or whoever. But no one, and I mean NO ONE, reaches adults in the way Phil does. The guy has a great ability to speak, has a good presence in person, and vaped Gamma once. I mean this is about Teleos, right?
More serious answer: Vaping hasn’t been around long enough to really have “influencers” in the classical sense. Some people are pretty good at forcing the hype train in one direction or another and others are really great at moving product. I guess, the answer would be our customers? I mean, they really decide on the direction we go. Except the 120ml Bottle Brigade – I’m sorry, we’re just not there yet. You are a loud, but very small segment, and I promise – one day – we will appeal to you in some fashion.
Vape Snob: Eric, some people say you’re a gangster in the vape industry. Is this true?
Eric: I don’t even know what this means. I’m really not, I’m kind of a sweetheart.
Things I Do: I vape trash Chinese atties more than “high-end ones.” I have a ton of absolutely horrific gear in the eyes of the “high end” segment. Hell, I want to rock a Darwin w/ Extended Arm and an Athea Full Axis at Vape Summit Vegas, but I haven’t been able to get either. I will vape quite literally any juice. That’s probably pretty stupid of me, but I used to smoke cigarettes so whatever.
Things I Don’t Do: Put modders on a pedestal. Participating in the consumer frenzy of modding which is a direct result of not being able to provide enough product is just wackytown to me. I get that we’re a hobbyist industry, but comeon, this is about Not Smoking rather than Having The Hottest Gear.
I have been known to talk a bit of smack, but you know what – game recognize game. Check your privilege, etc.
Vape Snob: What are some of your inspirations when creating a flavor?
Eric: Our process is a bit wonky, and would result in another 5,000 character answer. The short version is: It has to be really goddamned good. If it’s not really goddamned good, it’s not done. Case in point: The Afterparty. We’re over a year into it. Not ready. That happens.
Vape Snob: What upcoming releases, projects, or events are you working on?
Eric: It’s kind of a big deal, but <REDACTED>. Also, I’m futzing around with some hardware with a couple modders. Most recently Flow Rings with Matthew Eaton from Captivape (along with some other unannounced stuff). Also working with Chris Hildreth over at Lautus Creations on some things (ATX represent and whatnot).
Vape Snob: Do you know what VGOD is? Can you VGOD?
Eric: This has something to do with playing techno and making vapor do stuff in the air, right? No, I don’t do that. I listen to R Kelly, inhale, let that sweet nicotine hit my lungs and then I exhale.
Vape Snob: What kind of hardware do you use?
Eric: Garage of Creation Styx + Atlantis/Arctic/NewGenChineseWhatever.
The Styx has, bar none, the best button in the game. It has two batteries and an SX350. Until tech improves, I’m not sure what else I’d want.To expand a little bit, I’m not really into the whole “hype” scene, whether that be juice or hardware. As Teleos advertises minimally, that’s pretty obvious on the juice front. On the hardware front it’s less obvious. Here’s a current list of my gear – many of which are broken (by my own hand):
Garage of Creation Styx
Garage of Creation Styx Prototype (bigger, boxier, styxier)
QOX by Bru Vapers w/ a replaced sleeve (black delrin, from Matthew Eaton @ Captivape)
QOX by Bru Vapers – completely destroyed by the USPS and currently being brought back to life by Matthew Eaton
Zero w/ Teleos Sleeve that I don’t use but looks nice in pictures
Galacticka Andromeda w/ a bit of a wonky button and Comic Sans on the inside – which kills me even time I put a battery in it
Messybox LE Carbon Fiber thing – swapped to a DNA40.
Messybox Original – completely broken, getting fixed by Chris Hildreth of Lautus Creations
Beatbox by MPKO – Single Battery variant, broke it, getting fixed by Chris Hildreth of Lautus Creations
Beatbox by MPKO – Dual 18650 variant, broke it, getting fixed by Chris Hildreth of Lautus Creations
Vapedroid by Ayman Azmy – broke it 4 times now. Not yet handed over to be fixed.
VariAnt by Vicious Ant – completely destroyed door, kinda half sort-of on purpose destroyed by me and Chris Hildreth, but hey it takes Real batteries now (dual 18650)
Caravela, Teleos Engraved by some dude in Spain
eGo One 2200mah from Joytech
Aspire CF Sub Ohm
11x Atlantis from Aspire
5x Melo from eLeaf
1x Herkles by whoever
1x Subdank Mini from Kanger
9x Taifun GTs w/ various kits from SmokerStore.de or whatever
2x Arctic by HorizonTech
1x Behemoth by Diablo Mods
1x Nahual by Urq
1x In’ax V1 by Athea
1x In’ax 16 by Athea
1x K.Loud by Boost Lab with bored out inner tank
2x Delta II by Joytech
1x Origenny V2
1x Clone Doge with Clone Chuff by China
some hellfire nonsense
As you can see, when I like something I stick with it. Yeah yeah, I hyped the hell out of the Atlantis. I know. I still stand by my assessment and given the % of the market that moved over to next-gen Chinese tanks, I was clearly pretty correct. Nonetheless, the takeaway here is that I’ll vape almost any juice in any atty on any mod. But my preferred setup is listed at the beginning of this answer.
Vape Snob: What other E-Liquids do you vape besides your own product?
Eric:On my desk, right now at this very moment, is the following: Sammie Puffs by SMAX, Jazzy Boba by DJ Jazzy Jeff, Moondust by Witcher’s Brew, Muffcake from Steam Factory, and Captivape’s Strawberry Milk.
Vape Snob: What are your plans for the future?
Eric: The Afterparty. Epsilon. Three more Breakfast at Teleos Flavors. <REDACTED>. Some hardware, maybe – if things go well. Play dodgeball with some legislators. Maybe lay down some phat beats. Wouldn’t mind losing a bit of weight. I got this standing desk that sounds like the future when it goes up and down.
Vape Snob: Vaping and hobbies are often tied together. What hobbies are grabbing your attention right now?
Eric: Ya know, I’m a gamer so I’m always playing something. Right now – Hex, Bloodborne, 7 Days to Die, Pillar of Eternity, and uhhhhh Final Fantasy Record Keeper. Which is basically the Candy Crush of Final Fantasy (please send CJ energy or whatever or don’t).
Also, I really like good food. Which, I suppose, isn’t a hobby. But Instagram keeps trying to convince me it is.
Vape Snob: Are you into kitties?
Eric: Pusheen is rad. I don’t really know what’s happening with this question. It seems like it has ulterior motives.
Vape Snob: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Eric. Do you have any final words or shout-outs?
Eric: I’d like to give a shout out to Jeff Goldblum for signing on to ID4-2. Also, I suppose I should say it’s nice that CJ puts up with my insanity. Oh, and the Academy. Because awards and shit.