Hi Josh, nice to meet you. Can you please introduce yourself to The Vape Snob community as well as talk about how you got into vaping?
I’m Joshua Krane. I’m the COO and co-founder of CRAFT VAPERY. I’m also an avid vape enthusiast, damn good father, pretty decent husband, and a lover of pop culture. I’m also a closeted sneaker head, but don’t tell anyone.
I got my start in vaping in 2010 when I tried my first cig-a-like. I had just been diagnosed with COPD / Emphysema and was sick of burning my skin with the patch or the comically dangerous thoughts I had on Chantix. Someone slid a Safe Cig across a table to me, and one puff later, I was never a smoker again. I went on to become the CMO of the company, but I knew early on that flavors and devices that are more powerful would usurp the e-cig industry. Apparently I was so right I found myself out of a job. That’s when we decided to start CRAFT VAPERY.
So… I’ve been in the vape industry for several years and have only recently heard about Craft Vapery this past year. When did you guys start? How did you grow to be the Craft Vapery we know today… and for those who don’t know, can you tell us about Craft Vapery?
Apparently, we haven’t been hanging out under the same rocks ;). We started CRAFT in December of 2013 after almost a year of planning and taking the deep dive into the business of vaping. My partners Omri and Matt knew there needed to be a better way to sort through all of the products on the market and identify the ones we thought were quality. I used to spend my weekends going from vape shop to vape shop with a notebook that had all of my friends’ flavor profiles and a list of what I got them in the past. When I got to about 15 people, I knew this was a business and not just a hobby. That was the initial idea for CRAFT.
Originally, we wanted to start a vape shop in LA. Once we realized what a colossally stupid idea that was, we decided to take our ideas to the digital world. My partner Matt was the first employee of FiveFour Club, and with his expertise, we decided to develop CRAFT VAPERY’s first business as a curated subscription service. That’s what we launched in December 2013. CRAFT VAPERY’s subscription program is a hand-curated box of premium juices, picked to specifically match your flavor profile and delivered with love to your door every month. Every subscriber gets trading cards identifying each of the flavors they receive, a small bag of candy as something sweet from us to them, and a hand written note from one of our staff just to remind them that we picked and packed their box with love. [how sweet…]
On the heels of the subscription service, we launched our ecommerce website about seven months later, where anyone can buy the nearly 200 brands we offer in the subscription service, along with select hardware that we have deemed worthy enough. Subscription members automatically get 10% off everything in the shop and free shipping on orders over $35. This year we launched our wholesale business in January, which now caters to hundreds of vape shops around the country and offers 17 brands in total. We also just announced and launched our own brand of liquids, CRAFT VAPERY Certifiably Vapable Liquids, at ECC 2015. As for how we grew it, all by word of mouth actually. Our members are the number one way we add new subscribers. We focus on getting them to love what we do and they take care of the rest.
It’s actually quite magical to watch, and I’m blown away by the impact it has.
What were some growing pains you experienced with Craft Vapery? Being entrepreneurs ourselves, what advice can you give us, as well as the community, in regards to entrepreneurship or life in general?
I think the hardest pill to swallow was being judiciously shut down by Facebook and Google with respect to advertising our service. Both view us as tobacco, and there doesn’t seem to be any righting of that wrong with them. I also think we underestimated just how good our technology had to be to really do a monthly-curated box for thousands of people. We used to do everything in spreadsheets! Now we have a very robust technology platform that does everything but curate the actual boxes. It could if we wanted it to, but part of the magic of CRAFT is that it’s real people picking the products.
You want advice? Here you go: if you aren’t completely insane and willing to work harder than you ever have in your life, you have no business starting your own business. On a slightly more serious note: don’t spend your own money. In addition, if you want me to get really serious: your business is only worth as much as your financials and books. Focus on your Key Performance Indicators, pick one at a time and obsess over improving it.
Then when you go completely crazy, call me and we can commiserate.
What vaping conventions are you planning to go to this year and what was the best vaping convention you been to within the last two years?
We have been to every Vape Summit, and proudly run the Vape Summit Best of Show awards. I have also been to every ECC. This year we’re doing ECC, Vape Summit IV, VapExpo France, and probably the big show in China in October. Not bad for a guy who really dislikes flying.
What are you currently vaping on? What’s your favorite atomizer?
I’m currently vaping one of our CRAFT VAPERY flavors: It’s Toast!, which is a strawberry jam with peanut butter on whole grain toast.
I’m vaping it on a Jemit Designs Maximus 26650 with a SQuape R/s tank.
As for my favorite atomizer, currently I have to say it’s the Le Magister from Vaponaute. When I wick it right (and I got a lot of tutorials from my friends over at Native Wicks), the flavor and vapor production are amazing, and it holds 2mls of juice so I don’t have to drip.
On that note, while I really love the flavor and flexibility of RDAs, I really hate dripping. I vape way too much to have to soak my wicks every few hits. I would probably like squonking if I could get over the terrible name. So I stick to tanks and RDAs with giant juice wells and hope no one makes fun of me, or kicks me out of their exclusive club.
I’ve seen you in a couple vaping communities, can you tell us what vaping communities you are a part of?
I think I have to be super careful here as I’m in a few secret societies that don’t like when you talk about fight club. First and foremost, I am the admin of our Facebook group WE ARE CRAFT VAPERS. I’m biased, but I think it’s one of -if not- THE best communities in vaping. [including The Vape Snob, of course (:]
I’m also in several modder’s groups because I like to type X1 over and over and over only to wait for something I forgot I bought to show up months later. Mod Trader is a must for me, as I like to buy things and use them and resell them at a loss.
Then of course there are a number of groups I rather not mention by name where vaping truths are told, mods are raffled, and the elite rub elbows while vaping insanely expensive pieces of art.
Still waiting for that elusive invite to LXV…
Similar to you, I’m in many high end mod groups on Facebook, and was surprised to see that you got banned from H.E.M.O (High End Mods Only) recently, would you mind telling us what happened? (don’t answer this if you don’t want to lol :D)
I’ve actually been reinstated in H.E.M.O. and I have no idea what you are talking about 😉
In all seriousness, they made some rule changes that I wasn’t aware of including banning pictures of Chinese tanks, and I posted a picture of about $10k worth of high end mods and a few of them had Chinese made tanks on them.
To be honest, four of the five mods have Chinese made chips in them and I really like the convenience of some of the Chinese-made tanks. It’s their group, their rules, and I broke them. So I apologized and made amends and they let me back in.
Note to self, remove your aspire tanks before posting in H.E.M.O… got it. And a word to the wise, admins take their rules really seriously.
Always read them fully and check your pinned posts people.
There are two types of people in this world…flavor-chasers and cloud-chasers…which one are you?
Flavor all the way. I like a dense rip, don’t get me wrong, but never at the expense of flavor.
Flavor first, flavor always, flavor last.
We also noticed that you run your own blog as well as a podcast, what’s your favorite article on your blog as well as your favorite guest on the podcast?
Well, I have a personal blog and one for CRAFT. I spent the last year documenting every day in my son’s first year here on the third rock from the sun, from his very first breath right up to his first birthday. My favorite post was day one, where we caught him giving me the finger in the hospital.
Oh, you meant THE CRAFT blog? In that case it would be my “Definitive Guide to Temperature Control with Ti Wire” – Link For Definitive Guide Temperature Control with Ti Wire. I’m really anti-nickel, and Ti vaping is probably the best flavor I have ever found.
The podcast is a different beast, and really hard for me to pick a favorite. My least favorite guest was Lonnie Bozeman from The Standard / The Originals the first time he was on the show. It was all junk punches and slapstick and I don’t think it was very entertaining to anyone but those of us in the studio. I think my favorite guest would have to be Casey Zoltan from TSL & TSL Flavors. Dude is a legend in the street art scene and I had to hide my inner fan boy the entire episode.
What other blogs or podcasts do you follow (besides ours of course (: )?
I never miss an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, Pointless Podcast with Kevin Pereira, Talking Shit with Eddie Ifft, among others. As for blogs, I never touch the stuff. Just don’t tell my RSS reader 😉
What does being a Vape Snob mean to you?
You know you are a Vape Snob if:
-You’ve spent more than a car payment on a mod or you could pay for your kids to go to college by selling your collection.
-You taste a juice and know without a shadow of a doubt where they bought their flavor bases.
-You laugh your ass off when someone tells you their juice is “100% VG”.
-You ask “what lab did you use” when people claim to be DA/AP “free”.
-You look at a half filled 120ml bottle of your favorite juice and think “man I need more fast”.
-You have a brand of cotton and refuse to even try others.
-You vape Cornbread when everyone else is still vaping custards.
-You refuse to try someone’s vape because they haven’t discovered how amazing Ti is.
-You leave the house with only one mod and feel “naked”.
-You subscribe to CRAFT VAPERY and know why it’s the only way to vape. [#shamelessplug :D]
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, do you have any final words or shout outs?
All joking aside, being a Vape Snob obligates you to help those poor smokers get off of cigarettes and onto vaping. If we all spent a little less time arguing about the best high end mod or tank, and a little more time helping people actually quit smoking, the world would be a better place.
In the meantime, stay snobby, subscribe to CRAFT VAPERY immediately, and #FJN
#THEONLYWAYTOVAPE #IAMACRAFTVAPER #CRAFTLIFE #BESTOFTHEBOX
#CVLIQUIDS #CRAFTVAPERY #THEVAPESNOB #THVPSNB #ALLDAY