In the basement of an elegant hotel, directly in the shadow of the Winston Tower, the home of one of the largest tobacco houses in the world, several thousand vapers congregated this weekend for Vapemania. I was luck enough to be able to join in the festivities and fun for 2 of the 3 days, surrounded by new friends and old, all brought together by our love of vaping.
The Show Floor
Over 100 vendors were in attendance, from juice manufacturers and retail stores, to a company who have redesigned the child proof caps used on our bottles. Many of the attendees were businesses attempting to connect with new vendors, unveiling new product lines and generally had a business to business feel. This was more of a trade show than a convention in the sense recent industry parties, but it was a party none the less.
Word of The Weekend: Advocate
Every where you turned, whether it was the guest speakers from the North Carolina chapter of SFATA, members of the Vaping Militia or even the owners of the individual booths, one message seemed to be on everyone’s lips. The message seemed simple enought to follow – we must grow as an industry, work together at every level or fail in our mission. The message was a reminder to everyone here that we are all here because we were smokers and that we should shift our focus back to helping others quit. At the hotel, we had the opportunity to talk to smokers outside who had absolutely no idea what vaping was, and the ones who had heard of vaping believed it was worse for them than smoking. The very things we had been speaking about inside were literally outside the door. We invited a couple of them downstairs to get first hand information from the industry.
The event organizers had an extensive list of do’s and don’ts for the vendors, simply asking that if vendors couldn’t adhere to certain rules regarding labelling and product naming, they need not attend. Another requirement was that the event was to be focused solely on the products we use and sell, and not to bring in any of the marketing strategies that have been used at other shows that have generated bad press. The event on the whole has been electric, even without a stripper pole in sight.
It is currently only Saturday night, with another whole day of seminars and talking to vendors ahead of us, tomorrow will be a busy day. If the energy of the show floor can be carried out into the world come Monday, if the message of this event can come to fruition, the coming months can be good for the industry.