Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

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Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby VocalEK » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:34 pm

Posted in e-cigarette-forum.com (http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/ ... ost4804814) by John Phoenix in response to my challenge for Think Outside the Box ideas for e-cig consumers to become pro-active.

What about organizing something that has known to work in the past like cells that grow. Churches do it, businesses like Multi Level Marketing companies (Tupperware, Avon, Amway, Herbalife etc) does it

These can be done cheaply, starting small and they can grow like a virus. Could be something like house parties for e-cigs. CASAA could help and be involved. Thing is we would need a written structure and origination that is planned out and proven. It could be done in such a way as to not advertise certain brands but the e-cig concept itself. The idea is getting people exposed to e-cigs and letting them in turn run with it and so on.

Even though these would have a written organized structure, it would not have one parent organization at the top controlling things. That would turn people off and create power struggle problems we don't need. This could have a website with guidelines and information and all the members could help contribute to this agreed on structure. All the members themselves would share in the project equally thus eliminating the need for a controlling entity.

The purpose of the "cell" meetings would be to introduce smokers to e-cigs and information about e-cigs as well as have them try some e-cigs and flavorings. This could be helped by putting together a cheap package of small e-cigs to pass around with disposable tips - not for sale, just to try. This would not have to be for profit. The hosts can simply reclaim their tester e-cigs at the end and suggest places to purchase e-cigs if anyone is interested in a purchase. We would not want sales for ourselves.. we would want peoples lives to be changed by a safer alternative that may work for them where other things failed. We would be messengers.

( Of course if a host accepted a companies offer for discounts on products sold during the meetings or discounted "tester packages" for the host to use that would help keep cost down for the host and make money for vendors at the same time - without the host actually being a retailer or vendor. These could be "sponsors" and each host could use as many sponsors as they wished as long as they do not unfairly promote a certain product - This is an incentive to get vendors working together with users to further the cause as a whole. Hint Hint)

Evey host of course would have a computer with internet. This could be used to network with other cells and learn the meeting structure off the website - as well as show people how to order e-cig products online as some people are still uncomfortable with that.

You asked for out the box ideas for advertising e-cigs for the purpose of helping the public become more aware of them, and that's the best I can offer. If something like this could work and people can learn to cooperate together then perhaps a trade association will grow out of it.

The thing is, you forget about fighting the Government. You get this e-cig thing so large and everywhere and accepted that the government will cave to the masses. It has happened in the past with other products.


Do I hear volunteers to take this idea, and work in a small group to develop it?
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby John Phoenix » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:26 pm

Thank you VocalEK for sharing my reply here.

The above is my thoughts and opinions on how such an organized Cell or House Party structure could be run. It is by no means definitive or set in stone. Remember the above and below are only my opinions. I welcome anyone to a disagree or discuss the pros and cons of such a venture.

The reasoning for this structure is, it's one thing to have people as individuals doing house parties on their own and I am sure those may be effective to some extent but I feel if we had an organized effort with a website and written structure as well as cooperation from vendors it would help make the process more easily duplicatable and that's what we need. Easy duplication with low costs of putting on the house parties will make hosting the meetings more attractive.

The bottom line for me anyway is to help save lives. That's my reasoning for wanting to see something, anything that helps get the word about e-cigs out there. I already do tell everyone I see about e-cigs (and CASAA) and this has helped some people switch but with the federal opposition, negative spin,and misinformation floating around we need all the tools we can get to fight with, as lives are at stake.

Time I have. Money I do not have. I am willing to contribute as much as possible in my own way, that's all I ask of any of you. Lets kick this around and see if we cannot create something to help our fight.

What do you guys think?
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby Deadcat2 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:24 pm

I think this is a very good idea, and quite feasible. Off the top of my head I can see two issues that would need to be resolved in order to make this effective. The first issue is how to locate the target audience and how to get the word out to them. The second issue is how to encourage those in attendance to carry the torch forward, which as far as I can tell would almost have to be by providing some type of profit incentive. Thoughts?
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby John Phoenix » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:07 pm

Deadcat2 wrote:I think this is a very good idea, and quite feasible. Off the top of my head I can see two issues that would need to be resolved in order to make this effective. The first issue is how to locate the target audience and how to get the word out to them. The second issue is how to encourage those in attendance to carry the torch forward, which as far as I can tell would almost have to be by providing some type of profit incentive. Thoughts?


DC2,

Having been in MLM's (Multi Level Marketing) and church cells the way this typically works for either is word of mouth.

You invite 5 or 10 people you know to the house party, present the material, pass around the samples. You educate and give the smoker a hands on experience. Locating the target smokers can be as simple as inviting friends, family members or neighbors, yet it can be as complicated as you like.. ads in the paper, flyers posted on phone poles (where legal) messages on local bulletin boards like the one in every Wal-Mart etc. How you get the people to come is up to you and depends on how much space and materials you have.

That said, there are websites for these types of business's that offer tips on speaking to people, cheap advertising etc. We could borrow and learn from them even though we would not strictly be a business we would use many of the same ideas.

As for your second point I have given this some thought. These MLM's work to get people to carry the torch because yes, they make money off the meetings, they become partners in the business. In this situation we would have to rely off people wanting to do this out of the goodness of their hearts and wanting to see others stop smoking - without turning this into a business.

In truth this could be a business as the business model is already established - but we would have to sell product or have an arrangement to sell product for one or several vendors. We would have to have the vendors give us some type of deal that's caused us to share in the profits. Any E-cig company using this business model will work well. it will become known locally and become easier for people to want to go to the meetings with publicity. Problem is if you sell product and act as a vendor/retailer you have a mountain of paperwork and it costs a lot of money - as each of the hosts become business partners (called independent distributors)that need their own business license or you need to be able to cover them under the companies business license. If then we become a business is this not being just another vendor and less of an advocate? I'm really hoping we can find a way as advocates to make this work without having to actually be a business.

Perhaps we could get vendors to work with us and give us incentives such as if we help generate so much business for said company they give the hosts free products or discounts as a reward system. It seems the line between being advocates and middlemen would blur and we'd have to handle it with kid gloves.

BTW folks when I talk about MLM's I am just talking about the house meeting aspect, not the pyramid structure they use.

Back to you DC.
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby Deadcat2 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:59 pm

I think the only way it would work for most people is if someone was willing to give free starter kits to the hosts to give out to people who attended. I doubt there are enough people willing to spend their own money to host such a gathering. And the host would also need to be fairly well versed in the upkeep and maintenance of those kits, so they should be fairly simple to use, like the Volt/MaxxFusion/G6 models perhaps. On the other hand, the host should probably also have atomizers on hand, and lots of juices available for people to try out, so they would need a solid understanding of how to drip. Trying out the various juices is what makes it a party, gets people interested, and avoids the issue of having only a couple of flavors that some people might not like.
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby John Phoenix » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:17 am

Deadcat2 wrote:I think the only way it would work for most people is if someone was willing to give free starter kits to the hosts to give out to people who attended. I doubt there are enough people willing to spend their own money to host such a gathering. And the host would also need to be fairly well versed in the upkeep and maintenance of those kits, so they should be fairly simple to use, like the Volt/MaxxFusion/G6 models perhaps. On the other hand, the host should probably also have atomizers on hand, and lots of juices available for people to try out, so they would need a solid understanding of how to drip. Trying out the various juices is what makes it a party, gets people interested, and avoids the issue of having only a couple of flavors that some people might not like.


You bring up some good points DC. .

In my original post I only mentioned "house parties" once and that was to help introduce the concept of a "cell" type meeting structure - it was the only thing I could think of to use for an analogy. I had not really meant for it to work the same way as a business that sells products requiring you to have tons of product on hand, e-cigs, e-juice, and various types of atomizers for sampling purposes. I knew that would get pretty expensive.

Your right, having starter kits to give out would be amazing if it could be done. I mean, who wouldn't like to go to a alternative to smoking meeting to get free alternative to smoking products? Sure we would get tons of people to switch perhaps but all go flat broke in the process.

Edit: I just reread your post and notice you said,
if someone was willing to give free starter kits to the hosts to give out to people who attended
I think that would be Great but I think shooting for discounted starter kits would be a little more realistic. You could get into many of thousands of kits being needed and that would take serious money.

Business's who sell this way normally have one or two kits opened up for people to sample or purchase and examine the products, then they offer to sell the kit which is also the new persons business kit they can in turn use for house parties themselves. Most of these business/product kits sell for between 100 and 200 dollars. Part of the attraction is the business aspect no matter what the product is. My proposed cell meetings would not have the business aspect.

That's why I suggested the idea of vendor sponsors. It's the only way I can think of to help get products to sample and keep costs below retail for the host. In truth what We Advocates, CASAA and the like need is to have our own business/company who's sole purpose it is, is to sell e-cigs to to make money to funnel back into campaigning. Many Churches are now doing this and instead of being non profit organizations they are becoming For Profit organizations.

Perhaps that's something the Board Members of CASSA might consider. Perhaps they have and I was not privy to the discussion, or another For Profit E-cig organization if not CASAA.

If we did a lot of searching we (or someone) could put together a Home Party Kit for hosts that is low cost. We would have to keep this cost in the 100 to 200 dollar range or perhaps lower certainly no more than that. Exactly how much extra product, juice etc they would need for samples is yet to be determined. I really think vendor involvement would help but I see that as a potential problem. If someone runs with this idea without vendor involvement then all vendors could use the Hosts as free advertising. That might be kind of unfair. If a vendor likes this type of structure to get sales they could just do it themselves and it would be more a selling thing than an advocacy thing.

There are products like this for 10 bucks. http://www.madvapes.com/Manual-510-Star ... _3086.html - A 510 starter kit with a 180mah gloss black MANUAL battery with blue LED includes a prefilled tobacco flavored 2.5 ohm refillable cartomizer and a USB Charger. Because it has a charger and is refillable they would be good for house parties but every 10 you need, you spend 100 bucks. If they were not given free by the company to the Hosts to use you would need a discount plan (say 1/4 off or 1/2 off with volume) with the vendor and some incentive built in for you to recoup your money back, like a rewards program. This would work only if you could guarantee generating revenue for the company. That's why all the MLM type companies who sell this way are the manufacturers themselves and all the sales people/Hosts are independent distributors.

Clearly there needs to be more input into this from all areas of the e-cig industry from the users, vendors and manufacturers. This idea needs more fleshing out in light of what vendors and or manufacturers are willing to do.
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby sonicdsl » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:04 am

Perhaps a central pooling somewhere of gently used batts that can be used at these parties as demos, not to give away, just to be used? And a bulk discount on attys and/or cartos, or again, donations of gently used. Plastic drip tips are cheap and can be bulk-bought by the dozens, I'm sure. Perhaps a thread like the PIF thread on ECF to announce I'm having a party and need X amount of batts & cartos - who can help? That sort of thing would have to be on the honor system, but then they would be expected to ship to the next party (Party it Forward??). If they don't, they're cut off. I'd even be willing to set up a database for tracking to help out.

Just another thought. :)
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby John Phoenix » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:09 am

sonicdsl,

I think those are great ideas. I have read similar ideas on ECF in the past and it seems people are not willing to cooperate. That's the major problem. Discounts I'm all for and have drafted a letter to MadVapes for this purpose. I have seen the disposable e-cig tips at a local vendor. He uses them so people can test out the e-cigs. They are like a sleeve that fits over the e-cig tip. Those look pretty cool and should be dirt cheap. Asking for donations for house party supplies would be good if people be willing. Sadly I don't think most people are willing but I can understand that as everything costs money and this economy is not doing so well.

Thank you for your input.
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby Trucapri » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:38 am

This is how I was introduced to vaping. A co-worker hosted a demo party that a local vendor facilated. It was great!

If you could recruite the larger vendors to hire commission-paid, part-time representatives, and offer the host something as simple as a 5 bottle sample pack of e-liquid as a thank you gift, that would probably kick things off in the industry. I would imagine a representative could build a pretty nice demo case for $500. or less. This would include the demo kits, assorted liquids, and starter kits for immediate sale. Not a bad investment for someone needing a part-time job these days!

At the party I attended, the vendor only demostrated 3 models . . . the 510-T, the ego, and the stack. (I think I got all the names correct) By chance, no one wanted to try the stack, so they only loaded up one 510-T and one ego with the personal condom tip covers passed out to the guests. They mixed only two juices, in person to show how simple it is to adjust flavors, a regular tobacco, and a menthol tobacco, but had cartridges of others to let everyone try a draw or two of something different.

They didn't get into cartos, mods, anything elaborate. They stayed on target to convince smokers it works! The hostess says she plans on having another in a few months that could be more of an up-grade party to introduce what else can be added to the starter kits as well as introducing the basics to those that couldn't make it to the first party.

The end result, 4 smokers in attendance that laughed, snacked and had a great time and 4 PV owners saying good-night. Everyone bought a starter kit that came with a 5ml liquid "personally" mixed for their needs and tastes, with the recipe written on the bottle label! For the vendor, 4 new, impressed, customers. I, for one, have spent over $100. with this vendor in the three weeks since the party, have another wish-list I'm building and looking forward to the next "party".

This could be a major step for vaping. It's such a personal product and this atmosphere gives tremendous personal attention!!
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Re: Outside the Box - E-cig House Parties

Postby ByStander1 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:04 am

Forgive me for taking so long to get to putting in my two cents.

This is how I started my business. Soon, I ran out of personal supplies as I recruited. Word of mouth is the key.

Here's what I've found works:

Use a selection of batteries. I recommend 510s & egos
Use a selection of cartos filled with various flavors
Use a bunch of simple drip tips

Everyone gets literature, a questionnaire & pen, your personal story while they fill it out, and to experience vaping.

Explain the differences between manual & auto batteries.
Explain how all parts are the same all the same -- a battery powers a heating element that vaporizes liquid. (like a hot plate that heats a pot of water)
Demonstrate yourself. "Long and slow" / "This is not whimpy"
Then the fun begins!
Let everyone handle the different batteries. If you let them pass them around and switch amongst themselves, they have the most fun. (sizes, colors, etc)
Let everyone choose a driptip.
Then lay out the labeled cartos. Have tobaccos (including menthols), fruits, sweets, candies, florals, and drinks. Some will be hesitant to do anything other than tobaccos. Don't worry, another party member will get them to do it.

Then let them go! They'll have a blast, and you can answer questions as everyone enjoys themselves.

Some notes: have 0 nic cartos primarily to be passed around. Watch for signs of "wanting a cigarette." Offer them cartos with 1.8% or 2.4% nic to hit for a while. Keep track of the nic loaded cartos. There may be little people running around. My preference when doing a family consult is that the entire family be present. My reasoning: The entire family is being affected by the smoking, the same should be true of the solution. The more educated the family is, the more encouragement the smokers will receive during their switching. You'll end up receiving calls from the smoker's family at least as often as from the new vaper.

You simply must have supplies available for them to purchase right then.
Minimum: a starter kit & a sampler of liquids (no fewer than 3 flavors)
I recommend my new vapers start with a 7-pack sampler. I explain how their taste buds will be reviving over the next 3 to 6 weeks, and although something may not taste good today, it may be just what they need in a couple of weeks. The samplers contain 5mls each of 3 tobaccos, 1 fruit, 1 floral, 1 candy, 1 spice. My samplers also include 3ml each of concentrated menthol, smoke, and sweetener. I tell them, unless a menthol smoker, to ignore the little bottles for the time being. Call me if nothing is tasting right. On the phone, I can guide them on using the concentrates to adjust their liquid.

I recommend (highly) that you charge for your time. I adjust my fee to the number of smokers present.

I also have a questionnaire/agreement. I keep very close track of my vapers. The questionnaire includes things like "Why are you thinking of switching" to "Are you currently experiencing smoking-related health problems" to "Have you ever tried a personal vaporizer before" and such.

I guarantee my services as follows:

If you give me 30 days to get it right, and at the end of that 30 days you say, "Lorie, this just isn't going to work for me," I'll buy back the hardware. Liquid and my time are not refundable. I explain that one big part of giving me the chance to get it right is they agree to contact me the moment they have any issues (hardware, liquid, craving a cig, etc). Plus, they have to make themselves available by phone for me to call and periodically check on their progress. We both sign the agreement. Their signing a commitment is important psychologically. (I assumed this in the beginning, and many vapers have confirmed it for me since.)

I'll happily assist anyone wanting to do something like this. If you decide to do this, I guarantee you it will be the most rewarding "job" ever!

Always,
Lorie

contact info: Lorie McClung, 1.304.927.0392 / lorie [at] wirefire [dot] come
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