Where did the idea for Shine come from?
Our sister company had been manufacturing 24K gold cigars for VIP’s, and the response was always amazing, but very few people could afford them. We were kicking around ideas of how we could re-apply this proprietary process, and we decided on rolling papers. We prototyped a few, put them out on social media, and the response was explosive from Day 1. Whether people liked them or not, it was a huge talking point and that energy really drove brand awareness. We had a lot of organic celebrity use, we did custom packs for Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour in our first year, and that just set off a wave of exposure for us.
People had to have their doubts about the product right?
No question. It was interesting to watch this evolve and dissipate over time, because it was very common when we were a new brand and didn’t have the credibility we have now. People had health concerns, which we almost never hear anymore, and people, especially distributors and retailers were concerned about the price.
I think its fair to say that we created the luxury segment of rolling papers. Manufacturers were stepping over themselves to make $1 products, and that was a model retailers really understood and felt comfortable when we were firm to say our 12-pack product would retail for $55. Everyone thought we were nuts, until we proved that we weren’t.
What was it like to get retailers and distributors behind the product?
The attitude of store owners was “Every hour my store is open I’m selling 5-10 packs of paper X for $1 each. That adds up.” We had to take all their risk away by lowering their initial orders so we could prove in any store, whether they thought they had the right customers for us or not, was “No, you don’t sell 5-10 packs every hour. But every time you sell a pack of shine it’s the cash profits equal to 17 packs from the other guys.” There are too many stories to tell now of stores selling out of Shine in hours, not days or weeks, because the end user wants to change up their game once in awhile. A huge factor in this was bringing Tyga on as a partner and creative director. He got Shine in front of so many new eyeballs, all those people walked into their local shops asking for it, and that gave store owners the confidence to open accounts. Our retailers and distributors crush it now, and even with developing new products, our demand is almost impossible to keep up with.
What’s next for Shine?
Our brand is defined by luxury and innovation, so you’ll see a constant flow of new products that the industry has never seen before, with luxury in mind. We don’t stand still or rest on our laurels, and its clear that before people thought we were going to be a short-lived novelty, but now its obvious from reorders that Shine has become a lifestyle choice.