180 Smoke began as a crowd-sourced socially conscious venture with contributions from thousands of smokers who managed to leave cigarettes behind. Currently, the company serves customers with retail outlets in the US and Canada, and accessible to the rest of the world trough their extensive online store. 180 Smoke manufactures their own high quality e-juices and provides a wide variety of carefully selected devices and accessories for all type of former-smokers. The company was founded as a customer oriented brand, committed to making the transition away from to tobacco simple and easy for customers to ensure their best chance at success.
“The company began in Toronto, Canada with Boris Giller, Ashutosh Jha, and Canadian heart surgeon, Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar. After years of seeing the damage done to his patients through years of smoking, Dr. Gopal wanted to provide and alternative to those who he knew would never give up nicotine. Realizing that e-cigarettes had no tar, carbon monoxide, and less of the carcinogens found in cigarettes he knew this was an opportunity to make a real and lasting impact” begins Joel Rudewicz, operations manager of 180 Smoke US, based in Buffalo NY.
180 Smoke began as purely online business, but the demand grew so quickly that customers began showing up at the office and so to deal with the rising popularity, the three founders decided to open a brick and mortar location. A few months later, Joel joined their growing team.
“Three months after that first store was opened, I came on the scene. I was actually hired just as retail staff, but then – due to the entrepreneurial nature of the company – we were expanding very quickly with new ventures and additional stores. Those first members like myself, started to transition into different roles playing on the varied skills we brought. Now, many years later, because I am originally from New York, I am assisting with the expansion into the states” explains Joel.
Today 180 Smoke has over 20 locations across Canada, 1 in Buffalo, with more in the pipeline.
What 180 Smoke really specializes in is education. Educating their customers to be successful and live healthier lives. Dr. Gopal’s personal connection to their mission means he often travels around speaking on the benefits of vaping as opposed to cigarette smoking to government committees, advocacy groups, and the medical community. The reason 180 Smoke was started, was not to encourage people who aren’t already smoking to start vaping, but to help smokers to make the switch. The company has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers over since it began, and that is what keeps them inspired and continually working hard to bring great products to the market.
In addition to providing quality products and top-notch service, 180 Smoke also works with customers to develop outstanding e-juices.
“Before I began working with 180 Smoke, I used to be an archaeologist. But joining an entrepreneurial environment like 180 Smoke in an emerging industry meant we were the ones who had to figure everything out. At 180 Smoke I was able to take advantage of many skills I never knew I had and I transitioned in to all sorts of roles. I managed stores, was the facilities manager for a time, had our clean room built, and even developed the machines that produce our e-liquid line. And that’s how we like to do it here. By producing our own liquid, we know what goes into it and where everything is sourced, and so we can assure our customers the highest purity standards,” mentions Joel.
All e-juices are made in North America with only three main ingredients, and are regularly tested in a FDA accredited laboratory. 180 Smoke credits the success of their e-juice lines to their customers. The collaborative relationship between the business and the customers, allows 180 Smoke to apply constructive feedback so they can provide liquids which customers can rely on.
“Our stores are meant to be very clean, modern, and inviting as well. We want the locations to feel comfortable for all our customers – no matter their experience level. Some customers can get nervous about entering a vape shop, so we made sure our physical locations are very bright and streamline – like an Apple Store for vaping. We don’t want our customers to feel intimidated – our relationship with them is what makes us who we are,” mentions Joel.
The sleek and modern design is most refreshing for customers who many have held off on learning more about vaping because the dark and cluttered shops they had seen before didn’t spark their interest. At 180 Smoke, customers of any legal smoking age or level of experience can feel at ease.
“I don’t consider myself a vape guy by any means,” says Joel. “At 180 Smoke, we want to help people find smoking alternatives to tobacco. Of course, we love helping our customers that just love vaping, but who we are as a company is rooted in our desire to help people transition away from smoking cigarettes. We want to help our customers through that process and make it as smooth and painless as we can. We know the process is not easy, but we have the tools and resources to help each and every person that walks through our doors,” he continues.
When customers visit a 180 Smoke location, they can expect a great experience and exceptional customer service. The teams are carefully chosen to include members that are outgoing, eccentric, unique, and above all else – knowledgeable.
“We like to hire people who have ideas and want to contribute to the success of the business. We want to surround ourselves with people who are as passionate as we are and who want to make a positive impact,” explains Joel. “That is really why I have stayed with this company for so long – the people make all the difference. I went to school to study history, but this company provides me the opportunity to regularly seek out new challenges and ways of helping the public, so I never have a boring day. It’s nice to be around people who are so happy to be a part of something that is truly bettering people’s lives,” he continues.
180 Smoke continues to better our world one person at a time. By providing excellent products at the highest quality, unmatched customer service, and finding right balance between advocacy and innovation, the Canada born company continues to stay true to their original mission of helping customers find healthier and sustainable alternatives.
“For us it’s more than just a business. Yes, we are making money, but we are doing so by providing products and services that are helpful and making a difference in people’s lives and that feels good,” he adds.
Looking forward to the future, Joel is excited to see the continued expansion into the states. He is also excited to help make vaping more mainstream and to help dissolve some of the negative stigmas that surround vaping and the vape culture.
“We have a saying here, ‘if you must, don’t combust’ and that will continue to be our focus moving forward. We are always looking forward to reducing harm and helping people live better, healthier lives,” he concludes. SVBS
To learn more about the 180 Smoke story and the products they offer, head to www.180smoke.com.