Want to know how to build a successful vape shop? Learn the key business practices that keep this Santa Monica-based vape shop thriving.
Store: Fix Vapor
Location: 2909 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Hours: Weekdays, 11am-10pm, Weekends, 11am-12am
Just a mile or so away from the dime-a-dozen smoke shops of the Venice Boardwalk, Fix Vapor offers a higher end, more customized experience to lovers of vaping, a.k.a. smoking flavored nicotine-infused juices through an electronic cigarette. Think of it as a specialty boutique, maybe even the Whole Foods of vape shops.
Nestled between a few bars and restaurants, Fix Vapor’s beautiful bar set-up, lounge, and art gallery look like the kind of place where you could easily enjoy a $6 latte. The employees, though painfully hip, are not intimidating and rather knowledgeable and friendly to both their large group of regulars, browsing tourists, and newbies to the world and culture of vaping. There are no strings attached with their try-before-you-buy tastings, so we sat at the bar and sampled some sweet black tea flavored vapor.
Offering both an alternative to cigarette smokers looking to quit, as well as those interested in getting involved in vaping and the culture that accompanies it, Fix Vapor is one of many posh smoke shops opening in California and nationwide. Aside from a beautiful interior and friendly staff, the shop boasts a wide range of products, late night hours, and loyalty discounts to stay one of the most popular shops in the area. We found out what makes them a popular vape shop as they approach their second year in business.
The ASD Insider sat down with Griffin Pujol, Manager of Fix Vapor to get the lowdown on the hottest selling products, retail tips, and what makes Fix so successful.
AI: For those new to Fix Vapor, can you explain how it works?
GP: We mix flavors, here you can try flavors, buy flavors, set ups. We predominantly sell vapor juices and set ups. We have a lounge, people can hang out here, watch TV, listen to music. There’s a culture behind vaping.
AI: So for those people who don’t have their own vape set ups, they can come here and use your equipment?
GP: We have flavors for trials, most trials don’t have nicotine. And from there, most customers buy their own. They like it, it’s super enjoyable.
AI: Do you find your customers to be loyal to this shop?
GP: Definitely. We have regulars. We’ve gotten ten or so people who work on this street to quit smoking and now vape. We have a ton of people who come here regularly.
AI: Does the store offer any loyalty programs to encourage regulars?
GP: We use square for our credit card sales, we have a loyalty program through them, and on your tenth purchase, you get 20% off anything in the store.
AI: What do you offer a potential customer who wants to quit smoking cigarettes?
GP: I would show them the menu and let them take a look at the flavors. For someone who is smoking about a pack a day, I would get them started with about an 18 milligram nicotine juice, which is one of the higher amounts, and over months ween off. The flavors come pre-mixed with nicotine, in varying amounts in two different sizes. I quit smoking by vaping and am now down to 3mg of nicotine.
AI: Do any of your customers opt to not vape with nicotine at all?
GP: Yep, some people do it just for flavor. I actually just sold a few guys five bottles of 0-nicotine juice. It’s composed of food flavoring so some people just enjoy that.
AI: When it comes to a favorite flavor, is it difficult to get people to stray from their usual and try different flavors or types?
GP: People definitely have their favorites. Since we offer trials, it isn’t usually too hard to get people to try something different, but most people have their go-to. We’ve noticed people seem to care if it’s made in California since vaping got its start here, it tends to be the best quality.
AI: How do you think the environment of this store and its design and décor effect business?
GP: Since we have a lounge, a lot of people hang out here, use the wifi, meet up with friends. We wouldn’t have this entire set up if we wanted to just be a one-stop, in-and-out shop. There are a lot of vape shops where once you’ve bought something, they don’t want you to hang out. We encourage it. The more bodies the better.
AI: How do you think your location, on Main Street in Santa Monica affects your clientele?
GP: I would definitely say most of our clientele is higher end. All of our customers know me, and they’re all very cool people. Also plenty of people who work on Main Street.
AI: How many different products and set-ups would your typical vape user own?
GP: Some people collect them, they would have easily five different mods and atomizers. Some set ups are $300 so you may have some nicer, and some lower end. The culture of vaping has become really crazy, people are wearing t-shirts with vape brands on them, they have portable accessories to carry your accessories in.
AI: How do you promote the store?
GP: We’ve been giving out flyers, especially in the beginning, but it’s mostly been word of mouth. We have a light up sign and the place is so nice, people are drawn to it and walk in.
AI: Do seasons or holidays affect sales?
GP: Summertime is definitely the craziest time. Not only is the street packed, but when the weather is better, business is always better. You can do this [vape] anywhere, except restaurants, that’s just rude.
AI: What are some of your best selling products?
GP: Right now a company called ANML. They make two flavors, Carnage and Looper, which is all I use. P.O.E.T. is a very high end brand created by a chef from Italy. DNA is a local brand we carry. Most of these are sold in 15ml and 30ml, 15ml is $12.99 and 30ml are $24.99.