Pictured from left to right: Kyle, Jordan, Aaron, Drew, Andrew (aka Lefty), Thao, Oliver, Justin
Vape Chemist: Briefly talk about the history of your shop.
Strange Clouds Premium Vapes: Drew and I were both heavy smokers, up to 3-4 packs a day and 25 years of smoking between the two of us. After finding out I was pregnant with our child, I was able to stop smoking, cold turkey. Throughout our pregnancy Drew tried to quit smoking; he tried using the patch, Chantix, cold turkey, and pretty much all the different alternatives available, with no success. When our daughter was born she experienced allergies and a cough that we can only link to him smoking. Although he never smoked inside or around her, changed clothes and washed his hands after each smoke she continued to have coughing fits after he held her. We knew we had to find another alternative for our daughter’s (and his) sake and that’s when we stumbled upon vaping. He quit smoking immediately after his first vape, and this was a huge deal because he had been smoking since he was 12 years old!
Being a first time mother, I was extremely cautious of anything that could potentially harm our daughter and I was very skeptical about vaping because it looked like smoke. I associated it with traditional cigarettes and wrote it off as bad. After witnessing our daughter no longer suffering from coughing episodes and the positive changes in Drew’s health, I began researching vaping and quickly began to change my opinion on these products. I remember thinking to myself, "this can be a lifesaver, how is this not advertised to help people get off cigarettes yet?".
When Drew was ready to get off his loaner set up, we went to a smoke shop and purchased a high priced "authentic" kit that stopped working the next day. We went back to the shop and had the worst customer service experience and realized the guy had no idea about the products he was selling. This experience, combined with my realization that there was limited access to these lifesaving products is what sparked the idea for us to venture into entrepreneurship within the industry. We wanted to provide the smoking community with a trustworthy and knowledgeable space where they could get correct information as well as offer high quality products that would work for them and last.
We started off helping friends and family get off cigarettes successfully by introducing them to vapor products. With their support we made the decision to open Strange Clouds. After intense research to locate the best products on the market, we obtained all proper licensing and started ordering product while looking for a location for our shop. We were in contact with over 40 available retail spaces around our area and were denied on every one. At this time vaping was still so new and relatively unknown that property owners were hesitant to give us and our dream a chance. We didn't let this stop us; we persevered by starting a delivery service and took phone orders while continuing to search for a physical location. After about two months of searching, one of the landlords that had initially denied us a space called and said he had changed his mind. He said that he visited another vape shop and saw that it was not like a smoke shop as he had initially thought and realized vapor was something new and different. Because of this positive experience, he decided to support our vision and offer us the space we are in to this day. With little start-up funds left we built out the entire space ourselves and stocked the shop with product. It took about a month to open our doors for the first time and it has been the best experience we could have ever imagined.
VC: In one of the most competitive and lucrative industries as of late, what separates your store from your competition?
SCPV: I don’t know if what we’re doing is different than what other shops are doing, but I think we are successful because we’ve stuck to our shop’s vision to uphold the same high standards since day one. We always provide customers with the best selection of products on the market while providing the best and most trustworthy customer service. We test all hardware before we decide to carry it in the shop. We have strict requirements for e-liquid companies that we bring in to make sure we offer the best for our customers. We also have an amazing team of knowledgeable and responsible employees who share our vision. They ensure our standards are upheld when it comes to customer service, shop appearance and product knowledge. We put all new hires through a rigorous training period.
VC: What has been the key to your success?
SCPV: I believe our success has a lot to do with our honesty and transparency. We ask questions to get a better feel for what each customer needs. We show them product that makes sense to them while educating on all the pros and cons. We want each customer to walk away knowing they selected the best item(s) for their own personal needs. We even offer after hours help through text and FB messenger in case customers have questions. We offer competitive pricing and will even reach out to local shops for specific products to send our customers to if we don’t carry them in our store. We help everyone regardless of where they made their purchase. Our #1 priority is customer satisfaction and safety. I think this is the key to our success. Customers come back telling us they can trust us and know we aren’t here to just ‘make a quick buck.’
VC: What do you love about the vaping industry?
SCPV: We love the vape industry! We love how supportive and united everyone is - from business relationships to customer relationships. Mostly everyone is here to help the next person stay off cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. We have witnessed many sub-groups emerge such as cloud chasers, tricksters, builders, etc., but everyone continues to share the same vision and stays unified as a community, which is exactly what the vape industry needs.
VC: What is the best selling Vape Chemist juice you sell? And why do you think it does so well?
SCPV: I can’t say that there is only one best-selling Vape Chemist flavor. What I can say is that Philippine Mango, Philippine Mango Plus, and Mango Pound Cake are all top sellers for us, with the rest of the other flavors coming in at a close second. Philippine Mango is my personal All Day Vape! I love it because it is clean, it doesn’t gunk up my coils, and is, hands down, one of the best mango flavors out there! It tastes exactly as advertised without leaving that weird metallic taste in my mouth. I am a snob when it comes to e-liquids and Vape Chemist has yet to disappoint! Knowing that Vape Chemist sources only the best ingredients and is manufactured by Molecule Labs gives me peace of mind. It’s a line I can truly stand behind to offer to our customers.
VC: What are you plans for the future?
SCPV: With all the FDA and State regulations pending, we will continue to do what we normally do and abide by any laws set in place. We will continue to advocate and get our customers involved to help spread truth and awareness. No matter what the future holds, we will be here to continue to provide the best possible customer experience, advocate for our customers and this industry that we love, while striving be a part of positive changes for the vape industry.
Strange Clouds Premium Vapes
406 Baker Blvd
Tukwila, WA 98188