Vapestore

Vapestore

What inspired Brett Horth to develop of the Vapouriz brand?

Brett Horth (CEO & Founder) was introduced to e-cigarettes in June 2011. A 20-a-day smoker for 20 years, Horth recognised the potential of this new alternative to smoking, and Vapouriz was born.

Vapestore Retail was developed due to the huge growth of the business and large consumer demand. In 2014 the flagship store was opened in Guildford, celebrating great success making a profit within three months of opening. In its first year, it produced revenue of £636,000 and a net profit of £137,000.

What inspired you to consider franchising the business?

Since opening the Guildford store, Vapestore has celebrated the opening of company owned stores in Brighton, Chichester, Kingston and Portsmouth. In 2016, we welcomed the Horsham store, our first franchisee, to the Vapestore family. In March 2017, the second of the franchise stores opened in Dorking.

Franchising the Vapestore brand allows others to share in our success, with assurance that the support received is second-to-none.

The number of adults smoking in the UK dropped to 17.2% in 2015 (from 20.1% in 2010), reaching its lowest point since records began in 1974, and our franchisees recognise the potential for growth within this sector. Brett Horth, CEO of The Vapouriz Group celebrates the entrepreneurship opportunities with the franchise model: “Speaking from experience, I know that running your own business rather than being employed makes people more careful and a lot more focused… We plan to have ten new franchisees by the end of the year,” he says. “In the future the majority of our stores will be franchised.”

2.3 million people are e-cigarette users across England, Scotland and Wales, with half using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.

Vapouriz commenced the franchise programme due to:

  • Significant success of all our company owned stores.
  • Outreach demand. Vapestore is non-biased & welcomes diversity.
  • It reached an unexpected audience, namely with the hobbyist ‘sub-ohm’ culture.

Do you feel that franchising provided you with better growth opportunities than sticking to company owned stores?

Whilst we feel very confident and comfortable opening more company owned stores in the South and South East of England, we would like to expand the brand across the UK and to do that properly, we feel partnering with local franchisees, who have the knowledge and experience of their local areas, will make this much easier and quicker.

Because of the levels of customer service that we insist on, we need people running the businesses to share our passion and beliefs and feel that we will get much better traction in this area with franchise partners. We all share the same vision, and that shows in the entrepreneurial flair our franchisees have for their stores.

Lastly, we want to give other like-minded business owners the opportunity to share in our success. Cancer Research UK confirmed that ‘e-cigarettes are safer than smoking’1 while Public Health England dub it ‘95% less harmful than tobacco’2 and our partners share our vision of creating a safer alternative to tobacco.

What development do you have planned for the future?

We have a brand-new back office system due to go live in July along with a new e-commerce site. Two of the key features for our franchisees will be “Click and Collect” and “Click and Deliver”, where franchisees can direct their customers to our website and be assured of making profits from the sales made online, without them having to spend time or money developing their own solutions.

What have you learnt along the way and what advice would you give other companies thinking of franchising?

While being a part of the vaping industry can be incredibly rewarding, it does not come easy; both Ron Booker (Director of Retail and Marketing) and Max Wright (Franchise Director) have many years of business and retail experience, but becoming franchisors requires another level of skills, which we have been working hard to acquire for the past year or so.

We ran our first company owned store for 18 months before launching the franchise programme, and during that time, we tried to look at it as if it were a franchise so we could address any issues or problems that arose.

We are still learning from others, namely experts in their own field, but we feel that we have now developed a great model that works for both us and the franchisees.

Our advice to anyone considering franchising their business would be to ensure the model works and makes money, for at least 18 months, before moving forward. Then spend time and money getting the best advice you can; there are no shortcuts. Lastly, to join the British Franchising Association (bfa); their support and guidance has been invaluable, and as an accredited member we can safely say that their values and business vision compliments our mission as one of the top five independent vaping businesses (Grocer 2016). Vapestore have also been shortlisted for the Emerging Franchisor of the Year Award with the British Franchising Association, sponsored by HSBC. We look forward to hearing the result at the end of June.


1 http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/2017-02-06-e-cigarettes-safer-than-smoking-says-long-term-study

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review

 
 
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