Jason Healy: Well, we came up with blu™ electronic cigarettes after we had seen e-cigs in their infancy and didn’t like the look and feel, didn’t like the branding—or the lack of branding—and so we pretty quickly decided it was a space we wanted to be in. For one, I was a smoker and the product intrigued me; and from there we just tried to start learning. We did about eight months of research: looking into the category, the product, the engineering, the branding side and the sales process, until we finally launched.
It looked a lot like the other e-cig products on the market today, with the white battery and the fake filter … like a cigarette with a red light. That’s how it started, and then we quickly realized that to get people to use it regularly instead of just try it, we had to have some improvements. For one, it had to look something like the pack, because I realized when I was out testing that I couldn’t carry multiple batteries in my pocket and multiple cartridges. I needed to have a carry case, and then the batteries needed to be charged on the go. We’ve still got work to do, but we had to innovate early so that people would actually use it, and it wasn’t just a novelty product.
The blue tip. We decided early on that we didn’t want it to look like a cigarette, and so the first thing to change other than the general appearance was the light on the end. We looked at all the colors, and we wanted to go the opposite. The cigarette’s red, and we wanted to be blue; we wanted to be unique, and rather than a hot, burning color, we wanted to be cool and vibrant. And we think blue is the best way to do that. Once we did that, we thought, “What a great name for it; people will see the product, and the name is what they see in the color.” As for the spelling, it’s not effective for trademarks or for branding to actually have the name of the color, so we took the “e” off: “blu” was the brand, and “blue” was the color.
Well, obviously smoking is a very social thing, because smokers congregate. But more importantly for e-cigs, it’s forming a very tight community; we really believe in that, so we’re going to continue to develop that social aspect of our product in the future.
Great things. When I look at 2014 and 2015, we’ve really returned to focusing on product development. This year, for instance, we have a tremendous amount of product initiatives and changes coming up that’ll be huge for customers. We’re constantly striving for better and more in all that we do now that we’re post-acquisition, and we’re moving along really well. It’s fun to see how excited the blu team is now that they can see our path forward even more clearly.