Tattooing is a centuries-old practice. From Iron-age Britain to the Maori of New Zealand, people have been modifying their bodies by placing ink into their dermis. El Diablo, launched to the market during late-2014, instantly got under the skin of vapers.
The juice market blossomed during 2014 but none of the new entrants held the visually striking appeal of one of the latest entrants. Tattoo fan Viki’s work became an overnight sensation creating enthusiastic support from all quarters.
“It all began the same way I imagine it happened for most juice makers, by making DIY juice for myself. I started with pre-mix concentrates and then began tweaking them by adding little bits of additional flavourings. It wasn’t long before I started dreaming up my own recipes.”
Viki discovered a deep enjoyment in producing her own blends and, ever the social type, sent a couple of online forum members some bottles when they hit hard times.
“The response and positive feedback I got from those juices were totally unexpected so I decided to send some samples out to some forum members that I trusted for honest feedback.”
Following this came a surprise contact from a leading UK juice manufacturer, asking for some samples to try out in return for some constructive feedback. Viki explained her surprised:
“To say I was a little star struck and scared to send my creations to someone who I greatly respected in the industry is a huge understatement!”
But it, like all previous feedback, was incredibly positive and supportive. Suddenly Viki realised that this was no longer a small proposition and that El Diablo was a concept with legs.
“I genuinely believed that I would have a little known product, with just a few online customers – and boy was I wrong!”
“As soon as I decided that I wanted to launch El Diablo as a brand, I knew I wanted to do things properly. Although I have a talent for drawing, I am not a designer. Tom Cato was recommended to me, he is an extremely talented designer and was so easy to work with.
I had a very particular concept in mind, and being a huge fan of tattoo design and the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) I knew that was the way I wanted the branding to go. I wanted the branding to tie in across the range, and to be flexible enough to add new flavours, so having one brand logo with a range of colours seemed like a good plan. Within a short space of time I somehow managed to get all of my ideas across to Tom and the El Diablo swallows and sugar skull logo arrived in my inbox.
I nearly cried!”
Having watched the progress of the business at the expense of the small things in life (such as sleep and meals) it is possible to empathise with an emotional response. Viki has poured her heart and soul into developing a range of juices (already up to 6 varieties) and taking on board advice for future growth.
“The first three months have been hard work, long hours and sleepless nights, but I have enjoyed every minute. I have huge feeling of pride when I see how far we have come in such a short space of time.”
From enthusiastic small DIY 200ml volumes the demand has forced a dramatic shift in operations.
“I now mix up to 20 litres per batch and this is growing all the time. We will very soon outgrow our current location so we need to start looking a new base.”
Coming to terms with the mechanics of running an online business is one further example of the steep learning curve Viki has been on.
“When I started out I hadn’t really thought too much about the wholesale side of the business, I concentrated on online sales through the El Diablo website. The number of wholesale enquiries we receive on an almost daily basis blows me away – and, without doubt, these companies have been instrumental in launching the El Diablo brand into the wider marketplace.”
Viki hasn’t had to field many questions regarding the contents of liquids, mainly due to El Diablo being such a new venture. To date only one customer has asked about testing but this doesn’t mean that the subject isn’t important to her.
“As juice makers we must be aware of the issues and make informed choices about what goes in to our recipes. We have a responsibility to use only highly reputable suppliers and ensure that only the best ingredients make it in to our juice. Sacrificing quality and safety to save a few pennies off of the costs is not an option here.”
Although there is no formal organisation representing liquid producers, Viki’s experience highlights how other manufacturers are being mutually supportive. Not only have they helped her to come to market but also there is an on-going process.
“Safety and education is key to ensuring that we are able to pass our knowledge on to each other…and our customers. Juice makers need to be informed, aware of the issues and have the interests of our customers at the heart.”
Keeping abreast of current events is important to Viki, she says:
“I keep a close eye on vaping politics and try and keep up to date with current issues. It’s important for us all to understand the potential issues and the effect they may have. We all need to accept a level of responsibility to ensure that we continue to highlight the positive impacts of vaping.”
El Diablo liquids can be purchased directly from the website.