We were lucky enough to get hold of Damien Scott, the UK Commercial Director over at SKYCIG for a chat about future developments of the brand, the the future of the electronic cigarette industry in the UK and the recent acquisition of Blu Cigs by Lorillard.
Damien has been at the heart of the team behind SKYCIG’s early success, he is now responsible for building the SKYCIG brand into an electronic cigarette powerhouse known across Europe and beyond.
His previous experience in event marketing has been crucial to SKYCIG’s success up to the present day. He has assisted on the execution of major experiential projects for global brands as well as possessing vital experience in the retail sector.
Ecigclick: To start off it would be great to hear a little background on SKYCIG, who is behind the brand and the motivation behind the launch.
Damien: SKYCIG is an organisation consisting of professionals experienced in marketing healthcare products. They have been joined by a superstar team dedicated to building a brand which could potentially dominate the UK market for years to come and ultimately replace tobacco.
Our initial research inspired us to source the finest and most reliable product at that time. This ethos has never changed and unlike some of our defunct and now former rivals we are committed to the industry for the long haul.
Ecigclick: What would you say sets SKYCIG apart from the many other E-Cig brands available?
Damien: I don’t think there is a single product out there that could come close to the authenticity of our brand when it comes to size. To many, size matters – and smoking a large device as opposed to the little white stick can make all the difference to the user experience.
When you become a SKYCIG customer, you are welcomed into our community. Our official Facebook page and mailing list are subscribed to by thousands and are just one piece of the pie in terms of building a community for all users. We have invested in improving the customer experience for all. I feel this should be recognised – our team have done a superb job up to now.
Ecigclick: What was the first e cigarette you tried and what made you give it a go?
Damien: I tried an e-cigarette from a shopping centre stand one weekend. It was repulsive. When I found out about the opportunity with SKYCIG, I was sceptical until I realised the extent of the problems the industry have with poor products and wanted to be a part of something first-class.
Ecigclick: What flavours are you vaping at the moment?
Damien: We are currently testing some exciting new flavours to add to our product line. From our current range, my favourite has always been Magic Menthol 6mg.
Ecigclick: What e cigarette are you vaping at the moment?
Damien: SKYCIG of course!
Ecigclick: The big news in the e cig world was of course the acquisition of BluCigs by Lorillard. What’s your view on this, do you see it as a positive or negative move for the E Cig industry?
Damien: Lorillard’s acquisition of Blucig will be massive for their retail profile. Blu will now be widely available across the US and they will benefit massively from the uptake for their popular product. From an industry perspective looking over at ‘big tobacco’ however, this can be viewed as a negative move.
Consumers look to e-cigarettes as a shining light, something to help them escape the addiction that is without a doubt a major killer. Time will tell as to whether this is a switch for the right reasons – i.e. phasing out tobacco and making a switch towards e-cigarettes and dominating the market from the outset.
Ecigclick: What regulations do you foresee (if any) coming into place in the UK?
Damien: We hope to see e cig regulation for the better. Products that are only allowed to be sold after rigorous testing and that are used for the purpose e-cigarettes were created for in the first place – to provide a truly healthy alternative to smoking. Granted, our product will be a part of this and we would encourage the relevant people to come forward and take this growing industry onto the next level.
Ecigclick: There have been warnings that ‘Not all ecigs are created equally’. Do you agree with this?
Damien: Yes. When a transaction takes place between two people, the seller is expected to maintain honesty and integrity during the transaction and to provide first-rate aftercare. Some e-cig companies are ‘at it’ but this is something that an official governing body or government authority for e-cigs could flush out.
Ecigclick: There have been calls for more transparency when it comes to the production and ingredients contained in e-liquids, do you think this is something that needs addressing?
Damien: Absolutely, as I’ve said previously we would welcome tighter regulation on e-cigarettes and would be happy to have a wider conversation while we are at it to establish the suitability of liquids prior to sale.
Ecigclick: What steps do SKYCIG take to ensure their products and e-liquid meets the standards expected by your customers?
Damien: SKYCIG has been certified as a safe to use by various health professionals around Europe, including the University of Prague. We are undertaking a new series of e cigarette tests at present to continue our commitment to product safety. We await the World Health Organisation’s safety reports and stance on e-cigarettes overall, though we are confident the outcome will be good news.
Ecigclick: Where do you see the UK e cig industry as a whole in the next 2 years?
Damien: In an ideal world we will see regulation, a variety of product available in stores and stats indicating that more are making the healthy switch. I know you said 2 years but who’s not to say we will be sitting here in 10 years time and cigarette bins and ashtrays will be a thing of the past?
Ecigclick: Where do you see SKYCIG in 5 years time?
Damien: The brand that we are building is one that is prepared to last the distance on whatever road this industry takes. You need to see from the top down – to our Operations, Marketing, and Support – to really see there is a buzz about the place. I would envisage we will be positioned as a major player in the industry and will continue to have a positive impact on people’s lives. We love our customer testimonials; they are one of the most redeeming parts of this job and we would love to continue to breed success for ex-smokers.
Ecigclick: What advice would you give to tobacco smokers considering trying e cigarettes for the first time?
Damien: Find an e-cigarette that you are comfortable with holding and that you enjoy the taste of. The weight of the battery will become second nature and you will forget about the nasty ash you used to have to tap away from a lit cigarette. Final tip – try SKYCIG’s variety of flavoured cartridges, you will be surprised!
Ecigclick: What can we expect from SKYCIG in the near future, any exciting developments/new product additions you can share with us?
Damien: Yes, we are currently trialing some new PCCs with selected customers which will increase battery efficiency to no end. New e cig flavours are also frequently on our mind. We are no different to anyone else in the industry and are developing day by day.
Again, thanks Damien for taking the time to chat with us!