JUUL isn’t in the business of big plumes and one size fits all nicotine juices.
One week into the job, Tyler Goldman, new CEO of PAX Labs, is feeling the heat. His chagrin? It’s more the heat of a BIC lighter than the regulated heat of a PAX vaporizer. He’s thought about changing his cell phone number due to the torrent of phone calls.
“We’re sold out,” he says of his company’s JUUL e-cigarette. “We’re doing the best we can to ramp up production.” He’s spent the dawn of his career at PAX talking to distributors and retailers.
JUUL underestimated demand. Currently sold out, phone calls awake Goldman at 2:00am west coast time – he lives in San Francisco, where PAX is based – from east coast clients needing shipments. He awakes for his day before dawn.
According to company numbers, JUUL now ranks as the second leading U.S.-based independent e-cigarette company in sales, despite being in only 7% of stores. It has also out-indexed industry growth in the e-cigarette category by 600% this calendar year.
Goldman will strive to help PAX succeed where it’s, perhaps, now failing: “We can’t meet our current set of customers, which keeps me up at night. We’re in the business of satisfying people at a premium price, and if we can’t deliver, we’re in hot water. It doesn’t matter how well they work if people can’t get our products.” Of course, overwhelming demand is a problem CEO’s love to have. Goldman credits PAX Labs, the tech startups research and development wing.
While much of the tobacco space is dominated by sales and marketing, PAX approaches business like a technology corporation. PAX Labs developed a closed system vaporizer, instead of the more common open system with its large plumes of steam and an assortment of flavors, for controlled nicotine delivery.
Pax Labs nicotine salt solutions for JUUL products give nicotine users what they want – lots of nicotine quickly. The firm’s well-crafted heating element has proven effective at nicotine vaporization.
“People using open-system vapes have to vape more because they are not getting the nicotine they’re used to getting [from cigarettes],” Goldman said. “Our salts solve this problem.”
Not only is JUUL growing. With over 1 million PAX vaporizers sold, PAX Labs is continuing to build loyal fans of its signature loose-leaf vaporizers with new offerings that target each of its key audiences. This summer the San Francisco based company released the Limited Edition Electric Blue colored Pax 2 inspired by snorkel blue. As seen in the runway shows of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Alexander Wang, snorkel blue has been one of Pantone’s top 10 color trends of Spring/Summer 2016. On April 20, signaling a liberalization in the company’s attitudes towards marijuana topics, PAX threw pizza parties across the country.
Things are just starting for Goldman, who has spent his career at technology companies. (He replaces former CEO James Monsees, who remains important to PAX Labs product innovation.)
Goldman believes smoking has yet be disrupted by vaping. That moment is coming, he says: “I have wo