By Susan Oser
Photo by Joseph Siano
Parrot Vapors has been a source of Web chatter lately, especially the hosts of Vapenet, who have become addicted to this e-liquid. It\’s probably because their good friend Adam Miranda (A.K.A. vaping_goat), a host on Vapenet, decided to connect them to a few people. In fact, Adam Cericola, co-owner, was the one who asked me if I could do an interview with his brother Aaron a few months ago. I\’m glad that I did, because Parrot Vapors is in it for the long run.
Susan: How did Parrot Vapors get started?
Aaron: It all started with the idea that my brother had. He was convinced that he could make a few flavors himself that people might like. Toward the end of the year in 2013, he asked me to join him, and we had to come up with a company name. Since I had a couple of parrots myself, we thought that that would be a simple, easy and recognizable name for the company. Thus, the name Parrot Vapors was born.
Susan: How did you get into vaping in general?
Aaron: My brother Adam introduced me to vaping back in 2013. He took me to a few vape shops here in the Phoenix area to take a look at some of the products that were on the market at the time. I was told that I should start with a mechanical mod. This way, I would not have to dump or waste money on products that probably were not going to work for me.
Susan: Why did you choose to get into selling e- liquid as opposed to equipment or other things?
Aaron: At the time, there were not many max VG lines available. We wanted to focus our efforts in creating one of the first high VG [or currently called max VG] e- liquid lines that you could actually vape all year long. My brother wanted to create a high-VG line that was light and functioned like an all-day vape, or at least something that could be vaped over and over again. At the time, most lines were selling mainly 50/50 or 60/40 blends.
Susan: What are your most popular e -liquids?
Aaron: Currently, the most popular juice is turquoise, which is a tangy berry vape, or turquoise. It is by far the hottest selling flavor out of Arizona right now. Everybody loves it. Our line is primarily a fruit line, and as the market changes from heavy desserts to fruits, Parrot is really expanding and starting to become a household name when it comes to delicious fruits or candy based e- liquid lines.
Susan: What has been the best thing about creating Parrot Vapors?
Aaron: I would have to say that the best thing that has come out of creating Parrot Vapors is the friendships and the connections that we have made, without a doubt–locally, nationally and globally. I also think it\’s the ability to be able to create an original brand that people actually like. It takes a lot of effort to push hard every day, keeping up your focus through ups and downs in an oversaturated marketplace for e -liquid.
Susan:What has been your biggest disappointment with the company?
Aaron: I wouldn\’t necessarily say there has been one major disappointment with our company. I mean, business is business. It\’s always a risk and roll of the dice. You want to do your due diligence to make sure you are putting your best foot forward to limit your failures. At the end of the day, every week could bring change in how you have to reposition your business. It\’s all about being open -minded and keeping on your toes. Flexibility is key to being successful and learning which cards you have to play or hold back. I would say people in general are the most disappointing factors to any business. People\’s actions nowadays are hard to come by. So, if you find a reputable partner that will help you expand your business, while also seeing if you can help them as well in the same space, make sure not to burn the bridge and keep the channels open.
Susan: What do you want to see improved with Parrot Vapor?
Aaron: We are at least in 25 states now in various stores, and plan to be a national company soon. As we grow as a company, there are growing pains from sales to management to customer service relations. There are always things to work on. Having said that, we feel that our No. 1 priority is taking care of our customers. If we mess up, we must be quick to resolve the issues and make it right. Everyone makes mistakes and falls down on their swords. It\’s not about how you fall; it\’s all about how you get back up.
Susan: How has your life changed since you started vaping?
Aaron: Well, that\’s a great question. I guess it has changed a lot. I went from vaping to starting a business to running around town getting to know our local customers, shop owners and distributors, to expanding into different cities through social media awareness and exhibiting our Parrot brand all over the United States. We are also gaining traction in the U.K. nowadays.
…continued from above
Susan: What has been the biggest surprise you\’ve seen with the vaping community?
Aaron: I guess the response from so many happy vapers vaping on Parrot. I had no idea there would be such a demand. You always hope for the best when starting a business, and so far, it has been an amazing ride and [we] plan on so much more to come.
Susan: What has been your biggest disappointment you\’ve seen with the vaping community?
Aaron: Well, we don\’t know what the regulations from the FDA are going to say, exactly, until it gets passed through the OMB. From the looks of things (and I\’m not saying this to scare anyone), but things don\’t look good as far as what\’s coming down the line. We have to be hopeful that the rules won\’t be so severe that tens of thousands of jobs are just taken away by their ignorance or just lack of caring about our health in general; we are literally changing people\’s lives.
Susan: What are you doing to protect yourself from regulations?
Aaron: Our primary focus at this very moment is preparing for our second e-liquid line that will be released toward the end of December 2015. The proART line is a three-flavored 60 ml bottle that will retail for $26 to $30. It will be some of the cleanest juice on the market by far that will have data backing this up. This lab is an “FDA registered” facility as a tobacco manufacturer, and all of the formulas are on file with the FDA. They practice in accordance with cGMP guidelines (21CFR Part 111). The liquids are tested in their own A2LA accredited ISO 17025 analytical laboratory, on a GC/MS, GC/FID and HPLC, to assure purity and proper nicotine levels. All formulas are made by degreed chemists for maximum shelf life. They use no diacetyl, acetyl propanol or acetoin in any one of their products.
Susan: How do you feel about vaping activism?
Aaron: We all feel strongly about activism and advocacy. Parrot is a board member of our local National Advocacy Vaping Business (NAVB) Association. We are constantly in communications with peers of ours who are members of SFATA and of course The Vaping Militia. Being in the fight and taking part is an ongoing, day -to- day battle. I\’ve also found out that joining these organizations makes a big difference in the local community.
Susan: Why should people care about the vaping community?
Aaron: I think that people are misinformed and not aware of what vaping is. I feel that people need to do their part and be aware of what\’s happening at the local, state and national levels. They should care of the positive experience of vaping. There is a lot of money thrown against it in general. I hear these stories of those who got off cigarettes who smoked for 20 to 30 years. To me, vaping is a revolution that is needed in our society today, especially if people are just trying to find a way to quit smoking.
Susan: What do you see with the future of vaping?
Aaron: I\’m not really sure about the future of vaping. I\’m hopeful they won\’t take it away from us. I would hate to see so much innovation from juice to mods just suddenly go away. At the moment, all we can do is live one day at a time and make more progress each and every day. Keeping up the fight, educating more people coming off cigarettes [and] sharing our experiences with others are the things that truly matter and what strikes a chord in every community. It is inconceivable for me that with a pen stroke, the FDA has the power to wipe out a billion dollar yearly industry and destroy so many jobs, livelihoods and dreams. Keep watch, my friends; keep fighting, and “Drip on, my friends.”
Visit Parrot Vapors in Phoenix, Ariz. or visit http://www.parrotvapors.com. Order retail products from them at http://dallasvaporsupplies.com. For wholesale inquiries, call Aaron Cericola at (480)436 -2029, like Parrot Vapors on Facebook, join the #parrotNATION business page, and follow them @parrotvapors on Twitter. If you connect with them, please let them know that you saw their article in VAPE. They just happen to be subscribers.