Vapor Voice Meets with Founder Lorenzo De Plano for editorial on nicotine salts and Solace Vapor
Above the Salt
Solace Vapor specializes in tobacco-free nicotine and nicotine salt e-liquids expressly designed for smaller, low wattage vaporizers.
BY STEPHANIE BANFIELD
When it comes to e-liquids, the options available for consumers to purchase are seemingly endless. From online retailers to brick-and-mortar shops, hundreds of manufacturers are vying for the attention of potential consumers and competing for their slice of the proverbial pie. But in a market saturated with products of similar styles and flavors, developing one that differentiates itself from the competition can be a challenge. Enter Solace Vapor, an e-liquid manufacturer that has raised the bar for vapor products with the development of a unique category that gives the company a cutting edge over all its competition.
A California, USA-based company that specializes in tobacco-free nicotine and nicotine salts products, Solace Vapor was founded in 2015 in a small basement office in downtown Los Angeles by a group of individuals who saw an opportunity to revolutionize the vapor industry.
"I always saw vaping as the future of the tobacco market, and when forming this company we knew there needed to be a significant evolution from the way things were being executed for the market to develop further," says Solace Vapor Co-Founder and President. "Brendan McDermott, Jomie Raymond, Ricardo Bolanos, Luis Velazquez, Eric Anwar and myself all partnered up when we saw a huge void in the market created by the introduction of popular new non-sub-ohm devices such as the iCare, MyJet, Juul, Phix, etc."
Recognizing that these devices took market share away from the hobbyist vape brands, and concerned about the quality of the liquids available on the market, the Solace Vapor team set out to create something entirely different. "That's when we decided to create Solace Nicotine Salts," he says. "Brendan and Jomie had worked on a number of prestigious global brands and products since the early days of vaping, such as Ripe Vapes and Coastline. This, coupled with Luis and Ricardo's manufacturing and distribution abilities, formed a powerful concoction to propel this new category to the next level."
In the year since it's founding, Solace Vapor has taken the e-liquid industry by storm. The company traded in its tiny basement office where the team first experimented with flavor formulations for a high-rise facility in the heart of Los Angeles. They also upgraded their manufacturing process and mastered the production of a product that has since elevated them to their current status as leader and originator of the open bottle nicotine salts.
"We are the first and most trusted nicotine salt company and currently control approximately 85-90 percent of the entire open bottle market for nicotine salts," says De Plano.
Although its product offerings are geared toward all types of vapers, many of Solace's customers are ex-smokers and people who want to utilize smaller, more casual devices that pack more of a punch.
"Our highly popular nicotine salts line is designed for all smaller, low-wattage vaping devices. Nicotine salts have an altered pH balance through the addition of various nontoxic acidic compounds, which essentially re-create nicotine as it exists in tobacco leaves," says De Plano. "Up until recently, a traditional combustible cigarette would always have a nicotine delivery that was more efficient than a standard vapor product. This is why people who use cigarettes claim not to get the same "rushes" when they use vape products.
Although its products have only been on the market since last year, critics have taken notice the company's innovative e-liquid offerings, and Solace Recently received recognition for its efforts. The company's nicotine salts won the title of "Best New Product" at the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, in January.
"It means a lot to us to win TPE," says De Plano. "We've come a long way, and it's good to see that our slow and steady approach to product development has finally paid off. We've worked hard, and this award and other accolades like it have definitely validated our product category."
Vapor industry players aren't the only ones with positive things to say about Solace's products. With unique flavors that range from Vanilla Bean and Butterscotch to Peppermint Patty and Strawberry Hard Candy, Solace has something to offer vapers with a wide array of varying preferences.
"Vapers who use our flavors are immediately surprised by how much better and more affordable it is when compared to other pre-filled pods and high-nicotine juices," says De Plano.
"We also see many people coming back as return customers due to the flavors and effectiveness of our nicotine salts. We're seeing more and more people rarely going back to vaping normal 0mg, 3mg and 6mg jucies after finishing a bottle of Solace. We're also thankful to our loyal brand following, which is by far the largest in the category."
Another benefit vapers discover when they sample items from Solace's e-liquid selection is the ability to enjoy a satisfying vaping experience without having to switch up their hardware-or turning back to traditional cigarettes for a nicotine fix.
"Having customers reach out to us and tell us they can continue to vape and not smoke now that they have a viable liquid to us with their smaller devices" is one of Solace's biggest accomplishments, De Plano says.
Keeping customers satisfied and earning repeat business is also of the utmost importance to the company's founders. "At Solace Vapor, we like to specialize in quality products and innovation--and, above all, consistency. We're not interested in creating products that only entice a purchaser once or twice," says De Plano. "We've built up a strong base of return customers that we're very proud of. This number of customers grows every day."
In addition to continuing to gain new customers and keep current customers coming back for more of the company's unique e-liquid offerings, the focus of the future for Solace Vapor could potentially involve developing new vapor devices.
"We've made significant forays into hardware, but we're going to let everyone else duke it out and saturate the market with hardware devices before making any decisions ourselves," says De Plano. "We see ourselves as a flavor- and product-oriented company first. We want to focus on creating all of the e-liquids that go into these devices and controlling that aspect of the business first."
Though recent regulations have prevented the Solace team from developing new products to add to their current lineup, De Plano remains hopeful for both the future of his company and of the vapor industry as a whole.
"Right now, we think the market is still licking its wounds from years of both e-liquid and hardware product over saturation," he says. "We also feel that the vape industry is still in its infant stages and that there's still much to do in terms of product development and innovation across the board. As the industry matures, we're going to see a very different and less saturated market space as less dedicated players start to fall by the wayside. Solace would like to approach the market in a different way by emphasizing customer loyalty, product quality and focusing on building a powerful brand that retains its customers."