Gary Riddle - Mr. Good Vape
Gary Riddle started vaping to save his own life, not realizing he’d go on to alter the course of an entire industry in the process…
When trading in cigarettes for vapes in 2011, Riddle realized two things: 1) this could help others quit smoking and 2) the vaping products available at the time were flawed. The cartridges he’d ordered came dry and were expensive to refill, giving him the incentive to create his own brand. And that’s how Mr. Good Vape was born.
With an ambition of saving money and creating a quality product, Gary flocked to online forums to learn as much as possible. The science and terminology intimidated him at first, but the community of like-minded individuals gave him the nudge to teach himself everything from VG to PG and back again.
Thanks to an introduction to VapeRev, Gary took the path towards creating Mr. Good Vape as an eLiquid line (instead of a traditional shop) and wagered the last $2500 of his savings on supplies to build it out. It was the opportunity of a lifetime -- but was it the right place and time?
With great risk comes great reward. That’s what Gary found out -- and what he wants DIY-ers to know as well.
Gary’s self-taught success came as a result of mimicking food recipes with flavor extracts, mixing-trying-tasting, and using his sense of smell to get the taste spot-on. His craft evolved when he was contracted to develop gourmet mixes that rounded out traditional candy/fruit flavors with complex coffees, tobaccos, European profiles and more.
It was the start of the ejuice revolution, and Gary was the mixologist at the forefront of it. His earlier recipes like OBA OBA (layers of creams with coconut hints) and SOUR BELTS (candy) showed his knack for deconstructing complex flavors, using layers and bases in his mixes, and creating subtle taste notes with certain extracts. It became flavor art for Gary… and he’s ready to pass the baton on to DIYers.
DIY: the rise, the regulations and the future of the community.
You’ve probably heard us mention the #NotTobaccoStillTobacco campaign regarding FDA legislation that will severely impact consumer e-juice purchases. Commercial vaping as we know it could end… and that’s where the One Shot solution comes in.
With the intention of giving end users the ability to craft their own juices, Liquid Barn and Mr. Good Vape have partnered to release 3 One Shot Flavor Concentrates through our Tastemaker Series: MELON HEAD (mango, papaya, cantaloupe), MOON SUGAR (butterscotch, graham cracker, sugar cookie) and SWEET LOVIN’ (strawberry, watermelon, bubblegum). The good news for DIY-ers is that they can still get the Mr. Good Vape flavors they’ve come to know and love -- with the added flexibility to make it their own.
To Gary, his community’s ability to personalize their vaping experience is what’s most important. One Shots not only allow customers to input exactly what they want (i.e. nicotine levels, flavor) but they also provide a quality, less expensive product for vapers of all levels. “It’s a necessary evolution for the industry. Once the user tries it one time, they’ll realize the savings are there, and that One Shots give them more options. For example, if they drip, they can use half the extract for the dripper and the other half for the tank.”
With the way regulation is starting to look, finished eLiquid products (juice put together on a shelf) will have a tough time passing regulations to be sold on the market. If more companies follow suit with the DIY/One Shot approach, it’ll give companies like Mr. Good Vape a chance at showing regulators that selling nicotine-less products as single components is a real vaping solution. “There’s a lot of benefits to DIY over commercial juice (even besides regulatory). DIY has a better heart, community, and craft -- rather than just being about the marketing and money.”
When he started on DIY forums, Gary jumped in to offer his experience and advice as a mixologist, while giving and receiving honest feedback. DIY gives people the ability to define their craft, be creative, share recipes, and bypass the marketing and the commerciality of the industry. Gary believes that somewhere along the way, commercial vaping lost its authenticity and lost sight of what’s best for the consumer. With One Shots, he aims to “bring credence to DIY and give it more legitimacy as we evolve to flavoring companies instead of vaping companies.”
Riddle is rightfully upset with the commercial vaping landscape, whose extreme marketing push has created a volatility based on trends, instead of remaining focused on flavor and quality. “People are just trying to replicate mainstream candy flavors, without focusing on the creation of juice to help the consumer. It’s just to turn a profit.” He affirms that the core of vaping should be to offer a creative alternative to cigarettes, and to support brands that advocate for the industry as a whole, noting that “the flooded marketplace makes it harder to unite and make the right moves for the industry.”
Mr. Good Vape’s hope is to provide new, tobacco-less products that give DIY-ers the freedom to be tastemakers, while acknowledging that “it’s still going to be a fight on all fronts -- one that’s important to join with advocacy.” Citing Fig Ramsey as one of his advocacy heroes, Riddle agrees that we need to act as a combined adult unit to make and secure change. “Things are in a bit of a grey area, and it’s intimidating to go against Big Pharma and Big Tobacco. The only way to combat regulations is at the local level, when people come together to support local advocacy groups. That’s the future of our industry.”
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See more from the interview with Gary Riddle on DIY or DIE's YouTube channel.