When I started working for PipesandCigars.com a little over ten years ago, I was asked to put together a few tobacco blends to see if people would want to buy them. The result was the beginning of our Hearth & Home line, which has grown far bigger than I would have ever expected. Many of these blends are rather unique, and some are hard to classify. I arrived at those mixtures primarily because I saw gaps in what’s available and wanted to offer some things that no one else did.
In a similar vein, our website has presented a number of innovations in other ways. We were one of the first sites to offer bulk tobaccos by the ounce, rather than restricting purchases to 4 oz., 8 oz. and 1 lb. bags. A few years ago, we took a step forward by looking to the past when we brought out our first catalog. Most mail-order businesses used to rely upon printed catalogs as a way of reaching customers, but with the advent of the internet, most companies don’t feel that it’s necessary to send out catalogs. We realized that there are still a lot of people who don’t go online, and even though some people will surf the web to browse, many find sites confusing or hard to navigate. Initially, we brought a couple of issues a year to press, then four. This year it’s up to six and next year will go up to seven. A number of people have told me that our catalog has a place of honor on their coffee tables, while others love to peruse it while…uh…sitting on the throne.
About a year ago, we had a meeting with the brass and were charged with stepping up the new ideas. Since then, you’ve seen some of the results, like the first and only Pipe Tobacco of the Month Club and the Americanized version of My Own Blend, which allows you to create your own tobaccos to better suit your tastes. Along with the Club, I’ve been asked to make a new blend each month which is included in the Club selection and is also available by itself.
We also helped to bring back a great brand by helping to revitalize Decatur. These pipe racks are made with solid Central American hardwoods and are very reasonably priced. We’ve worked with them to also bring a whole new line of cleaning products to you under the Decatur Pipe Shield name with three products currently available with at least four more coming within the next year or so.
We’re always looking for new brands to present to you, but sometimes we see the need for something that’s just not available, so what do we do? We find a company to make the products to our specifications and bring them to you ourselves. Shortly you’ll see a new brand of pipes called Forseti, and there will be at least one more new brand of pipes next year.
We’ll be bringing a number of new tobaccos to market in the next year, and by a number, I mean around 40. Some are extensions of our current brands, some are part of completely new brands and many are unlike anything else currently available. We’ll be working with no fewer than four different manufacturers to bring these new blends to you. One of these series is something I’m really excited about because it will be a collaboration between myself and a well-known company to bring something very different to market.
We’ve even begun to design some all-new accessories that will make pipe and cigar smokers happy. There are two on the board right now – one will be great for folks on the go and the other is totally unique for use with pipe tobacco. I’d love to tell you more, but I’m worried about industrial espionage.
What it all comes down to is that the next year or two will be really fun and interesting for the P&C Faithful, and the hits just keep on coming!