Vapouround magazine Special Issue 01 - Page 20

NEWS HOW A SMALL BUSINESS CAN SURVIVE REGULATIONS The recent FDA announcement hit the US e-cigarette market with a force far stronger than the TPD tornado that hit Europe last year. As inspiration to small businesses reeling in its wake, here is a glimpse at the journey to compliance by two very different British eliquid companies. VaperCrew is a premium eliquid brand specialising in complex flavour blends. Founded in early 2014, the company is renowned for flavour innovation, using only high-quality vaping-specific flavours. “Our approach to the TPD has always been positive and uncompromising,” says Melissa Morris, VaperCrew’s MD. “Despite being a very small business, we were proactive from the outset. To fill our knowledge gap, we worked with Diamond Pharma Services, a wonderful team of pharmaceutical, regulatory and compliance consultants. Following GMP guidelines, they helped us to upgrade our laboratory, processes and documentation, and were on-hand to demystify the TPD, which was vital at a time when industry speculation was rife.” By March 2016, VaperCrew was in a strong position but still faced cos tly emissions testing, toxicological reports and notification charges. With an uncertain post-TPD market ahead, calculating the ROI would be nigh on impossible. TPD compliance remained a tall order. Elsewhere in the industry, Lumo, a much larger manufacturer of mono flavoured eliquids, was keen to introduce a range of complex blends and so instigated talks with VaperCrew. “We quickly realised there’s a fantastic synergy between Lumo and VaperCrew,” 18 VAPOUROUND MAGAZINE USA Melissa adds. “We’re both quality driven. VaperCrew has a strong brand and a reputation for flavour innovation; Lumo has a powerful market position, excellent pharmagrade facilities and established distribution channels. Together, we can deliver vapers a much broader range of TPD compliant products.” VaperCrew has now licensed the brand and flavour formulations to Lumo, exclusively for eliquid manufacture and supply in the UK and EU, and they will continue to collaborate on new flavour development. So, after a whirlwind year, what advice does Melissa have for small manufacturers in the US, now facing the FDA ruling? “Don’t give up: common sense is already prevailing in the MHRA’s implementation of the TPD. It’s far from perfect but it’s getting better, so the same may happen in the US. Work together: lobby groups, industry bodies, and collaborations on testing and toxicology costs are all emerging in the UK, so industry union is bound to be helpful in the US too. “Don’t rule out anything: consider partnerships, licences, contract manufacture, expert consultants, international relocation, down-sizing, OEM eliquids, sell-outs, buy-ins, investment, crowd funding, joint ventures – anything and everything! Start now: with your consumers’ needs at heart and a clear vision in mind, take one step at a time. Go for it!”