Vapouround magazine VAPOUROUND MAGAZINE OCTOBER ISSUE19 - Page 41

It is often said that to successfully quit smoking, you must want to quit smoking. And that was certainly the case for PJ Empire owner, Alex Thienel: “I began smoking at 17 and continued until I was 30. In 2013, I was in a stressful job at a printing company and I was getting through two packs a day.” It was only when his wife fell pregnant that Alex made a firm decision to quit in anticipation for all the changes that were to come. As is often the way, he had attempted to quit with nicotine gum and spray multiple times but always relapsed sooner or later. Thankfully, fate found a way. “It all began for me when I stumbled across a vaping video on YouTube,” Alex said. “I picked up a basic Ego-style device and then continued to vape for another year-and-a-half or so before I started making flavours of my own.” Alex built a clean room, bought some flavour concentrates and began learning the mixing process. He shared his early creations with friends who then passed them onto their friends, and he soon had 30-40 people enjoying his e-liquids. With so much vocal support, starting an e-liquid business of his own was a no-brainer. “There weren’t many flavour companies around at the time,” he said. “I found a manufacturer in Germany who continues to produce liquids for us to this day. In 2015 we released our signature line.” The line comprised of Apple Strudl, Strawberry Strudl and American doughnut-inspired Yummy Dohh, which remain their most popular e-liquids. PJ Empire customers now have 13 flavours to choose from, encompassing pastries, desserts and fruits. “We try to release a new flavour every 3-4 months. But only if it’s good enough and ready to hit the shelves.” The company has rapidly evolved and now offers everything from nicotine boosters to premium-grade Cotton Queen RDA and RDTA cotton. But the big business is in the DIY market, which now accounts for around 70 percent of PJ Empire’s sales in Germany. “There is a huge DIY community in Germany,” according to Alex. “And we provide everything that vapers need to create the highest- quality liquids.” As much as Alex enjoys serving the vaping community, he derives the most satisfaction from seeing smokers convert to vapers through the use of PJ Empire products. And it’s this goal that is behind the company’s plans for the rest of 2018, which many will look back on as the year of pods and salt-based nicotine. “Our Salt Fix nic salts range will be coming out at the end of 2018. There’ll be four to six tobacco flavours that are ideal for pod systems. This market is really booming and is helping more smokers quit than ever before. After all, that’s what this industry is all about.” VM19 | 41