Steamachine, Portsmouth

Travelling back to a simpler time aboard the Vapouround bus

With so many vape shops springing up all over the country, standing out from the crowd is more important than it’s ever been. Alongside first-class customer service and quality products, success in the modern vape market is about brand identity – something Portsmouth’s Steam Machine has in spades.

There are no black snapbacks here. Steam Machine’s staff are dressed to the nines, in keeping with the shop’s rustic aesthetic. The shop is like a portal to a simpler time, albeit one rife with high-end mods and premium e-liquids. 

Almost as important as what goes on within the confines of a shop itself is the role of social media. While I’m generally more comfortable behind the camera (or, better still, nowhere near it), the social media guys at Steam Machine helped add to the excitement as the bus welcomed vapers throughout the day.

With the bus set up, social media manager Darrell hopped aboard to introduce himself and us to his audience watching on Facebook Live. A tour of the bus followed and his excitement at revealing some of the features boosted my mood for the day ahead.

Darrell’s journey from smoker to vaper is one tinged with tragedy. A serious house fire severely damaged his property, causing significant stress which lead him back onto cigarettes after he’d previously managed to quit with the aid of a cigalike.

“A while after that, a friend of mine introduced me to this ‘vaping thing’. It had come a long, long way since I had the cigalike.”

Now, as well as being a passionate vaper and Steam Machine employee, Darrell is looking to start an advocacy group, uniting vape companies from around the country.

As a SNES Street Fighter battle between staff ensued behind us, I spoke to visitor Roy – a somewhat sceptical smoker whose friends were increasingly making the switch to e-cigarettes. He appeared to be close to pulling the trigger, so it was an honour to be the one to help him enter the world of vaping with the aid of a free, easy-to-use starter kit. 

Next up was Danny, who seemed as interested in the vehicle’s potential as a party bus as any of its contents. I soon directed him to the vape box to try out some potential new liquids.

“There are so many of them now, I might never find the right one. I can only keep trying, I suppose!”

I headed back into the shop where staff and customers chatted casually. It was clear from the relaxed atmosphere that they felt at home. As manager Paul explained, that’s all part of Steam Machine’s charm.

“It’s like a social club, really. We don’t pressure people to buy things.”

With the evening upon us, it was time to pack down and head off for the next leg of the journey, full steam ahead

Sun, sea, VG/PG

A truly extraordinary day at BHVape

While no two days aboard the Vapouround bus are the same, you do come to expect some things to pan out in a certain way. One thing you don’t expect is to be greeted at your destination with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for a cup-winning football team, but such was the case at BHVape in Bournemouth.

As our expert driver inched the bus into a seemingly-impossible space, Johnnie Lovell and his team waved excitedly, smiles lighting up their faces. We hopped off and gratefully accepted the first of many offers of coffee. Not a bad start to the day!

Before opening the bus to the public, we took a few minutes to check out the shop. Packed with knick-knacks and curios, BHVape has the air of a curiosity shop about it. You could certainly imagine Johnnie operating it as such in another era.

Doughnuts-in-hand, we opened the bus to the locals and the many customers already relaxing in the café area of the shop. Long-time BHVape customer Tom shared his story – a familiar tale of slipping back into bad habits before finally quitting for good.

“I would never go back now. I took a drag of a cigarette recently and it instantly reminded me of my first ever puff as a kid. Such a nasty, horrible taste. Vaping does come with its own set of issues – I’m forever cleaning VG from my windows for one thing – but that’s nothing compared to what you put up with as a smoker.”

Throughout the day I alternated between the bus and the shop, where it became increasingly difficult to find somewhere to sit. Even a couple of pet dogs lay flopped below their owners’ feet. 

One all-too-common criticism of some vaping shops is their cliquishness. BHVape is the exact opposite – as much a welcoming community centre as a supplier of vape products. It’s no wonder people were sticking around. 

As BHVape’s Alex played Mega Man X on the SNES on the bottom deck of the bus, customers upstairs tried some e-liquids on the Vape Station. Old Skool Vape’s Mayhem was proving to be very popular, with one vaper commenting that it would go very well with a vodka and coke. We, of course, stuck to coffee and doughnuts (of which BHVape seemed to have a limitless supply.)

Vaping is above all about health. I spoke to no fewer than four people affected by COPD who had made the switch to vaping with their doctors’ blessing. It was a reminder of just how fortunate we are in this country to not only have the support of the government and NHS but also laws that allow for the likes of BHVape to operate.

After yet more coffee, some goodbye hugs and a few photos, we were back on the road, with Johnnie’s promise ringing in our ears.

“Come back in the summer. I’ll have a band, I’ll have a BBQ. We’ll put the ‘B’ in Bournemouth!”

Vaping in the Big Smoke – SN Vaping, Hornchurch

We conquered the capital on the Vapouround bus

Like Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the black cab, the red double-decker bus is an unmistakable signifier of London life. It is so integral to our capital’s identity that filmmakers frequently use it as a visual cue to help us identify a film’s setting within seconds of the opening credits. 

While we can’t claim that the Vapouround bus has had quite as big an impact on our cultural identity, it has fast become the ‘big red bus’ of the vaping industry. On a mild May morning, the bus weaved its way through East London’s streets and to SN Vaping in Hornchurch.

Shop owner Steve Nichols prides himself on supporting his local vaping community. Having cut his industry teeth as a YouTube reviewer and vlogger, Steve bit the bullet last year, selling his house to bankroll the shop. Since opening in January, SN Vaping has developed a reputation as the friendliest and cheapest in the area.

“Some shops will happily sell customers kit that they don’t even need but we look after our customers so they get exactly what they require. If they’re a bit low on funds, I trust them to pay us later.”

We set up shop – a pretty straightforward process now the bus has been revamped – and began welcoming our first customers of the day. Mark was one of the first to pop his head through the door and have a look at the shiny interior. Mark successfully switched to vaping five years ago and hasn’t touched a cigarette since.

“I started with a basic pen and it’s now descended into a full-on mod addiction. I can’t get enough of them!”

Mark’s only complaint is one that we hear far too often.

“I hate that I have to huddle alongside smokers in the smoking area. I took up vaping to get away from that.”

Most of those who stopped by were SN Vaping customers, many of whom praised Steve for his expert knowledge and continued support as they transitioned from smokers to vapers. 

Vapers are spoiled for choice in Hornchurch, not to mention the wider London area which is easily accessible by the local Tube station. Nonetheless, Steve has developed a loyal customer base in just four months.

The most gratifying part of working on the bus is handing out starter kits in exchange for cigarettes or tobacco. One person to make the exchange was Dylan, a homeless former-smoker whose mod had been stolen days before. Dylan couldn’t afford a replacement and was grateful to be able to exchange some rolling tobacco for a pod starter kit.

“I really don’t want to smoke but without my mod it can be tough. This vape is a lot less bulky. This will really help me out.”

That is, after all, what our industry is all about: helping improve the lives of smokers by informing them about e-cigarettes. Thanks to the support passionate vapers like Steve, there has never been a better time to quit.

Tamworth St Editha’s Square

The Vapouround team brought our beloved bus to St Editha’s Square in Tamworth on Friday September 22. It was great to finally make this trip as the event had been book and rescheduled in our diary a number of times.

Our bus really does seem to bring out the best in people and we received a really warm welcome from everyone we saw on the day.

In fact as soon as the bus had parked and opened up, we had the eyes and ears of the locals who were all curious about what was going on.

Perhaps the strangest reaction – and one I have never had before – was from a group of pensioners who looked very excited to see us. They milled around for a while until a spokesperson was appointed to enquire whether we were here to promote holidays for senior citizens.

They said the bus looked so bright and colourful that they would have loved to tour the country for day trips with us.

We explained that the bus was in town to promote vaping and help smokers quit cigarettes and they agreed that was a really worthwhile cause to promote.

Tamworth proved to be a really pro-vaping town and throughout the day we saw many more people vaping than smoking, a rare but promising sight. We were encouraged by the fact that there are plenty of vapers despite a scarcity of vape shops around the area. One of these vape shops, Drip Tease, wasn’t far from where the bus was positioned for the day. The staff came out to say hello and express their thoughts and excitement on how good the bus looked. 

Samples went down a treat as always, because let’s face it everybody loves a freebie, especially a blow-up flamingo that will hold your mod and juice!

Tamworth is a town that the Vapouround Bus will definitely be visiting again, as much by popular demand as personal preference. So, if you do live in the area keep an eye on the Vapouround Bus website to see when we’ll be returning.

We’re always happy to answer any questions and if you want to know more about getting the Vapouround Bus to your area or store, then contact either David Turner or Jorgie Shaw on 01332 650239.

Alternatively, they can be reached by email:

dave@vapouround.co.uk

jorgie@vapouround.co.uk  

Stafford 25th August

The Vapouround bus visited Stafford on the 25th August making it the second tour date that the new bus has attended.

As renovations are still going ahead with the bus we are still having to use the same set up as Newark-on-Trent, with the vape sampling station outside the bus itself.

At first I thought this might put people off because I was so used to seeing people coming on board the bus and trying e-liquids from our top deck vape sampling station.

However my fears proved groundless as we had a great day from start to finish. People were genuinely excited about our plans for the bus and were asking what it would look like when it was fully kitted out which was great to hear.

This was a beautiful sunny day and the sunlight really highlighted the colourful adverts which adorned the windows of the new double-decker.

For those in the vaping industry the names on the bus are household names but this was the first opportunity that a lot of the non-vaping community had of seeing these companies advertised anywhere.

I can honestly say that Stafford had one of the highest footfalls with people coming up to us all day to find out what was going on.

One man explained how he had been vaping now for more than two years and had never looked back.

He was a former heavy smoker who had been warned by his doctor that unless he quit smoking then he was risking his life.

This was enough for him to seek alternatives to smoking and vaping proved to be the only thing that was able to get him off tobacco for good.

It is always great to hear stories like this and it cannot be emphasised enough how great it us for us to hear stories like this.

The local vaping shops around the area came to say hi and introduce themselves and, as ever, it was a pleasure to meet members of the local vaping community.

A lot of people told us how they had first seen the bus at Vaper Expo back in October last year  which was the first time we unveiled the bus to the public.

Time flies and we are getting ready to take this new bus to the NEC in Birmingham for this October’s event and we are looking forward to that very much indeed.

So, if you will be at the Vaper Expo UK in October pop along and see the official launch of the NEW Vapouround bus as we would love to see you on board.

We are also always happy to answer any questions and if you want to know more about getting the Vapouround Bus to your area or store, then contact either David Turner or Jorgie Shaw on 01332 650239.

Alternatively, they can be reached by email:

dave@vapouround.co.uk

jorgie@vapouround.co.uk

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Newark-On-Trent

In case you didn’t know, we have a new bus and this was to be its first official outing.

As a result everyone was both excited and nervous at the same time when we visited Newark-on- Trent in Nottinghamshire on August 11.

This was to be a little different from bus tours of the past because the renovations to the inside of the bus were not yet complete but that was not going to stop us from bringing the Vapouround magic to Newark.

Instead of people trying out new juices on the top deck of the bus, we set up a gazebo on the outside

with the vape boxes underneath.

We had other vape goodies on display too and, to be honest, it all looked rather good.

The new bus turned heads on the drive to Newark and, always, it was soon drawing a crowd of curious individuals who wanted to know what was going on.

We had a lot of interest in the bus throughout the day and a large cross section of people came along to check us out, sample e-liquids and find out more about vaping generally.

A lot of the interest we did have was from smokers who were looking to take the transition to vaping to better the quality of their lives and kick the smoking habit.

It’s always nice to help non-experienced vapours and give them on advice on what would work best for them. It also helps when they sample the vape boxes so they can get an idea of what flavours they like best, as there is nothing worse than taking the step to quit smoking and finding out the e-liquid you have purchased isn’t for you. So, it is always nice to try before you buy.

During the day we also handed out sample bags courtesy of Premier E-Cigs who are the UK Distributors for products from top names including Naked Fish, Mello Buddha, Hangsen and The Council of Vapor.

The sample bags went down a treat with the public and this was another great bit of PR work for the vaping industry as we met lots of great people and had a lot of fun.

The bus will continue its tour of the UK and it could soon be coming to a town or city near you.

We’re always happy to answer any questions and if you want to know more about getting the Vapouround Bus to your area or store, then contact either David Turner or Jorgie Shaw on 01332 650239.

Alternatively, they can be reached by email:

dave@vapouround.co.uk

jorgie@vapouround.co.uk

Vapouround Newark August 17

In case you didn’t know, we have a new bus and this was to be its first official outing.

As a result everyone was both excited and nervous at the same time when we visited Newark-on- Trent in Nottinghamshire on August 11.

This was to be a little different from bus tours of the past because the renovations to the inside of the bus were not yet complete but that was not going to stop us from bringing the Vapouround magic to Newark.

Instead of people trying out new juices on the top deck of the bus, we set up a gazebo on the outside

with the vape boxes underneath.

We had other vape goodies on display too and, to be honest, it all looked rather good.

The new bus turned heads on the drive to Newark and, always, it was soon drawing a crowd of curious individuals who wanted to know what was going on.

We had a lot of interest in the bus throughout the day and a large cross section of people came along to check us out, sample e-liquids and find out more about vaping generally.

A lot of the interest we did have was from smokers who were looking to take the transition to vaping to better the quality of their lives and kick the smoking habit.

It’s always nice to help non-experienced vapours and give them on advice on what would work best for them. It also helps when they sample the vape boxes so they can get an idea of what flavours they like best, as there is nothing worse than taking the step to quit smoking and finding out the e-liquid you have purchased isn’t for you. So, it is always nice to try before you buy.

During the day we also handed out sample bags courtesy of Premier E-Cigs who are the UK Distributors for products from top names including Naked Fish, Mello Buddha, Hangsen and The Council of Vapor.

The sample bags went down a treat with the public and this was another great bit of PR work for the vaping industry as we met lots of great people and had a lot of fun.

The bus will continue its tour of the UK and it could soon be coming to a town or city near you.

We’re always happy to answer any questions and if you want to know more about getting the Vapouround Bus to your area or store, then contact either David Turner or Jorgie Shaw on 01332 650239.

Alternatively, they can be reached by email:

dave@vapouround.co.uk

jorgie@vapouround.co.uk

Vaper Expo – The Big Weekend – May 17

Vaper Expo UK – The Big Weekend
27th – 29th May 2017

After the very successful launch of the Vapouround Bus at last year’s Vaper Expo UK, we were roaring to go for the event in May.
The Vaper Expo UK organisers, Lee Skelding, Jay Cox, and Alyson Guiel, have continued to raise the expectations at every show. Since the first Vaper Expo in 2015, it has tripled in size making it Europe’s biggest vaping exhibition.
Business to Business day is always the most relaxed atmosphere as it gives the business sector a chance to network in a much calmer environment. As the B2B day was on the Friday it also celebrates the first day of the big weekend.
And what better way to start the weekend by hosting Vapouround’s Annual Awards Ceremony?
On Friday night, vape related companies from across the globe rejoiced and networked with each other whilst being entertained by DJ Bulge, famous magician Nick Einhorn, and enjoying a 3-course meal.
Once dinner was served the best part of the event began, the awards. From best mech mod to vaper of the year everything is celebrated under one roof and Vapouround would like to offer their congratulations to every single winner of the night. It truly was an amazing evening and great to see everyone celebrate the vaping community.
The main weekend of the event, Saturday and Sunday, was open to the public, also making it the busiest days of the whole show.
The Vaper Expo UK received a whopping 20,000 visitors at the NEC, making it the biggest footfall to date. Even with the tragic events that took place previously in Manchester, it did not stop enthusiastic vapers doing what they love and most of all it did not affect the electric atmosphere over the 3 interconnected halls.
The Vapouround Bus had a recently new and exciting wrap for the show that was not to be missed. As soon as vapers entered through the Hollywood themed red carpet, you could not miss the bus with its luxurious décor.
This year, we decided to do something unique with the bus to keep our vapers entertained throughout the day and cool down from the scorching sun. We had fun games on the bus such as, ‘guess how many e-liquids there are in a jar?’ Everyone wanted to participate and had a lot of fun doing so!
We were extremely pleased to see some old friends from previous bus tour visits:
“It’s lovely for old and new friends to stop by and show their support. It’s really important to us at Vapouround that we develop strong relationships when we go out on tour and visit vape stores, cities, and the vaping community because when we visit big events like the Vaper Expo, they’re excited to visit as much as we are thrilled to see them,” said Jorgie Shaw, Vapouround’s Bus manager.
All in all, it was a very successful weekend seeing old and new faces. We look forward to seeing more vapers at the next show which be held at the NEC on the 27th – 29th October of this year.

 

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Nottingham City Tour

The main aim of a city tour is to market the bus to the public as much as possible in a short space time, we made sure we targeted some high populated residential areas within Nottingham. With this being our first city tour since the re-wrap I wanted to stay local to where we are based before venturing out further and the public’s reaction to the bus was great. I even lipread a lady say “wow” and nudged her partner to have a look as well which is fantastic.
Our next city tour is booked in for the 8th March in Stoke on Trent so if anyone see’s us on our travels please give us a wave! You will also have the chance to receive a free vape wild bag full of goodies if you take a picture of yourself with the bus in the background.
If you would like to see the bus in an area near you please contact Jorgie@vapouround.co.uk or dave@vapouround.co.uk or alternatively you can call 01332 650239.