Aquavape, a company founded only five years ago now has products on sale in among others Asda, Sainsburys, Argos, Euro Garages, Bargain Booze and Spar.

The Bolton based business provides vaping devices, accessories and UK made e-liquids, which they bottle from their own state of the art warehouse facility.  They service customers across the UK and Ireland.

Founders of Aquavape Ebrahim Kathrada and Mubaraq Patel have extensive experience within convenience retailing.

As a previous buyer Mubaraq said vaping companies looking to list their products would continually approached him.

He said, “I was intrigued to understand why this was the case and decided to look more closely as to whether vaping was a category that was here to stay and not just a fad.

“After some months of research, Ebrahim and I decided to create our own range and using our retail contacts we gained some early traction and were soon getting repeat orders, this gave us the confidence to invest more and push things further.

“We knew this category was here to stay and we could see how it would quickly it evolved from the initial disposable and cartridge e-cigs to the open tank systems, so that is where we decided to focus.”

Pioneers of colour coded e-liquids

Ebrahim says the market was bombarded with products coming into the UK from the Far East, “It was important for us to supply our customers with quality UK made e-liquids where stricter controls and more stringent tests were in place.

“As a team we reviewed what was working well in the category and where improvements could be made.

“It was important that we used our experience and gauged feedback from all of our customers, simplicity and education were two things that kept coming back.

“The end result was the Series Range of vaping devices, all simple to use and for all types of vapers, both new and experienced.

“All our devices, unlike our competitors, are numbered and colour coded so that the customer clearly knows which component goes with which device.

 “All our kits come with easy to understand instructions and tutorial videos for those with web access. 

“We also pioneered Colour Coding within our range of e-liquids making it easy for customers to identify and understand the nicotine strength of each type.

Ebrahim said, “Simplifying things has really helped with the success we have achieved with our vaping portfolio.

 “The success of our e-liquids enabled us to invest in our own bottling facility and an infrastructure, which really gives us more control and flexibility within the manufacturing process. 

“As the category was fairly new to the convenience sector it was also key to try and a find a location for it within the stores 

“So we created a unique bespoke unitary solution that stocks and displays the products, it also makes it easier for the customer to see what is available making shopping the category easier.”

Nationally available with expansion into Europe

The Aquavape brand is now available in over 5,000 retail stores nationally in the UK, across Ireland and has recently launched into Europe.

Mubaraq said, “Timing is critical and we knew it was going to be a two to three year plan to achieve the position we are in now”. 

“You have to add to this patience, resilience, flexibility and determination to succeed in what are very competitive channels. 

“Your products also need to be compliant, of high quality and relevant to what the customer is looking for.”

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What the future holds for vaping

The company believes regulation will continue to play a key part in shaping things.

Ebrahim said, “We are seeing new trends in both devices and liquids take place on a monthly basis, people are becoming more educated about the category and research is supporting the fact that vaping is a real way of moving people away from smoking, which has to be a good thing.”  

Like all new business ventures Ebrahim says they were a little tentative,
“We weren’t really sure how big vaping would become but we were confident in our ability to make this a success. 

“By having the right team of people, with the same mindset has really helped us to get to where we are now, from the two of us when we started, we now have over 60 people working with us.

“We cannot rest on our laurels and we know that we have to continue to work hard and push the business forward to the next phase in our business growth plan.”

“This is something that we are very excited about and we are looking forward to the next five years of our vaping journey”.