Helping smokers to quit
ALLIE AND PAUL O’Shea had confidence that their business would work, with ‘vaping’ as an alternative to smoking the thing which finally got them off the cigarettes.
It was three and a half years ago when the husband and wife team discovered electronic cigarettes and stopped smoking.
Electronic cigarettes use a mixture of nicotine, glycol and water to emit a vapour free from substances such as tar.
Allie was at home full-time and Paul’s background was in sales and IT. They had the idea for the business and looked around for a shop.
However they kept hitting blocks so tried out a life in Australia, where they have relatives. They said if it didn’t work out they would return to Ireland and try again to set up shop.
After three months down under they realised it wasn’t for them so they came back, tested the demand successfully at Blackrock Market, and found a small shop in the Arcade in Bray and started selling their ‘ Totally Wicked’ products.
They have now outgrown that small premises and moved to a larger site on Florence Road.
‘If anything the volume of sales of the units has increased,’ said Paul. ‘We haven’t had lunch today,’ said Allie. So business is booming.
They said that while there are other electronic cigarettes and fluids available elsewhere, theirs is pharmaceutical grade and comes with their customer care and expertise.
A coffee shop is the newest addition to their little empire, with some premises making moves to ban vaping altogether. Irish Rail has officially made that move, with some coffee shops and so on having put signs up asking people not to use their ecigs. In business terms, this means employing three people throughout the week and of course extra paperwork on their already large work load.
It’s otherwise a two-person operation and the work doesn’t start and end when the shop opens and closes. There are orders to be placed, an online presence to be maintained and admin to be done often late into the night.
Then there are murmurs about the future of electronic cigarettes. The debate is contentious, with some quarters extolling their virtues and others claiming they are more dangerous than cigarettes.
‘I hope sense will prevail,’ said Allie, adding that they would welcome regulation in terms of quality control and age limits.
Paul, meanwhile, said that it’s very rewarding to find that people who were very heavy smokers have stopped. ‘ The health benefits they are enjoying are measurable,’ he said. He’s concerned that the Irish Government will make a decision to ban them altogether. ‘I think the Government has proven a great capacity for self serving behaviour. I’m a little concerned that they could do something stupid.’
On their hectic schedule, Allie said that her parents owned shops so she knew what the life of a busy retailer would be like. ‘We’re happy but tired!’
Allie and Paul O’Shea, proprietors of East Coast Vaping on the Florence Road in Bray.