So this weekend I hopped on a train, a tube, and the DLR and found myself at ExCeL in London’s dockyards for my first vape based trade show. I went on the public B2C day which meant I didn’t have to pay for a ticket, so I thought I would write up my thoughts and if you’ve never been to one of these, maybe you will feel like giving it a go?Now although I may not have ever been to a vaping trade show, I have been to several trade shows related to my previous job, so I knew broadly what to expect. Lots of people, lots of stands across a big show floor, with plenty of background noise from the crowd and people on mics. If you’ve never been to one of these things before, be prepared they are HUGE, Vapejam isn’t the biggest in the UK by a long shot, but even so it’s impressive just the sheer square footage of these things. It probably took me about 15 minutes to walk round and see all the stands.
Vapejam was pretty much all eliquid, there were a few hardware manufacturers (lots of pod systems), some modders, and a few CBD stands. It certainly wasn’t the best one to go to see lots of kit, at least on the stands. One of the fun things about going to these things is seeing what people are walking round with, keep your eyes open and you’ll see all sorts. I finally saw the absolutely enormous 28ml Steamcrave Titan in the flesh here, and similarly I got loads of interest in my pipe set up!
Now I can’t talk about Vapejam without mentioning the “booth babes”, these are the attractive young ladies that are paid to entice people in, skin tight dresses and lots of flesh is on show. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against enjoying the view, but it does feel a little tacky at times, and like a bit of a hold over from a different era. Having said that, it seems that using attractive young women to sell product is not going anywhere anytime soon!
So what did I get out of this trip? Well, from a product point of view, not much. As there weren’t many hardware manufacturers there there wasn’t too much of a risk of me maxing out a credit card. I did however end up with a load of sample bottles of liquid, and a couple of tshirts, I love free shit, so getting some tshirts is always a winner! My main take away was the conversations I got to have with people and some of the talks that I sat in on. If you’re new to these things it can seem a little intimidating to just go up to someone that you recognise and say Hi, but this is the sort of atmosphere where I would definitely encourage you to. If they’re running a stand, then they are there to talk to people anyway. Just use your common sense, if they’re really busy then don’t monopolise their time, and if they’re eating or having a quiet sit-down conversation, then don’t disturb them. But otherwise if you want to chat to someone because you love their work, or they helped you quit the smokes, then definitely let them know and say thanks. A highlight for me was meeting Ruby and Josh from Aspen Mod Co. Ruby I have followed as a reviewer for a while now, and I have always been impressed when I’ve seen photos of their product the Monarch. So it was great to meet them and say Hi!
- If there’s a schedule talk/demos then take a moment to go through it, highlight anything you’re interested in and set an alarm for when it’s about to start. The stands will still be there!
- Pack a couple of bottles of water, you don’t want to be stuck paying through the nose for whatever is on hand, and it’s important to stay hydrated.
- Before you go, take a look at who’s exhibiting where, and make a list so you can make sure you visit what you’re looking for.
- Don’t take expensive kit with you, or if you do, make sure you keep your hands on it. It gets pretty crowded around main stages, and you don’t want to open yourself up to someone opportunistically walking off with your pride and joy.
- Keep an eye and an ear on the main stage, even if there’s not a talk going on, you’ll sometimes see some awesome promotional stuff like dance routines, etc.