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July 2014 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION Newsletter

July 31, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
 
We are back from Las Vegas, and the IPCPR Trade Show
was a tremendous success! Our team works hard all year
to create the newest and most cutting edge cigar
accessories, and this year was no exception. The latest
XIKAR innovations were inspired by beauty and power, from
the heights of mountaintops, to the depths of the ocean.
You will be prepared to take on cigars bigger than you've 
ever imagined
, and will never again find yourself without a
cutter on hand
. Of course, all products exemplify 
superior form, feel and function, the Essence of XIKAR!

The industry received our new accessories with adulation
at the IPCPR Convention, and we look forward to getting them into your hands. This newsletter will introduce you to some of the new XIKAR innovations, and we will continue to feature a new product every month through the end of the year. 


 I want to thank you all for your loyalty to XIKAR as we progress with our commitment to revolutionary product development. I am certain that you will be impressed not only with the new releases, but the future introduction of creative concepts as XIKAR continues to serve you... for life!

Sincerely,


Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

June 2014 Newsletter


XIKAR NATION Newsletter

June 26, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
 
"That's not XIKAR!"

So say some of the pre-launch reviews of our new lighter,
the Allume mini. It's small, it comes in an array of colors
(beyond black, silver and gunmetal). It's sleek, it's stylish,
it's... sexy!


Here at XIKAR, we take design seriously. We take our 
customers very seriously. And we try not to take ourselves
too seriously. So when the marketplace tells us small
and colorful, we set aside our Dutch austerity (Kurt) and
Austrian tech (Scott), and embrace power in a little flair of
color and precision. Imagine Italian cars and French
fashion combined.


We think you'll be impressed - as they have been in Europe, where initial consumer sales are very strong.  And just wait until you see our upcoming social media campaign - adding in a bit of the Riviera.  We think you'll say, "that's XIKAR! Olė!!"

Sincerely,


Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

November Newsletter

XIKAR NATION Newsletter

November 2013

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Kurt's Corner

I love XIKAR like I love to fish. I fish a lot. Any type of fishing - I have a “go-bag” ready! I don't often fish trout, but it's my favorite sport, because it is a complete sport: trout fishing involves a goal,
a plan, a hunt and a prize.  And, it’s possible DIY: do-it-yourself.
 
All business endeavors should first have a goal. Trout fishing's goal is obviously a trout (not just any fish that bites) - but usually also a specific trout such as a big brown, an aggressive fighter which loves a fly fisherman's insect larvae and dry flies.  Sizing the prize, another goal, shows the skill of the fisherman - how else did that fish get that big if it weren't allusive?
 
Of course, like strategy, any fishing requires a plan. But fly fishing isn't just a rod and a tackle box.  Trout fishing requires tactics in all departments.  It demands intimate knowledge of the stream, surroundings, and season - right down to that week's bug hatch, to understand what the fish are biting. (I highly recommend a guide for any unfamiliar waters!)
 
Then there's the hunt, the execution of the plan. And, what a hunt it can be!  Standing in the mountain stream, I cast to the fish above at least a dozen times before my cast was on target and the presentation right (the fish bit). He then took me down-stream through a rapids, and back up again. I'm rushing through the water with him, so that I don't lose him off the the tiny hook. Finally, 25 yards down-stream again, I land him at the bank, the guide laughing with me, and at me! I was as out of breath as the landed fish (did I mention this was all at 8,500 feet elevation?!)
 
We let him go. Of course I could have eaten him, and sometimes do take a catch. And the taste is always wonderful. But that's not what I remember of these great times in this sport. I remember the times spent, planning and ultimately landing the prize!
 
The old fishing story goes that the boy counts the number of fish caught, the young man counts the size of his catch, and the old man counts the hours spent fishing.  Do you remember the great scene in "A River Runs Through It", showing Tom Skerrit watching his sons fish? Perfect depiction.
 
XIKAR is exactly like this for me.  Our primary goal, like catching prize trout, was and is to satisfy consumers’ desire for cool, innovative, and functional product, while giving them an extraordinary experience. Working the daily tasks alone in the first years, I literally counted the fish, or orders I took. My goal then was ten per day (lofty if you consider trying to get up to ten store visits in an eight hour day).
 
We then strategized that we could apply our goal across cigar accessory categories.  We planned distribution throughout cigars shops world wide, fishing where the fish are.  Today many people contribute to this hunt, all chasing big prize.  And now that XIKAR is well established, past our childhood and young adult years, I find myself admiring the great people (my staff, my sales team and my retailer partners) working along side me every day toward the same prize: to satisfy you the consumer; to fulfill your desire to buy innovative, cool product with trust that we will exceed your expectations when interacting with us.
 
And when we get it right, you kindly and often tell us so with your letters, posts and testimonials.  So we are glad to "let go" a majority of our profit back to the stream, to reinvest for future product - because the hours spent fishing at XIKAR are only as good as the prize of your satisfaction - please keep those prizes coming! But, also please don't imitate the fish and ignore us when our presentation isn't right: let us know so that by your feedback, we can provide an extraordinary experience now, and great product in the future.

Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

November 2013 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION Newsletter

November 2013

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Kurt's Corner

I love XIKAR like I love to fish. I fish a lot. Any type of fishing - I have a “go-bag” ready! I don't often fish trout, but it's my favorite sport, because it is a complete sport: trout fishing involves a goal,
a plan, a hunt and a prize.  And, it’s possible DIY: do-it-yourself.
 
All business endeavors should first have a goal. Trout fishing's goal is obviously a trout (not just any fish that bites) - but usually also a specific trout such as a big brown, an aggressive fighter which loves a fly fisherman's insect larvae and dry flies.  Sizing the prize, another goal, shows the skill of the fisherman - how else did that fish get that big if it weren't allusive?
 
Of course, like strategy, any fishing requires a plan. But fly fishing isn't just a rod and a tackle box.  Trout fishing requires tactics in all departments.  It demands intimate knowledge of the stream, surroundings, and season - right down to that week's bug hatch, to understand what the fish are biting. (I highly recommend a guide for any unfamiliar waters!)
 
Then there's the hunt, the execution of the plan. And, what a hunt it can be!  Standing in the mountain stream, I cast to the fish above at least a dozen times before my cast was on target and the presentation right (the fish bit). He then took me down-stream through a rapids, and back up again. I'm rushing through the water with him, so that I don't lose him off the the tiny hook. Finally, 25 yards down-stream again, I land him at the bank, the guide laughing with me, and at me! I was as out of breath as the landed fish (did I mention this was all at 8,500 feet elevation?!)
 
We let him go. Of course I could have eaten him, and sometimes do take a catch. And the taste is always wonderful. But that's not what I remember of these great times in this sport. I remember the times spent, planning and ultimately landing the prize!
 
The old fishing story goes that the boy counts the number of fish caught, the young man counts the size of his catch, and the old man counts the hours spent fishing.  Do you remember the great scene in "A River Runs Through It", showing Tom Skerrit watching his sons fish? Perfect depiction.
 
XIKAR is exactly like this for me.  Our primary goal, like catching prize trout, was and is to satisfy consumers’ desire for cool, innovative, and functional product, while giving them an extraordinary experience. Working the daily tasks alone in the first years, I literally counted the fish, or orders I took. My goal then was ten per day (lofty if you consider trying to get up to ten store visits in an eight hour day).
 
We then strategized that we could apply our goal across cigar accessory categories.  We planned distribution throughout cigars shops world wide, fishing where the fish are.  Today many people contribute to this hunt, all chasing big prize.  And now that XIKAR is well established, past our childhood and young adult years, I find myself admiring the great people (my staff, my sales team and my retailer partners) working along side me every day toward the same prize: to satisfy you the consumer; to fulfill your desire to buy innovative, cool product with trust that we will exceed your expectations when interacting with us.
 
And when we get it right, you kindly and often tell us so with your letters, posts and testimonials.  So we are glad to "let go" a majority of our profit back to the stream, to reinvest for future product - because the hours spent fishing at XIKAR are only as good as the prize of your satisfaction - please keep those prizes coming! But, also please don't imitate the fish and ignore us when our presentation isn't right: let us know so that by your feedback, we can provide an extraordinary experience now, and great product in the future.

Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

October 2013 Newsletter


XIKAR NATION Newsletter

October 2013

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Kurt's Corner

     We were once a nation of porches, decks and patios. Spring called us outside to breathe the air of hope and opportunity born in the season's new growth.
     Summer insisted further, to enjoy backyard sports and barbecues, neighbors and friends. I'm old enough to remember a house without air conditioning, playing with friends until supper and then again until dark.
     And Fall, my favorite. Autumn colors warmed crisp cool nights. Weekends spent watching football and raking leaves, the sun kindly setting early, to reward us for a job well done. Screened in porches are largely gone from new homes, and decks and patios remain mostly vacant, victims of air conditioning and electronic entertainment.  But not for us!
     We cigar smokers still know the joys of the outdoors. We have taken back the patios and porches, reached out to friends and neighbors. It's our favorite place to enjoy ourselves and our cigars - together.* We are remaking a nation of porches, decks and patios, of camaraderie, conversation and friendship.
     I recently replaced a deck with a screened in porch, adding a fireplace. I hope to make Winter one of my outdoor seasons. I hope you enjoy yours!

Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

* (Our recent Facebook survey confirmed this.)

September 2013 Newsletter


XIKAR NATION Newsletter

September 2013

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Kurt's Corner

     XIKAR has been distributed in Europe for almost a decade. Some of our early "can you believe it" moments was seeing our Xi1 cutter in the best cigar shops in Paris, London, Milan, etc.
     Our business in Europe is done through around 20 Distributors who sell the brand to retail shops. Our relationships with our Distributors are very special to us. They've become trusted allies, friends and advisors.

     In May, we hosted many of them in KC for our first "International Growth Conference" (pictured below). The stated goal of the conference was to "make it easier to do more business with XIKAR".
 

 
 
     Based on that good collaboration, last week at the Inter-tabac Fair in Germany, we unveiled a number of business model innovations designed to improve service, lower costs and improve in store branding, merchandising and product offering.
     Specifically, next Tuesday (10/1) we will open a new warehouse near London's Heathrow Airport and will begin selling to our Distributors on a delivered pricing system with very short delivery times.
     Additionally, we will begin shipping two new "Display and Merchandising Kits" that will be sold as a promotional package to retailers including an array of our best selling cutters and 
lighters. 
     We are humbled and thrilled by the consumer interest in, and demand for, the Xikar brand. We are excited about the prospects for more business in Europe. So, if you are in a shop outside the USA, ask for Xikar and let us know about your experience. 
 
We appreciate your interest and support, 

Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

August 2013 Newsletter


XIKAR NATION Newsletter

August 2013

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Kurt's Corner
Importance of Cigar Education

 

     When we started XIKAR, we based our essence on innovation and extraordinary customer experience. To achieve this kind of experience for all consumers, we have strived to achieve lifelong relationships based on trust and loyalty.  The trust comes from our Lifetime Guarantee.  And we hope the loyalty comes through our constant efforts in education and interaction with consumers -- on the phone, in person, and on-line.
 
Superb education opportunities exist in the cigar industry - we observe magazines and blogs bringing great focus and clarity to the "what of cigar".  However, we believe the "how" of cigars needs attention as well.  Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to a large group of retailers about XIKAR, and I focused my presentation on the how-to's of cutting, lighting, humidifying and transporting cigars.
 
Many in the audience had great questions and comments such as, "Thanks for the presentation! I think I've been lighting a cigar wrong my whole life!" This shows that whether you are a seasoned aficionado, or new to the hobby, you may learn something through the information we have to offer.
 
As always, you can find instructional videos on our YouTube channel, as well as information on our website, Facebook and Twitter. XIKAR is committed to helping you have the best possible cigar experience; please feel free to email us anytime with questions at info@xikar.com.

For now, here are a few quick tips (click each for an instructional video):
How to light: Be sure not to burn the wrapper with your lighter, this will ruin the burn of your cigar.
How to cut: Do not cut past your cigar's shoulder, this will cause the cigar to unravel.
How to store: Use our PG Solution and not distilled water in your humidifier. The PG solution will prevent mold from forming and also keep your RH level at a steady 70%.

Thanks and happy smoking!
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR, Inc.

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