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January 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
January 2015
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Kurt's Corner


On Cuba
 
On December 17, 2014, USA - Cuba detente negotiations suddenly appeared, with much speculation and questions since, surrounding Cuba’s primary exports, tourism and cigars.  “Will you go?”  “Will this be a new boom to cigars and your business?” are two questions I’ve heard every week since the President’s announcement.  My answers are in short: I don’t know. 
 
The big question among consumers, retailers and manufacturers in our trade is of course, “the new boom”. And the answer, once the legalities are worked out, lies in execution of the production, distribution and marketing of that product.  Brands and production quality from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua (among others) are already so well established, that Cuban cigars will hardly receive a red carpet with a free pass to the front of the line.  In short, we’ll see.
 
Will I go?  That depends.  I’d like to go visit a beautiful island paradise that makes great cigars, and more importantly respects and celebrates its citizens’ human, natural and political rights. Unfortunately, the President’s address on this topic is vague and ill-defined.  Perhaps they have it all worked out – but in absence of that information, I’m hereby taking the liberty of making some suggestions.
 
Among the rights I like to observe and enjoy on my visit are the right to due process, including probable cause, and a trial by a jury of one’s peers, under the law.  I’d like to know that I and my hosts are not potential subjects of cruel and unusual punishment, including long incarceration for political speech.  And I’d like that speech to be free to make, whether individually or assembled in a group.
 
And when the government errs, I’d like to see the opportunity for a redress of grievances, without risk of further violations to life and property.  I’d like to visit, perhaps even buy a condo, a place that respects the right to private property, without having the fear of unreasonable search and seizure.  And finally, I’d like my citizen hosts to have the right to keep and bear arms, so that when the government does err, does violate inalienable human, natural, and political freedoms, they may stand firm in protection and preservation of their rights.
 
In return for our consumption, tourism and investment capital, I sincerely hope the current administration secures these rights.  Immediate release of political prisoners, and the restoration of private property confiscated from Cuban citizens under the Agrarian Reform Law of May, 1959 would be a good start.
 
Under these conditions, I’d love to go to Cuba. And after that, I’d love to go to Venezuela.
 
Sincerely,

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR, Inc.

December 2014 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
December 2014
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Kurt's Corner


I hope it was a safe, happy and healthy holiday season for the XIKAR Nation! From all of us at XIKAR, I want to thank each and every one of you for your tremendous support in 2014. We look forward to introducing the new product innovations that have been designed for the upcoming year as we continue to build on our core foundation of superb Form, Feel and Function, all delivered at a Fair price.

Wishing you a safe and prosperous new year! 


 
Sincerely,

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR, Inc.

 

2014 Product Innovation Quiz

Product and Process Excellence
 
IPCPR and the launch of numerous new items from XIKAR seems like forever ago already.  In the blur of smoke and lights that is Las Vegas, did you get a thorough introduction and learn all of the cleaver tricks that make each item unique?  It's time for a quick quiz!
Did You Know......

- That the X875 cutter features cutting chamber access ports on each side of the cutter that allow tobacco debris to be ejected with each cut?

- That the VX Key Chain cutter has an advanced spring mechanism inside that prevents the cutter from opening in your pocket and also gives it a silky smooth cutting action?

- That the Vintage Bronze finish on the Cirro is applied by hand so no two lighters are the same?

And finally...

- That the PuroTemp System has customizable warnings that can alert you when your humidor requires your attention?

At XIKAR, we go out of our way to design and build products of the highest quality and ultimate convenience so you can have the best smoking experience possible.   

 
Rob Lembke
XIKAR Inc.
VP of Engineering and Process Excellence

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

Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.

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.
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