Ten days ago I joined a group of the cigar trade's leading retailers and brand distributors for a four day conference in the Dominican Republic. You can imagine the camaraderie of a cigar translates well to a cigar conference in the DR! A cigar makes a plumber and and president friends, so why not competitors too?! So it goes for at least a week every year.
Two presentations stood out for their value and urgency. First, most urgent and important, are the fight for tobacco rights in the US congress and in the halls of many state legislatures. We cannot let up either fight, lest our beloved past-time get regulated and taxed out of existence. The fight is real and the time is now! Please click this link right now and head over to the Cigar Rights of America (CRA) web site. Join, sign the petition, and contribute your financial support.
We also viewed a presentation by Ken Schmidt, a former VP of marketing for Harley Davidson, who painted a stark portrait of a company that went bankrupt by focusing marketing on product features instead of the lifestyle it creates. The turnaround at Harley apparently coincides with the birth of the "why" buy a Harley (the experience). You can view an abbreviated version of Ken's speech here.
I am extremely grateful to enjoy business in a trade that is already "lifestyle", where the why is already well known. Furthermore, I delight in providing you an experience that supports the why, a cool tool for every celebration, and I deeply appreciate hearing from you on your experience with our product. So, please do keep sending us your thoughts in emails and letters. I like to receive both positive (who doesn't want an 'attaboy'?!), and negative (so that we can improve) news.
Happy spring, and good smoking!
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR, Inc.